The 15 in 15 Rule

This last week, I was in 5 cities in 7 days. Then, I spent all day at the airport waiting to get home because of weather.  I ended up with far too much time on my hands.  With thoughts of the things to do – emails to send, articles to write, schedule for this weekend’s PRIDE events in Denver. The top of my list is the outfits that need to be assembled for a week away from home.  This week away includes PRIDE parties (so gays),  a fashion event (so chicks that notice everything like gays) and a meeting for perspective board members (so more chicks that notice everything like gays).  In other words, it’s like packing for fashion week.  The packing’s got me worked up.
We’re saving to buy a house.  So, I’ve put myself on a very strict budget.  This includes shopping to solve my wardrobe challenges.  When I am facing a lot of events with the same people, I employ my “15 in 15” rule.  For each outfit, I can only spend $15 and it can’t take more than 15 minutes to find it.  This is power-shopping at the highest level.  Anyone can spend unlimited funds and take all day to find an outfit.  It takes real skill to stay on such a limited budget plus limited time frame and still come out looking good.
Now understand, I am not talking about shopping for enjoyment or entertainment.  This is shopping with a purpose.
Since I wear a lot of dresses, it is easier to find something for this price.  A dress is a whole outfit in one after all.  If you have to buy a top and a bottom, I might suggest “20 in 20”, a little bit extra money since you have (2) pieces to purchase, and a little more time because you have to try pants on, this is not time for guessing.
The genus of this rule started when I lived in NYC   I was very low on the fashion industry totem pole when I first started on Seventh Avenue.  So, the only way that I could afford to wear some designers was to shop their sample sales.  My limit was always $20.  And since I was usually shopping on my lunch half hour, I had to have enough time to get back to work.  Hence, 20 in 20 was born.
These days, we live in a time of outlet malls and “Maxxinistas” ( and associate sample sales at Rue La La ( so $15 is plenty.  The time rule is required because if I have no time limit, I have a tendency to stay too long and find something I can make “work”, especially online.  If I am planning on spending money, then I am determined to spend it.  I have to have limits in place to keep me from buying just anything and it keeps me focused on the task at hand.
Try it, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can make a decision and how much money you’ll save by limiting yourself.  Clearly you could do 30 in 30, 40 in 40 or 50 in 50.  These are not nearly as gratifying.  Give yourself a challenge.  You’ll look good, promise.

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