Confessions of a Shopaholic: How to stop spending too much?
As our eyes met across the crowded room, it felt like I was the starring role in a love film. With my palms sweating in anticipation, my eyes glazed over from desire and butterflies circling deep in the pit of my stomach. Tunnel vision quickly kicked in, and all my focus and attention was on him and all his glory. I kept telling myself, “don’t stare Lauren, just play it cool. Don’t be too obvious. ACT cute”.
But his gaze never left mine and shortly I found myself walking towards him; my mind screaming stop but my legs just kept walking forward. And as I looked deep into his enchantingly dark eyes and he did mine, I quickly realised, I fell into the never-ending trap of lust again.
Now all I could hear were those sweet words, “you would look great in this, buy me, Lauren, BUY me”.
More often than not, I catch myself having what best is called, ‘The Green Scarf Moment‘. Where that price tag tells you “no, don’t do it”, but the item of the moment manages to charm his way to make you believe this item is an investment piece or better yet a “staple” piece and quite frankly, you would have to be a fool to turn your back on it.
So, you make that matrimonial walk to the till only to realise once you’ve got home that Prince Charming isn’t as charming in your wardrobe as he was in the store.
And although occasionally, I can beat the blues which come with lustful shopping, not everyone has the kind of self-control to peel you away from the toad in disguise. Including myself depending on the time of the month, whether I need a quick fix or just fancy spending money for the sake of it.
But have no fear my Rebecca Bloomwoods’, I am about to turn into your Fairy Godmother and teach you how to cheat your destiny with Derek Smith – without making you freeze your credit card in a block of ice or attend spenders anonymous.
Everyone loves a good shopping spree, whether it’s because there is a sale, its payday, it’s a new season, or you just need some ‘retail therapy’. But with women only wearing 20-30% of their wardrobes – I am hereby guilty of all charges – you have to wonder if your cash and space is being wasted.
So, I’ve come up with a quick way to stop you from saying “I have nothing to wear” and to figure out if that item really is the best thing you’ve seen this season or if the lighting in Zara and rush of adrenaline is causing you to make poor decisions. You can thank me later.
Once you’ve spotted your hottie, headed over to check the tag and made your decision as to whether he gets to second base. Bear in mind that this item may set you back on future spontaneous plans/outings, any savings that you have or even from the real hottie (yes, that can happen too; you buy something then find something better, and it’s too late). Once the decision has been made as to whether he has a chance. It’s time to decide if he’s a keeper and that’s where my all-important questions come into play. So, ask yourself:
1) Am I buying this because it’s on sale? Many people will end up purchasing something just because it’s on sale and don’t want to miss out on a bargain. THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO SHOP!
2) What will I wear this with? Think of at least two outfits that the item can be worn with. If the item requires a whole outfit, he’s not a keeper. You don’t get into a relationship, knowing that you need another three boyfriends (or girlfriends) to complete the package. So, back on the rack!
Unless polyamory is your thing. And if it is, please don’t use this example for shopping.
3) Does it fit right? Buying clothes as an incentive to lose or gain weight often leads to clothes never being worn. Step away from the rack.
4) Do I have a place to wear it to? Is there any point buying a wedding dress when there is no ring on our finger? No. Then why buy an item for a future fantasy event. Please, put it down!
5) Is it comfortable? You don’t want to be spending all day pulling up the back or itching – it’s not cute. If it’s annoying in the store it’s even more annoying in your wardrobe, leave it.
6) Am I buying this because of the brand? If you’re a brand junkie and only want to buy it because of the brand; step away from the rack. I repeat, step away!
6) Am I filling a gap in your wardrobe? If you already have 8 duster coats, it’s pretty evident that you don’t need another one. Unless, of course, this one, washes your hair, sorts out your love life and feeds you chocolate while you’re on your period…no? I thought not. Bring something new to your wardrobe; spice up your life!
But as someone who owns 4 white teddy coats, I don’t judge. I just think it’s time to think about selling a few on eBay, Depop or any other selling website before purchasing another.
7) Do I totally love this piece? Could you see yourself wearing this more than once? If the answer is yes, and you genuinely love it, then you better get it and werk it for eternity (or at least two seasons).
If you’ve answered all those questions and still end up saying each morning, “I have nothing to wear” looking at a wardrobe full of toads, you deserve a date with Derek Smith!
After following these tips, you may just save yourself a lot of cash and time from staring at your wardrobe blankly.
Need some help on deciding what you should keep, toss or giveaway? Throw a ‘Take or Toss’ party and invite some of your stylish friends to help you determine whether you should keep or throw that skirt from five seasons ago away. If Carrie Bradshaw could do it, so can you. Get that clutter out!
If you didn’t get the Confessions of a Shopaholic movie references, your homework is to watch that film immediately.
Opening image: illustration by Sandy Van Helden