I’ve always had a passion for clothes and shoes. I can still remember being told off by my Nana for stealthily stealing a copy of Marie Claire to flick through aged about 10, and haring my mother tell her, ‘Don’t worry – she just wants to look at the pictures!’ But what began as an innocent fascination with the glossy, glamourous images in a magazine really took hold by the time I went to University. It was here that clothes became more to me than just things that were nice to look at – here they slowly morphed into my chosen form of expression. I’ve never been the most confident person, but clothes suddenly helped me to tackle that. Having that must have wrap over top from Warehouse was a conversation starter. A compliment over my shoes had the power to make me feel great for a week. It kick started a shopping addiction that I still battle with today, and soon my wardrobe became an integral part of my identity. I was the girl with all the accessories, and I loved the feeling I got when my housemates knocked on my door before a night out to borrow a handbag or a pair of earrings – it made me feel I had something to offer, and people coming to me to ask for style advice was a real thrill. I was always the girl that teetered on the edge of the friendship group at school – not an outcast, but certainly not popular either. I just blended into the background, but now suddenly I felt wanted, and it was a feeling I got hooked on.
That buzz I got from someone liking my outfit never went away. It is, in fact, probably a large part of why this blog exists today, and it’s almost definitely the reason I spend far too much time on Instagram! But sadly, it’s hard to keep that buzz alive. The constant need to validation also means a constant “need” for new things, and that is why I haven’t yet managed to rid myself of my shopaholic tendencies. I haven’t bought clothing from the high street since February, something I’m feeling great about and will endeavor to continue, but I am still continuing to consume ‘new to me’ clothes at quite an alarming rate, and if anything, I suspect it may have gotten a little worse since I started buying second hand. Previously I’d learnt to be fairly sensible in my purchases. Not saintly, by any stretch, but I did try to stick to things I knew I would wear and regularly talked myself out of acquiring more glittery shoes or sequined frocks that would languish at the back of the wardrobe for months on end. When it’s an eBay bargain or a charity shop find, though, I find myself justifying more and more. I tell myself it’s ok to treat myself if it only cost a few quid, or I pat myself on the back for preventing it going to landfill, when the truth is, if I really want to make an impact it’s my over consumption I need to curb, especially when it comes to buying things I love rather than require. But I’ve attached such an emotional value to clothes that I’m honestly finding it hard to stop. Any time I feel a bit stressed, or run down, or sad about something I find myself on Depop looking to see if that pair of boots I’ve lusted after for an age is there, ‘just in case…’ It’s not even about the clothes any more. It’s 100% about the way a package arriving makes me feel.
Case in point, this dress…
I have absolutely zero need for any new dresses. I have a vast collection now, and have pretty much all bases covered. I have long ones, short ones, midi length ones. Long sleeves, short sleeves, puffed sleeves and straps. There are tea dresses, smock dresses, wrap styles and button throughs. There really isn’t an occasion I don’t have an appropriate dress for. And yet, this one still found it’s way to me. Dan had recently returned to work after a few lovely long months of furlough, reminding me that soon I would have to do the same, and the whole lockdown situation was really starting to get to me, and in a moment of weakness I succumbed to the urge for a ‘pick me up’ and bid on this dress. It’s hard to feel too bad about it – it’s a dress I’ve genuinely wanted for a long time and it’s absolutely going to get plenty of wear. But I definitely need to find a healthier way to deal with my emotions!
Are you an emotional shopper too? Confess!