Saturday, 6 July 2013

Analysing why we shop

I've already discussed the fact that many of us feel the urge to go shopping even when we don't really need something new. We don't "shop our wardrobe" - often because it's so crowded that we can't see everything we own! I am proud of the fact that most of the outfit that I wore to my niece's wedding has been in my possession for several years and that I resisted the temptation to go shopping in search of something new. I did buy a new bag to take with me, but that was after several old ones had been thrown out for various reasons: a couple were too scuffed, the zip on another one had broken. I deliberately chose a bag that was a neutral colour and will go with most of my clothes. Maybe, at last, I am developing better shopping habits.

I blame my father for my love of clothes shopping - it's always handy to be able to blame your parents, isn't it? Shoes had to be "sensible" and practical, with bright colours being off-limits. I remember as a teenager falling in love with a pretty green winter coat, and trying to persuade my father to buy it for me. He insisted on buying a camel coat instead, as it was a classic colour and cut and would "last". I wasn't impressed by this argument and stubbornly refused to wear it unless I really had to.  Fast forward a couple of years until I was in my twenties and had left home.  Visiting my parents I found the camel coat at the back of the wardrobe in my old bedroom and realised that it was actually a very nice coat (and hardly worn!) I decided to take it back home with me and started wearing it.

Similar to the rejected camel coat!

My favourite colour as a teenager

The problem when I was growing up is that I didn't have a lot of say in what clothes my parents bought me. For a few giddy years in my early twenties I was able to buy exactly what I wanted: a bright green kaftan springs to mind, and a shocking pink top with a purple mini-skirt. Or how about a mustard coloured trouser suit? I think this period of buying brightly coloured clothes was a reaction to years of wearing safe (and boring!) clothes.

Once I was married, with three growing children to clothe, there was very little money for me to indulge myself in buying clothes unless it was absolutely necessary. When my youngest brother married, and there wasn't anything suitable in my wardrobe, I spent hours searching in the charity shops until I found a lovely red dress in Oxfam. Mainly for budgetary reasons, I had to reign in any impulses to buy new clothes in those days.

It's hardly surprising that, now I am able to choose my own clothes and have enough money to be able to indulge myself, I have been revelling in this freedom. What I need to do however is find a balance. I'm hoping that understanding the reasons behind my shopping habit will help me to control it better.

There are plenty of websites and challenges out there to assist those of us who have become addicted to shopping, including the Wartime Wardrobe Challenge as described in yesterday's post. I highly recommend taking part in Project 333: This has had an amazing effect on the number of clothes left in my wardrobe, and if you join the facebook group you will find plenty of support and lots of great ideas.  I have also found Jill Chivers' website very helpful:  Again, you can join her facebook group for additional encouragement.

Have you bought any clothes that you didn't really need or been tempted by the sales to spend money unnecessarily? If so, do you have any favourite websites that have helped you?


  1. I am not really a shopper...though sometimes I should be. I never seem to find things that fit or feel right.
    I can relate to the clothing and parents issue though. I got talked into so many things and then hated them when I got home. I have always had a hard time saying what I really think about something.

  2. I have never enjoyed shopping... I buy clothes when I feel I need something for an occasion with the rare need to splurge - but even then I never go overboard, I guess because I'm a little cheap. I would rather spend my money on an event or an experience... drinking with friends, a concert etc - I'd rather do something with my disposable income, even if it is on tequila shots. LOL However, my mom loves to shop for me almost to the point of it being an addiction because she buys clothes that I would never wear! So I end up returning everything or they end up sitting in her house. It's terrible but I'm just not one of those women that get excited about clothes... and my mom is like your father. She buys me things that are "boring"! I always buy bright colors, even if it's a "professional" garment.. it's funky. It has flowers or it's pink - it's just me. HA It's interesting...
    Cool beans for taking control of your habit! I'm sure there will be some good that will come from all of this. What do you think that will be? Aside for you kicking your addiction of course :)