Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Shopping Itch

I haven't bought any clothes since january and boy am I dying to scratch a hard-core shopping itch. Ever since my mother uttered the magic formula 'clothing budget', I have been buying clothes on a monthly basis. Actually, shopping has become quite the habit, and - unfortunately - not always a healthy one. After recently reading an article on habit formation (scary stuff, by the way), I decided to try out one something the author mentioned: curbing a habit by identifying routines, cues and rewards. Because when I look at my wardrobe, I see plenty of clothes, and yet I feel like I really REALLY need some new ones. Why? So in an attempt to save some money, I made a list of five cues that made me want to go out and shop over the past weeks:

Ah, such a classic. I can't speak for you guys, but I found that when I feel this way, it usually means that I'm just not inspired enough to wear my old clothes in a new way. Salvation lies in searching the internet for inspiration considering remixing, searching the back of my closet for clothes I forgot even existed, getting in front of a big mirror and trying to come up with something new. A grown up version of playing dress-up with Barbie. Only I find it quite easy to stand without toppling over and my dream house isn't made of pink plastic.

When I want a new dress for some or other special occasion, all I secretly want is to spend a lot of money on something absolutely impractical never to be worn again afterwards. Preferably with dry-cleaning instructions. Because obviously a new dress means a new, magnificent me! When really, it would be a lot more resourceful to just wear an old dress and simply accessorize it in a cool, new way. Wouldn't it be cool if our heads could split open, Zeus/Athena-style, and have Anna dello Russo pop out of them, here to cater to our every accessorizing need?

Now this is when clothes literally start speaking directly to me. As in: "You should totally buy me right now without regards to budget or actual needs because tomorrow I'll be gone with the wind. Or, you know, another woman. Gone I tell you!" The best counter-attack to this illusion is making a mental list of all the items you bought on sale and never really wore afterwards. It's a lot easier to say no once you realise that there's still plenty of fish in the sea, even when this one gets away. Albeit not as effective as taking a good, hard look at your bank statements.

Chances are that when I'm thinking this, I a) forgot to take a good look in the mirror this morning or b) neglected the weather report and am consequently freezing/melting. I was feeling pretty good about an outfit recently, until I got to the bus station and realised my hemline was MUCH too high to be worn with flesh coloured hosiery and heels. You see, the mirror I used that morning doesn't even show my knees, which led me to drastically underestimate the effect of my bare legs. My uncomfortable feeling only increased when I had to walk by a construction crew on a break. By the time I realised I would have to spend a big chunk of my day in a neighbourhood with a lot of working girls on street corners (I'm not talking your regular nine-to-fivers here), I was seriously considering hopping into the nearest mall during my lunch break and buying a new dress altogether. Luckely, my genius friend Sarah suggested simply buying a pair of coloured stockings. Less costly, but I could have saved myself the effort just by looking in a full-length mirror before leaving the house. (And if you're wondering, yes, the whistles were downright deafening. First day of spring and all.)

Confession: I have plenty of clothes that fit me perfectly well. It's just that most of them are lying on the floor, waiting to be handwashed or taken to the dry cleaner's. The solution here is really nothing more than me getting off my lethargic ass. No more laundry slacking!

To conclude: I am definitely a victim of the 'new' mirage. When I want something new, I'm secretly hoping that this new item will suddenly uplift my closet or sense of style. Things will get even better, if only I had that dress / those shoes / that top. When all I really need is a head-to-toe mirror, time, inspiration and creativity. And a decent washing machine. So if you'll excuse me now - I've got some laundry to do.