A couple of weeks ago I quoted a famous Carrie Bradshaw line about shopping being my “cardio”. Well I hadn’t hit the shops in what seemed like an eternity so I thought I’d better get started – to make sure I could still fit into my skinnies….That’s my excuse anyway!
I can’t tell you how exited I was to get “out there” as it felt like decades had passed since I’d actually bought anything new! So, last Tuesday after work I decided I was ready for an outing… I didn’t have long just time enough for a scanning mission, “Terminator” style. I whizzed around Liberty, Selfridges, Topshop and Warehouse – and managed a couple of purchases (mainly from the latter stores!)… After my little splurge I got on the tube with my bags and suddenly I felt all eyes were upon me. Like people were thinking – doesn’t she know there’s a recession? To make myself feel better I buried my head in this month’s copy of InStyle magazine… and OMG… I couldn’t believe it! There was an article entitled “Return to Spender” and I couldn’t put it down. In a nut-shell, the article was describing how the author, Shane Watson, had been incredibly good last year shopping-wise due to the credit crunch, only making considered, “safe” purchases and buying only what she “needed”. But she was explaining how bored she’d become with this new way of shopping and how she’d realised shopping was part of her and not something that could be denied!
It was just bizarre because that was exactly how I felt – and I was actually laughing out loud by the time I’d finished reading and I was so engrossed I nearly missed my stop! Last year, I’d tried to be as saintly as possible shopping-wise – really “considering” a purchase before I’d go to the till, trying to think, “Ok, do I really need this top, will it actually change my life (now I know a top is never going to change my life – but we girls do get this kind of over-whelming emotion of actually feeling like we do need to buy that silk nighty top or our world will end!!). I found that the more I analysed something, the less fun the prospective purchase became anyway – and I’d walk away and leave the item swinging forlornly on the rail. However, recently that’s stopped working because my desire to get something new is over-riding my guilt to say “no”!
I suppose I was naïve to think that my ability to walk away would last forever – I have been shopping all my life (I’m sure it’s my mother’s fault – after her mother had passed away – when trying on two dresses and unable to make a decision, she’d simply say “I think mummy would want me to have both of them!”). Also, I am a Personal Shopper – and shopping is my business! So, after a year of trying to “make do and mend”, the boredom was bound to set in. I suppose it’s harder for me or anyone else who works in fashion because we’re surrounded by potential purchases constantly. When I’m researching for my clients, scouring the shops for the “hot” items of the season I inevitably want to purchase a few for myself! Gosh – I sound like a shop-a-holic don’t I!
Whilst I may like buying a couple of new things every season (ok maybe more than a couple), I do think people can put too much emphasis on having the new “it” bag every six months – or another pair of Louboutins for example. I don’t need that type of newness – I simply need a bit of a Topshop fix now and again – to feel new and updated and “on-trend”. One of my favourite Shane’s lines from the article was: “Over the past year, I’ve become adept at buying those compromise items that will update my look for as little cash outlay as possible…. As a result I have more clothes than I have occasion to wear, but I’ve also started to look a bit… bland. Nothingy.”
Someone had spoken the truth – Shane had totally hit the nail on the head! Due to the credit crunch there was a feeling that going shopping was wrong – last year even net-a-porter.com started delivering their parcels in non-branded packaging… so no-one knew their customers had splurged on a couple of designer pieces and the neighbours couldn’t judge them!
Well all I can say is I’m thrilled that at least someone else is feeling the same as me… a wonderful excitement to “get shopping” (albeit with a new sense of thoughtfulness, so as not to throw money away on completely unnecessary items that may have felt more acceptable before the credit crunch – and not using your VISA for another pair of boots if you’ve no intention of paying it off any time soon). And don’t forget – not only are you burning calories when pounding the pavements with your shopping bags but you’re also helping the post credit-crunch economy – as retail in the UK is an incredibly important part of getting money back into the system and providing many thousands of jobs. Now doesn’t that make you feel good, we’re doing our bit for the recovery too… so go for it girls!