Mindless Shopping – why do we do it?

A few years ago social media was full of “influencers” posting their Primark and other fast fashion hauls with the onset of the last two years we have seen a move to a new craze on the squares “the thrifted haul ” – don’t get me wrong it is a positive move to see influencers becoming more sustainable and it is great that they are advocating second-hand shopping to their followers but we are still over consuming? I have been reading Consumed by Aja Barber which I totally recommend you read. She questions our need to constantly have something new and why we feel we have to consume more.

I recently saw a post on Instagram by Jemma Finch the founder of The Stories Behind Things “Mindless shopping affects our mental health . The dopamine hit we get from shopping for things we don’t need is a temporary but the negative impact that these purchases have our planet and minds lasts forever. Mass consumption is continually trying us to buy more stuff to be happy, and it’s so important break away from the noise and redefine what newness is”

Why is it that we think we need to buy more stuff – whether it be second-hand or fast fashion? I am guilty of this myself as I love a good trawl round a charity or vintage shop and on many occasion don’t come away empty handed but I have started to question why am I buying more when I have a wardrobe full of clothes that never get worn but I still part with my cash – is it because I am bored with what I already own, am I trying to make myself feel better by spending money or am I conditioned to continue consume when I really don’t need anything else – whatever the reason we need to think a bit more before we buy another piece of clothing that we probably have got in the wardrobe anyway but forgotten about.

This time of year we get bombarded with what we should be buying for the new season, adverts tempting us with new stuff making us feel that we need to rush out an buy more even if we don’t need it. So how to we filter out the noise?

Another book to read is How to Break up with Fast Fashion by Lauren Bravo http://www.laurenbravo.co.uk/ which gives some amazing tips on shopping and one quote that stuck with me is “people do not remember your clothes. They just don’t. Unless your friends are the collected staff of Hello! magazine and you are Kate Middleton in a coat dress. People Don’t Remember. If you don’t believe me think about the the number of times a person has said “I like that! Is it new?” and you wanted to list the many times they’ve seen you in it before. She also says that “They don’t care. People do not care. Think about it and flip the scenario around. A friend or whoever turns up to meet you, barely before you even ask how they are, they bleat “I was wearing this the last time I saw you, you must think I have no clothes. You don’t think less of them do you? If anything it makes you like them more?

The friend or colleague or influencer with the seemingly limitless conveyor belt of brand new outfits really rankles, because they make us feel like re-wearing our own clothes is something to be ashamed of. But every time a woman or influencer posts a previously worn outfit or item on the grid we can all breathe a sigh of relief – so lets normalize re-wearing our clothes.

This year I am going to make a real effort to shop less and make the most of what I already have, I am not only talking about the wardrobe but generally thinking how I consume. The same goes for the house because as with the wardrobe there is no more room to have more vintage glasses or china tea cups that sit in cupboards gathering dust! There are things that we do need for the house but I am going to wait and find the perfect item rather than just buying the first thing I see just to get that shopping fix. As a fashion blogger I do feel the pressure to turn up on social media in fabulous outfits and the temptation to have new items to show is very real but I am trying to normalize re-wearing, re-using and upcycling.

Working in a charity shop is not easy as temptation is always there but I am being very strict and only buying what makes my heart sing or something that I actually need rather than what I want. Instead I am going to “shop my wardrobe” if I want a “new outfit” and make the most of what I already own rather than buying more clothes that I really don’t need. This year I am shopping for the long haul – items that will be in wardrobe for years to come.

So the next time you get tempted stop and think do I really need it? Will it go with at least 3 things I ready own or do I have something already that I can make work from what is already own. We feel the need to buy something for an occasion but look to your own wardrobe first and foremost before adding to what could possibly be worn just the once and sit in the wardrobe feeling unloved.

We all love to have new things and there is no denying that the buzz from having something exciting and different to wear is fabulous but thinking about how we consume should also be part of our thought process. Stop and think before you buy.

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