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Today’s Guest Blogger is Jill Chivers

My Style: Sustainable

I don’t believe in fashion.

There, I’ve said it.  It’s out there.  Fashion exists, of course I know that it does.  It’s just that fashion, to me, is enslavement to somebody else’s ideas of what we should and shouldn’t be wearing.  I don’t want to be a slave, and I don’t want to help anyone else to be a slave either.


My Style - Sensible - Geralin Thomas - Professional Organizer Raleigh Cary NC


Style, on the other hand, is something I believe strongly and fervently in.  Style is a true and dynamic expression of who you are.  Style tells us who you believe yourself to be – even if it’s just for today.  Style is about self-expression.  Style signals our sense of individual identity.  I believe in style, and in particular I believe in sustainable style.  Let me tell you more.

The clothing industry is a $375 billion dollar a year industry.  Clothes are serious business.  A lot of time, effort and money are put into creating fashion cycles that are designed to get our attention, get it fast and get it often.


My Style - Sensible. Geralin Thomas Professional Organizer Raleigh, Cary NC


Fashion cycles are getting shorter and shorter every year.  In only recent years, clothing stores and departments would refurbish their stock once a season or perhaps once every 3 months.

Now, some global clothing brands boast that they update their stock twice a week.  A week! They encourage their customers to come in at least weekly and buy their new merchandise on a regular, ideally weekly, basis.

Here’s my question: How can you possibly maintain a sense of personal, sustainable style if you are updating your wardrobe on a weekly basis? I would go even further to suggest that such a frequently updated closet creates a shifting and unstable sense of self.  I would suggest that such frequent purchasing erodes one’s sense of identity, like water dripping on a stone, as you are forever shifting the foundations on which the expression of that identity rests.


My Style: sensible. Geralin Thomas Professional Organizer Raleigh Cary, NC


I meet many women who shop too much, by their own definition.  Their shopping has started to cause them harm.  Not only financially, although that is often the most visible sign of someone who shops too much, but emotionally and psychologically as well.

They are thinking too much about shopping (sometimes it’s their prevailing thought pattern – things they have seen that they want to buy, items they have already bought, shopping trips they wish and are planning to take).


My Style: Sensible. Geralin Thomas, Professional Organizer, Raleigh, Cary NC


Their emotions are caught up too much in shopping – they feel guilty, they feel elated, they feel embarrassed (and sometimes ashamed), they feel the ‘buy high’ and then the inevitable emotional crash after it wears off. It’s an exhausting roller coaster, emotionally, cognitively and psychologically.

These women have exhausted themselves from too much consumption.  I, too, exhausted myself with too much shopping and the extreme path I chose to heal myself from this toxic behaviour was to take a year without clothes shopping.  I knew I had to stop the constant intake of new items into my closet, to regain some sense of where shopping fitted into my life and to regain some sense of myself.  That year changed my life – it not only changed my shopping behaviour and beliefs, it changed how I think and feel about consumption.  That year was also when I discovered the importance of sustainable style.


My style: Sensible. Geralin Thomas, Professional Organizer, Raleigh, Cary, NC


Sustainable style is about knowing who you are.  It’s about loving and appreciating who you are.  It’s about making clothing and purchasing choices that make you feel good and look great.  It’s about having a deep and enduring sense of your worth and your identity.  It’s about understanding how clothes both express and inform who you are.

Sustainable style recognises the endless feedback loop between how we look and dress, and how we feel about ourselves.  Clothes matter, they make a difference.  If you and I were to swap clothing, we’d feel differently about ourselves.  You feel better when you look better, and we all know that painful high heels always show more on your face than they do on your feet!

Sustainable style recognises that your style is dynamic, it’s a living breathing thing that changes over time.  That during important transition times in your life, such as changes in relationships, career and geography, that you should assess your style and make informed and meaningful changes to the way you dress and present yourself.

Being a slave to fashion erodes our self-esteem and confidence because by its very nature it assumes a gap between where you are and where you should be.

Style, on the other hand, builds self-esteem and confidence because by its very nature it assumes the woman developing and expressing her unique style is beautiful.

Choose style. 


About today’s guest blogger: Jill Chivers, Author, Speaker, Facilitator.   Jill Chivers understands the overshopping cycle first hand.  After recovering from her compulsion to overshop, Jill is now an advocate for conscious shopping and has created the world’s first online membership site for other women who want to create a healthier relationship to shopping, themselves, their wardrobes and their wallets.  Learn more at www.shopyourwardrobe.com

Jill has appeared in many media stories in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, talking about compulsive overshopping, including ABC4, NBC affiliated King 5, the San Jose Mercury, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Wall Street Journal.   Learn more at www.shopyourwardrobe.com


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    1. Three cheers for understanding yourself and your style. I call style, fashion personality. Its another way to understand yourself and present yourself in an authentic way.

      I believe “Fashion Personality,” is much like temperament, with you from a very young age. It may change as you get older and better know yourself.

      100% of models in magazines are photo shopped to look perfect. Women end up comparing themselves to these perfect images and buying more and more in the hopes of looking like these models.

      Unfortunately the fashion industry does not want us to know the secrets of looking good.,(looking visually balanced with flattering colors and proportions).

      There is a lot of information on how to look good available. However,much of this information is based on being fashionable and only causes women to feel confused.

      After getting trained as a Personal Image Consultant, and many years of reading books on style, I have finally figured out what really works for me and my clients.

      A good book to start with that has accurate information is Joanna Nicholson’s “Dressing Smart for Women”

      I am The Wardrobe Wizard, Nancy Goldblatt, Color 1 Associate

    2. What a great article! I love the distinction between style and fashion…and how one builds our self confidence and the other erodes it. So eye opening!


    3. This article really made me smile…mostly because I’ve never been one to follow “fashion” per se. For one thing, I’ve always been short (5’1″ at my tallest and shrinking) and always had a weight problem. Needless to say, in all my many years of shopping, fashion has never been aimed at short people with weight problems. Thank goodness for the evolution of more petite choices! I’m still learning. And I discovered Chico’s… So, my “style” is still evolving, but definitely on a budget. (Sometimes I feel like Eliza Doolittle from “My Fair Lady”!

    4. LOVED THIS!!! I worked with Mary Michele Little of One Chic Mama to figure out my style. It makes life so much easier. I have never been a big shopper–I was more of a sale shopper, but don’t waste any more money on what doesn’t look good on me. I learned I love classy leopard print and it is part of my signature style and I feel great when I wear it!

      • Julie,
        Mary Michele is not only a vision of loveliness, but she’s well-respected too. She looks great. You look great. And, I’m grateful you dropped in and shared your signature style with us. Classy Leopard <-- I like it!