1. Don’t worry, buy happy

Women, so I hear, buy things when they are miserable, because pretty things make them feel better about themselves. If you are one of these women, I suppose reasonable advice would be to address what makes you unhappy rather than unleashing all your frustration and wrath on your poor credit card. When you feel better, you will probably buy less useless stuff.

Unfortunately, I am not one of these women. Therapy isn’t going to work for me. When I am miserable, I adorn myself with the oldest, dullest rags I can find, the main color scheme being grey. I may even go round town in a tracksuit, a sure sign that depression has gotten hold of me again and that I am about to give up on life. Hair and make up? You must be kidding. What do we have hoodies for?! I certainly don’t shop when I am in that frame of mind – dealing with people and mirrors being the main areas of concern.

No, I buy when I am happy. When I feel good about myself, I feel good in pretty much anything I try on (the truth hits home later, when the adrenaline of the spending rush has subsided and I realize that a pink boob tube wasn’t such a good idea after all). It’s a bit of a dilemma. Obviously I don’t want to stop being happy, or stop shopping, for that matter. I do get carried away is all I’m saying.

It can be hard to put your finger on what makes you go out and spend. I think for me it’s the desire to be colorful, to express myself, to be different. When I really splurge, repeatedly, chances are I am also on a diet, have taken up some new sport or am about to redecorate the house. Shopping is a creative outlet for me, but knowing that means that next time I feel like clearing out H&M, I may be able to substitute this with another creative act.

I also use shopping as a reward when I am going through a particularly challenging and stressful period at work. While there is nothing wrong with that, something that you spend a lot of money on, regret having bought very quickly and that makes you feel bad is not great compensation for having worked hard after all.

Next time you can’t resist the call and head for the shops, ask yourself what is going on in your life. Are you shopping because something else is bugging you? And if so, is the green miniskirt really the right response? Also try to remember what kind of mood and situation you were in when you bought something really great, something that you have owned and loved for years, and similarly, what was going on in your head when you bought the last bit of useless rubbish. We all do things for a reason – if you know yourself and your reasons, making changes will be easy. What you are trying to achieve is to spend your money on  things that you feel happy about, not guilty, and that bring a smile to your face every time you wear them.

There are some things that are never a good idea to buy, and if you find yourself queuing at the till about to make one of them yours, your alarm bells should go bonkers. Read on for my list of What not to buy.

… to be continued….

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7 Things you need to know about Retail Therapy

Shame on me, for I have done it again. I went on a mad binge.

Today I’m suffering for it – the fuzzy feeling in the stomach, the guilt, the shame, the hangover. What did I do? Why did I do it? Again? We all know the feeling. In my case however, I’m not talking about drink. Nor am I talking about chocolate, ice cream or cream cake. I laugh in the face of chocolate. No, I am talking clothes, delicate, beautiful, silky smooth clothes. It feels like I spent the entirety of the past fortnight in one shop or another, feeling garments, trying them on, taking them home. I’ve circled the sales rack in Oasis so many times that it actually made me dizzy. I am surprised at this stage that none of the sales staff has called the police. Surely the presence of some mad, stary-eyed early thirties female circling the store could not have gone unnoticed.

My spare bedroom, a laundry/ dressing/ ironing room at the best of times, has turned into an unnavigable maze of unemptied shopping bags, loose garments and chopped off labels. I’ve long run out of space to store away my belongings, or to be able to find anything, for that matter. Getting a bigger wardrobe is only ever a temporary solution to the problem. Believe me, I have tried.

Let’s talk straight here. I think I am mentally ill.

The “hangover” doesn’t change the fact that I am eyeing up yet another gorgeous blouse as we speak, or that I am contemplating the purchase of a fine leather handbag in deep blue. I never, ever get tired of shopping, and it’s never, ever enough. To quote my friend Sylvia on this: It’s not fair – I want everything! 

What is it with some of us women that we just can’t get enough?  Why do we feel the need for new things all the time, failing to appreciate and care for what we already have? We all know it – we buy too many things and never have anything to wear. Treating yourself to something nice is of utmost importance. Go on, get that nice dress you saw in the window yesterday. You deserve it. But when is it actually turning into a compulsion, this feeling of must have something that afterwards you really could have done without? How can you stop spending your money on useless stuff and instead look great at all times?

Next time you feel like hitting the shops, remember these 7 things a woman should know about Retail Therapy.

…to be continued…

Things a Woman should know about Style

I am a sucker for coffee table books. I got a whole array of small and perfectly square books scattered around the living room for visitors and for those boring rainy Sunday afternoons alike. Even better than a coffee table book is a coffee table book on style, so I had to have this. Also, it has Audrey Hepburn on the cover. What could possibly go wrong.

As entertaining a read it is, don’t expect to uncover any great wisdom or the secret to finding your personal style. This book is on classic style only. If Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel and Jackie O are your girls, and if you like black, camel and white, shift dresses, breton tops, brogues, cashmere twin sets and tailored jackets – congratulations, this is your book. Sound boring? In fairness, it is not a bad read – witty, sharp and at points laugh out loud. I like the numerous quotations and the little truths within. BUT and this is a capital BUT, what a boring place the world would be if everybody was elegant, day in, day out.  I love classic style and I wear it a lot… but you only live once, so be brave and be yourself.

Apart from anything else, the chapter on footwear left me baffled. I don’t care what anyone says, women hobbling around on stilettos are not stylish, no matter how pretty the shoe. A sit down only shoe is a caricature that is best avoided.

The book’s top ten style rules

1) Take care of your clothes or forget looking good.

2) Vintage is a term used to describe old and overpriced.

3) Sports clothes and trainers should never leave the gym.

4) Wit should be heard from your mouth and not read off your breasts. Never wear slogans.

5) Buy clothes that fit. If you don’t like the size you are, cut out the label.

6) Never buy in Topshop if you are on the wrong side of 30.

7) Boot leg cuts look good on any figure. Skinny trousers look good on hardly any figure.

8) Know your worth.

9) Dresses are the epitome of style.

10) Good food before fashion every time.

 

Things a Woman should know about Style is available on Amazon.co.uk for £9.99.