Sunday, 31 July 2011

When not shopping means more than just not shopping

I've just been away with the Eclectica clan and we went to the New Forest where there were lots and lots of horses, donkeys and ponies. Unfortunately there are lots of other photos of four-legged creatures and a two-legged toddler but no fatshion pics of me as I only managed to stay clean and tidy for about 60 seconds after getting dressed in the morning due to toddler, dogs or general camping issues. Had a lovely time though!

Since I can't really regale you with pictures of me looking lovely while strolling through the woods I wanted to share why I am determined to Wear My Wardrobe and not buy anymore new clothes for a while (probably October).

Here are the reasons in no particular order:

- I have no money. Well, more correctly I should spend our money on things other than clothes for myself given that I do have quite a sufficiency of them and there are better things to be spending it on (like the house!).
- I have enough clothes. I have more jeans than every before in my life and enough tops so that I really don't need to do laundry for weeks if I actually wore all my clothes
- My current clothes cover my needs fashion wise and practical wise for the next few months. And I'm not necessarily giving up buying accessories.
- If I buy anything it should be some black flat knee high boots because this is what I really need for autumn and winter and will need to spend some decent money on.
- because I have a terrible habit of buying cheap clothes rather than buying quality pieces less often.
- Because I'm afraid I can't stop buying clothes and that there is something deeply emotional about this buying.

I think the others are self-explanatory but the last one is the BIG issue for me. I do love shopping, I like the thrill of buying something new (bag, shoes, something for my daughter, loo paper - you get the idea).   I think this little frisson from purchasing something new is incredibly common and what drives our economy.

We all like the novelty of a new toy. Makes our lives more exciting and the process of seeking out and hunting down our new find is part of the thrill. That's all and good and I'm not going to stop buying loo paper (or indeed the duvet cover, fancy dress costume and other various toddler related things I have to find this week).

But the big psychological issue for me is around buying clothes I think. I have mentioned previously that I used to feel that I never had the right thing to wear and struggled to find clothes that I both liked and fitted. This is no longer a problem but I still have that kid in a candy store thing where I love so many things and want to buy them (Asos you are not helping!). 

If this was it alone I would probably not worry too much and keep buying (finances allowing) but I know that one of my big big drivers for buying new clothes is this deep seated unconscious feeling that I am not good enough and this new top or dress or trousers will some how transform me into being 'ok' and acceptable and fashionable and in with the in crowd and all that other crap that advertisers spout to us. I think I have bought that message hook line and sinker.

It's even more than that really, I think that I have an internal low level of self confidence that doesn't often manifest itself but does when it comes to clothes and shopping. And here is the weird thing - I get down about my clothes, rather than my weight and I only do so when shopping. Not when I'm away from the online shops or the high street. I can spend time browsing the online retailers and be convinced that it is only by luck that I have managed to survive life without owning a sequined blazer and that I will not be a full and healthy member of society unless I buy said blazer. But if I close the browser and walk away and back into my life of dogs, family, work and other interests then I forget that I need the blazer and everything gets back into perspective.

New clothes feel like they will make me a better person and I have little Rocky montages in my head with me wearing the new top - out laughing with friends flicking my hair back from my face, riding in a sports car  with my new top transforming my life! Of course it's all bollocks. A new dress won't transform my life but some part of me (the hidden part of me that doesn't think she is good enough and looking for a way to be good enough) thinks it will.

And so I need to stop feeding the fire and stop seeking this kind of fulfillment. 

Reading this back I am aware it sounds all very deep and all a bit fucked up. But to summarise: I need to prove to myself that I'm not addicted to the feeling that buying new clothes brings me and the only way of doing that is to stop shopping. For a bit. 

And when I come back from the clothes shopping cold-turkey maybe I will start buying less but better. There's a hope.

Until then I'm going to concentrate on learning about what I love about my look (and I think I have one) and my existing clothes. I might also actually have to learn to combine things in new ways - shock horror!

Keep cool till after school!


  1. It doesn't sound fucked up! I can relate entirely. I know for a fact when I'm stressed or unhappy I buy more. I do exactly the same thing with new clothes- plan the outfit in my head and how I was going to wear it. However, more often and not the outfit will look stupid!

    One of my favourite childhood holiday memories is a holiday in the New Forest. Possibly because it was the last one we have with my father...wooo too deep for a Sunday afternoon!

  2. Wowsers! I agree with you both, I totally do the same thing. In fact, between you me and the whole internet that can read this, when I received my inheritance (and it was a substantial sub that could have bought a car, down payment on a house, and still have plenty left over.) but I did none of those sensible things in brackets and as well as paying for the day to day life, I got into a circle of buying lots and lots of clothes, I mean ridiculous amounts, and then going out alot with friends whom envitably I'd buy a few drinks for to get them to come out in the first place. The whole time was about me wearing all this stuff to be this glamourous hairflicking, smiling person whom everyone loves and adores. And tbh, I've kept a couple of friends from those times, but some have most definitely slunk off without a trace.

    Even now I get images of clothes in my head, and how good I'd look in them etc etc. But separate from me actually knowing that I really do need x, y and z because its something I need and dont own. For example, I need more trousers of a practical kind, say a pair of tan chinos because I've far too many tops, and jeans dont work with them all. But I most certainly do not need a pair of super wide blue trousers from Evans which I've randomly started lusting after, and in my head I'm imaging struting into my impeding work night out and blowing them all way with my fabulousness (they dont often get to see my hair because I wear a hat at work, and I wear no makeup because its hot, I sweat and if I was to wear makeup I'd end up with bad skin...meaning that simply doing my hair and putting on a bit of slap would be enough to make them go 'oohh')

    I get random urges for all sorts of impractical items....the aforementioned sequin blazer, bed jackets, capes, palazzo pants, playsuits, jumpsuits..the list goes on. I'm 5ft7 but have small legs for my body, so alot of things would look too long on me and I'm a pear shape which I think after apple is one of the hardest to dress. Not to mention that maybe, just maybe, I dont actually possess the poise nor the confidence to wear the more outrageous items in life.

    And, if we're going to get too deep for a sunday afternoon, I inherited this from my dad...he was forever buying stuff all the time, and would buy us presents instead of saying stuff....I mean, this is the man whom died young because of his weight, but never mind because he had a new kettle and toaster every time he changed the kitchen colour scheme...

    So all of this is why I too am on the Monkey endorsed plan of not buying stuff. Now, I do have a birthday impending, so there's a slight chance I might have to crack slightly because of that, but otherwise I'm buying nothing new until I've worn it all!

  3. Well a birthday is a special exception!

    Thanks for your comments guy, nice to know I'm not completely barking ;)