I’m going to be honest with you, I haven’t bought a brand new piece of clothing since mid-June and it’s now the end of August. I did buy 2 pieces from a thrift store trip though and any accessories were a different story. Right before the start of summer, I made my way to Singapore, but not without 10-hour stopover in Tokyo. It is here I did most of the damage during my kind-of vacation (will explain that in my Singapore post coming soon). Long story short, I bought a lot of warm-weather pieces there. It was my first time shopping in a Spring/Summer season over there and I have always been intrigued by their cool-weather fashion. Anyway, this, on top of a couple of pieces I bought in Singapore, I came home feeling very content with my warm-weather closet. I told myself I didn’t need anymore and promised myself if the urge came to wanting to buy some clothes (which I knew would come eventually), I would turn to second-hand, hence my 2 pieces from the thrift store. It was then I realized this is the first time I’ve ever fully acknowledged to myself that I didn’t need any more than what I already had.
In this day and age, people tend to stand by the saying of “the more the better”. You see people showing off their 1200 square foot closets filled ceiling to floor with their hoarded collection of shoes, purses, clothes, and jewelry. There are millions of videos and blog posts showcasing hauls. My friend linked me to an article talking about how people are buying clothes for the sole purpose of having content then returning them. Are there really viewers who enjoy this type of content? I, for one, am not fond of it, most especially the buying things just for content. I also recently read Fashion Revolution’s Fanzine #002 LOVE CLOTHES LAST from 2017 and it examined the different aspects of the fashion industry specifically consumption and waste. It overall brought to light different aspects of how we act as consumers of fashion.
At the time I decided to take a shopping break I didn’t have any explicit reasons to do so and it is only in retrospect that I was able to fully grasp what had happened. So I got to writing this post and then understood the importance of breaks in shopping every so often. I spent hours reading different articles on consumer behavior and I’ve come up with 4 reasons why it’s good to take a break from hitting the shops.
You probably don’t need to shop anymore anyway
For me, these feelings were recognized right away. Many of us shop for happiness or self-worth and I found myself happy with who I was with my clothes. And the search for happiness or self-worth in clothes can make the action of shopping addictive (which is my next point). This also ties in with us as consumers defining our line between want and need. I know we all have those pieces currently in our closets that we have not worn yet and that still have the tags on them. We should re-examine why we bought them and what they mean to us and give them a chance.
Shopping can become addictive
On page 20 of Fashion Revolution’s Fanzine #002 LOVE CLOTHES LAST, they refer to UCLA neuropsychologist Robert Bilder’s findings on how excessive shopping is no longer considered “compulsive”, but an “addiction”. In 2015, Bilder and his colleagues created the first scale to fully embed shopping addiction within an addiction paradigm. This means there are scientific studies showing the dopamine levels released while we shop can be equated to those dopamine levels released while gambling or drinking. There’s food for thought for ya!
Saving the environment
As living beings who depend on this very earth we live in, each of us holds responsibility in taking care of it. In 2013, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans produced 15.1 million tons of textile waste and 85% of it ended up in landfills. And on average, each American throws away roughly 70lbs of clothing per year (Huffington Post, 2013). Let’s just say we would have way less waste in those landfills leading to less pollution each year if we bought less stuff.
This one is pretty self-explanatory since we can all use a little extra cash here and there. Not spending $20 on a cardigan means we have $20 to spend on groceries for that week or it means we can put it into our savings for a car. Taking money into consideration when it comes to your shopping habits also allows you to reconsider where you draw the line between wanting and needing, which brings me full circle to my first point.
|Skirt: thrifted from a really long time ago | Tank: Old Navy from a really long time ago | Sandals: Target | Sunglasses: Privé Riveaux | Scarf: Grandma’s|
As someone obsessed with fashion and someone working around fashion, I know how hard taking breaks with shopping can be. I have tried those “no spend” months and failed. But I believe I failed because it was a very conscious effort. Here I am going on almost a whole season without new clothes and it’s the result of already knowing my closet and finding satisfaction in it. That isn’t to say I didn’t turn my focuses elsewhere. Aside from my 2 thrift store finds I did buy the AllSaints purse from my last post from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and I did purchase sandals. Both expenses I viewed as necessary as I was really missing a crossbody in my closet, and my mom keeps stealing my sandals since we’re the same shoe size. As for any of my future shopping, I think I’ll stay my current route of sticking to thrifting or buying one of my dream purses.
I do think being conscious of your closet and of the environment are my top 2 reasons why you should consider taking a shopping break. I wonder how many of us head into the store knowing exactly what we want and how many of us walk in winging our shopping experience. I also wonder how many of us buy something knowing we’ll only wear it twice until it’s time to be discarded in the trash or the donation pile, where there is the possibility of your discarded item ending up in a landfill. I understand taking a break for some may be hard, but I feel in order to do so, one has to be less conscious of the fact and try to let things roll. We think about too much and a shopping hiatus is already associated with words like “difficulty” and “will-power”, but this was surprisingly an easy-going process for me. These feelings of contentment and satisfaction felt natural, as in I didn’t find it as a struggling process. To conclude, I’ll leave you with these tips:
- find your own satisfaction of your own closet
- start styling your pieces in new ways so it feels fresh and new
- see how long it’ll take until you start getting that urge to hit up your favorite shop
Thank you for coming this far! Feel free to leave any comments below!