I don’t know what’s happened to me. I used to love shopping. Next to having sex, drinking, and eating great food with friends, shopping used to rank pretty high on my list of activities that make me happy.
And no, I was never one of those girls who “bought to fill the void” or anything like that. As a fashion lover, the biggest draw of hitting the boutiques was a satisfaction of being able to change my style with something simple. I never dumped huge amounts of money on clothes, but I definitely had patterns. Maybe one nice designer purchase every three to four months; one to three smaller things per month like tops, accessories, and sometimes shoes from places like Urban or Forever 21. I rarely bought out of necessity.
Now that’s not the case …Aside from a few things I acquired around my birthday, I have hardly bought one new item of clothing in at least five months, if not more. So what’s the deal? I still love fashion, and mulling over clothes and products is what my job is all about (fun!). I didn’t become particularly “green” by cutting consumption. My disposable income remained the same after the recession hit (for which I am very thankful).
Admittedly, I think the change was subconsciously influenced in part by the economic climate. All of a sudden, shopping became such a downer for everyone—either it’s selfish to be spending when everyone else is cutting back, or it’s a duty or chore you should do for your country à la Fashion’s Night Out. (Fun, yes. But the point is that the fashion industry is asking you to do them a solid and help bail them out.)
But mainly, I think the mental switch had more to do with growing up. I would have never thought I’d be the type of person to buy “sensible” things (boring!) and plan out a budget for what I actually need. But in other areas of my life, I’ve become more serious (with guys, with pursuing work-related matters), and I’m finding that extends to decreasing my frivolity as well. I guess I’m not OK anymore with being someone who lives totally paycheck-to-paycheck and swipes her credit card without thinking. I want to work towards being a woman who is stable enough to begin saving and whose style looks like she earned it. Now the idea of going out to H&M and coming home with a bag full of something “just because” makes me feel a tad irresponsible and naive.
I went shopping for the first time in a long while last weekend, on the hunt for a good winter sweater, which I don’t have. In the back of my mind, I kind of wanted to find something else fun to buy as well—something that would remind me that shopping should feel like a treat. Yet, as I searched through the racks, my internal dialogue didn’t sound like a 20-something woman … more like an 80-something granny: Sheesh, that’s so expensive! And what for? … Oh dearie, you don’t need that … what do you need, what do you really need?
I ended up with two very cute sweaters. They were both on sale.