01 July 2018

Changing My Relationship To Clothing


It's no secret that I am a shopaholic. Anyone who knows me will tell you that, hell people who don't know me could probably guess that, and I'll admit to it. I enjoy shopping (most of the time), I'm a giant geek when it comes to products and I have a deep rooted love for fashion. As I get older, I find a  lot of joy in homeware, and I also enjoying playing around with the latest tech. I'm a materialistic person, and I honestly don't see a problem with that. I find joy in spending money that I've worked hard to earn on products that make me happy or excited. There's such a negative connotation with materialism and I think it's rather stupid. Why should anyone care what I choose to spend my money on? The only person who should be concerned with that is me, and whoever at my bank manages my accounts.

That being said, I did get to a point where I was concerned with what I was spending my money and thus this post was born. I have done one of these posts before in regards to beauty and I think that as I continue to grow up, there will be many different parts of my life that this idea will be applicable to. As we evolve over time, our relationships with everything change and sometimes I think it's nice to sit back and reflect on the past change, or make a conscious decision to make new change happen now. I'm focusing on new change right now because the last change my relationship with clothing when through wasn't the most healthy nor beneficial.

My Previous Relationship 

I think that the problem with my past relationship to clothing really came to a head while I was away at college. Looking back on it now, this isn't surprising to me and honestly, I think it probably could have been expected. It was my first time really being away from home and having complete control over my financials. The first few months I went a little crazy just out of excitement. We have a rather nice shopping street thats a five minute walk from my dorms so it was incredibly easy to just pop down to the shops after or in-between classes. This street also houses a lot of nice places to eat, a bunch of super cute coffee shops and our university library so on the weekends, I spent the majority of my time here. I was constantly surrounded buy shopping opportunities and I just didn't have the ability to say no. When I came back home from winter break, I got a retail job in a clothing store which was great except for the fact that we got a great discount. Now don't get me wrong, usually I'd never complain about a good discount, but unfortunately this one only served as another temptation for me. 

Once I went back to school after the holidays, I found myself struggling a lot more with my anxiety as well as some relationship issues. Buying clothing turned from an exciting event to a coping mechanism -- a way to fill a void. I would get a bit of joy from purchasing something, but soon that joy would be gone and I was miserable again. This got me into an extremely unhealthy habit that took me a while to realize and even longer to break. I have no qualms with retail therapy on occasion but at that point in my life, I wish I had quite the retail therapy and traded in for actually therapy. That probably would have been a bit better for my my mental state and my wallet. 

Come the final few months of school and I had realized I had a problem. I had managed to figure out what was stemming it and I set myself a goal. There were a few road bumps along the way because during the spring, my health -- mental and physical -- seriously deteriorated and I felt like shit all the time. While this was a horrible time, one good thing did come out of it: I felt so terrible all the time that I couldn't even enjoy shopping so I was able to cut back quite a bit. I did a bit here and a bit there but it was nothing compared to before. Shopping had become a bandaid for me but I was to the point where I needed something more than just a bandaid. 

My Future Relationship

I decided to skip having a section on what my current relationship with clothing is because I feel like I'm kind of in limbo right now, neither here nor there on anything one thing. I'm no longer viewing clothing and shopping as. used to, but I'm not quite to where I want to be. It's a process. Where do I want to be? That's the most important equation to me right now. I want to be happy with clothing but I don't want it to be a temporary happiness, I'm no longer looking for a bandaid. I've decided to change my outlook on clothing to quality over quantity, which is something I should have done a long time ago. 

As a teen, I was easily sucked into trends, and although I have managed to get away from that cycle of just buying something because it's on trend, I do still find myself to be a consumer of fast fashion. There are something things that I think are perfectly fine to be fast fashion, like the basics for example. I have a whole stack of white and black t-shirst that I spent no more then $10 a piece on. They're cheap and not fabulous quality, but I get my money out of them and when they fall apart, it isn't bank breaking to buy another. The problem is when I hop to fast fashion for other pieces in my wardrobe and only wear it a handful of times. Yeah sure they're cheap which is great but the other side of that is they're cheap and that's not great. Crap quality for a lower price isn't always the best option, or so I'm learning. For example, I have about a million and two bags, but my most used and favorites are my Fjallraven Kaken backpack, a tote bag from Urban Outfitters and my Ted Baker Harmony bag. All of these bags were north of $50 which isn't massively expensive, but still more than what I would consider fast fashion pricing. I have definitely gotten my money's worth out of them, and I'll continue to do so because they're all still going strong. These three bags make me so happy, and I genuinely love using them. That right there is what I want to strive for with all of my closet.

I recently did a clear out of my closet because I just moved back home and I had to find a way to fit everything from my dorm back into my room. That was impossible. I don't really understand what happened because my dorm room was half the size of my room back home but good lordy I had a lot of stuff. Ince I finally got everything out (strewn all over my floor) I realized that I honestly didn't care about a lot the stuff, in particular, my clothes. Sure I liked them but it was more of an eh like rather than a like. I found this a bit disheartening but also a bit motivating when it came to my clear out. Eight large trash bags later purely consisting of clothing and shoes, I felt so much better about what was in my wardrobe. I can genuinely say that I like everything my wardrobe now, and there are even a lot of pieces that I love. Eventually, I want to absolutely love every single item in my wardrobe but that's going to take a while and I'm okay with that. That step requires a lot of patience, searching and waiting. In the meantime, I'm okay with having things I just like while I look for things I love to replace them. 

The Steps I'm Taking

This whole process is taking a lot of conscious thought and decision when it comes to shopping. Sometimes, I find it frustrating but that usually ebbs away quickly and I find myself grateful for being more aware of what I'm doing. When I shop now, I have a completely different mindset. I make sure that if I'm going shopping in a fast fashion store, I really only look at basics or maybe one to two trend pieces. This helps keep me away from purchasing everything in sight. Of course, if there is something that I love in a fast fashion shop, I'll try it on and then I run through the lists: where can I wear it, what can I wear it with, will it last multiple seasons, etc. if the piece checks at least most of these boxes, the first two especially, then I will consider if I can justify the purchase. This comes with a whole another list, the biggest question being: do I have anything like it? If the answer to that is yes and I feel like this piece is a good addition to my wardrobe and is cohesive with clothing I previously own, then I'll purchase it. It's a lot, but it works and my bank account definitely thanks me for it. 

Moving on from fast fashion, I'm beginning to look more towards higher quality brands and while I can't afford a lot of them or the require a bit of saving, I've found some good in-betweens. The in-betweens allow me to get a step up on quality with only a bit of a jump in price. Zara, Free People and ASOS (you have to be careful with this one) have been some of my favorites. I have a couple truly luxury purchases that I want to make in the next few years and now that I've decided to make that a priority, I have to be saving for them. Here's hoping for the best! 

What's your relationship with clothing? 

-xx-


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