Chris and I are going to visit the Big Apple in a couple of weeks on our first wedding anniversary. I decided ages ago to not worry about The Great American Apparel Diet too much while we are in NYC. I am going to allow myself to do a little bit of shopping there. The question that troubles me right now is: what is going to be worth the money?
Okay, so I have bought a few things while being on TGAAD, but I have been rather surprised how differently I am starting to view buying the less I do it. I paid 3 euros for the cardigan I am wearing today. It has been a great purchase: it is warm, comfortable and wearable. I have worn it probably 20 times already. But if I had found it in a proper store, how much would I have been ready to pay for it? $25? $50? $100? I honestly don't know. I feel like I am losing track of what things cost and why. Or maybe it is not the cost that is the issue here: maybe it is me. The truth is that I feel uncomfortable spending money. I have somehow lost the ability to justify spending. I wonder if this has something to do with having reached "a stuff saturation point"? Or is this the result of no longer feeling a void in my personal life that I was trying to fill with a lot of shopping in the past? Have I broken the habit? Or, have I perhaps finally learned something about the value of money?
I have come to understand a fair bit about my own shopping patterns; for example that the thrill that I have got in the past from shopping reached its peak at the moment of money transaction. Realizing this was quite a shock to me. I had always just assumed that the main point in my shopping was to have and own new things, not to buy them. But the less I have bought things, the more I have come to recognise that the high has come from the buying.
Looking back at my little spending spree in Finland a few weeks ago, I notice now that I made one or two mistakes. I got excited about cheap prices at flea markets and, for example, bought a burnt orange corduroy skirt+shorts=skort that I probably will not wear. Overall though, I did really well, and yes, I am going to pat myself in the back because of that. I bought practical things that I could see myself wearing a lot in the future; things that I am excited about having and wearing. I even got myself a new pair of skinny jeans, and I didn't feel guilty. But I did notice feeling awfully distracted in proper clothing stores. (I visited quite a few while shopping for Christmas presents.) There were so many clothes everywhere; clothes that seemed horribly expensive, and more importantly, clothes I knew I didn't need, or even want. Clothing stores even looked like spending traps. The layout of a store would look obviously calculated to me. Everything from store windows to the choice of music played in shops felt like products of a carefully considered marketing scheme, which, of course, it is.
Back to the question regarding our trip to NYC: what do I need, or want? You know, maybe I don't need anything, although I could see myself trying to find a good pair of flat shoes, perhaps, or a neat handbag, maybe even a white shirt. Whatever I might end up buying though, I know that I will buy for different reasons than three years ago. I aim to feeling good about wearing something that I appreciate, not something I just wanted to buy for the sake of buying.
Cardigan: second hand / Valtteri flea market in Helsinki
Shoes: Kurt Geiger