The end of insanity


Dear all

you and I both know that I love style, fashion, clothes and shopping, nearly more than anything else in this world. Shopping is, in fact, my favorite pass time. I take great pride in my wardrobe and I love my clothes.

Unfortunately, I think, I’ve gone too far down the wrong road. Let me explain.

After Madrid didn’t present much of a shopping Mecca for me, I found myself really going wild in the Gibraltar sales. I am somewhat ashamed of how wild I went. It’s not that I spent a fortune. Everything was offensively cheap. However, In the course of four weeks or so, I bought (and that was after careful consideration and not buying everything I wanted, which was A LOT more):

– One Mango jumper and three jumpers from Oasis, all at least 50% off

– One going out dress from Mango at 70% off

– Two work dresses from Monsoon on sale

– Two dresses from Oasis at half price and one at ten pounds from the summer before

– One pair of shoes from Oasis at half price

– One coat slash wrap from Oasis at half price.

– Half a ton of costume jewellery at 2 pounds a piece in Accessorize.

If this does sound truly indulgent to you, then you know what, I would agree. Some people wouldn’t buy that much stuff in a year, no matter how cheap it was. So go on, ask me.

Are you ever going to wear these things? Well yes – I’m quite good at buying things I like and get some use out of. I buy well fitting, good looking things that are my style. I just buy too many of them.

Was it good value for money then? What do you think – I already own 50 plus dresses and I just bought another six?? I don’t know – next question!

Do you have space for the new arrivals? No! My wardrobe has reached the point where putting something new in means I have to throw something old out. Sometimes I deliberately leave the laundry to pile up a bit because I wouldn’t even have enough hangers to fit everything, if the contents of my wardrobe were all clean at the same time.

And the most important question, do you really need all that stuff? I think I can safely assume that I really don’t need any clothes, bags or accessories at this point in my life. Nothing at all. Not even a pair of socks. Once in a while I approach my wardrobe with pen and paper, and I start counting all the things I have and how much they cost me over the ten years or so I’ve been collecting them. I never finish this exercise. I get too scared, about a quarter into the process.

You might wonder if I’m one of these people who will never pay off their twelve credit cards. Thankfully, I’ve been quite lucky and I don’t have any debt racked up on store or credit cards. Still, I am spending way too much of my hard earned cash on clothes! And it is taking up too much of my time and energy to worry about the next thing I really need and whether I can afford it or not. This has nothing to do with my love for clothes anymore. Wanting, and buying, has turned into a losing game for me. Satisfaction is always just around the corner, once I have bought that last elusive thing that I really, really want. But usually even before I hand over my card to get the famous last thing, I spot something else in the shop. After the last thing, there always comes another. Does this sound familiar? Does it remind you of the scary “A” word that none of us likes to hear in relation to our own behavior?

Why stop shopping though?, the little devil on my shoulder whispers. You really enjoy it. You work hard and you deserve it. And you’re not hurting anybody, right? No I’m not hurting anybody – yet. I think this “yet” is exactly the right time to address my spending and consumption habits. I am not a rich person. Maybe my cash would be better spent (or not spent, in fact!) elsewhere. Maybe the resources on this planet are finite and consumers won’t be able to carry on as recklessly as they have done for the past few decades.

I have decided to set myself an enormous challenge. 2013 is the year of change for me. With a number of things, shopping only being one of them, I feel like I have reached a dead end. I have been doing the same things that haven’t been working for me for a number of years – which is, I hear, the definition of insanity. It’s time to take a quantum leap and  really make a change. So this is the deal:

I won’t be buying any new clothes for six months.

This might sound easy for any person who is not a compulsive hunter for the next best thing. But for a clothes addict like me, this may just be worse than coming off heroin. I shop all the time, or at least I look all the time, so if I want to really do this I will have to avoid the shops at all cost – and not only the shops. Websites, magazines, TV, anything that keeps me wanting. A major, major challenge.

Six months will bring me up to the end of summer and, conveniently, the summer sales. But hey, this isn’t what it is all about! I won’t take my abstinence as an excuse to blow hundreds in the sales – what would the point of that be? I may give myself a small budget a little closer to the time, but until then the only caveat to the no new clothes rule are small perishable items like socks or tights.

So stay tuned as I try and master this challenge. No more blogging about the newest purchases, but more blogging about the emotional triggers behind shopping, how to shop my own wardrobe for the next six months and any other interesting projects I will endeavor on to replace all those hours previously spent shopping. I will be honest and own up to any failings here, should they happen along the way, but I am looking forward to meeting the challenge and to really shift things and move them forward.

Don’t worry about me, I’m not about to turn into a fashion loathing frump anytime soon. I’ll still be looking good in the meantime – I have plenty of clothes to fall back to….