I tend to do a little window shopping these days. Not to torment myself because I’m refraining from buying clothes, but more as a sociological expedition into the psyche of why we shop, our shopping habits and how retailers tap into our weakness for collecting things.
On one of my lunchtime strolls, I came across Myer’s window merchandising campaign, which made me stop long enough to take a picture. Its theme was ‘No Regrets’ and it displayed both women’s and men’s clothing in each window. Passersby didn’t even appear to give it a glance, but I thought it was an interesting angle that the retailer was taking. ‘No regrets’ for what? Was this trying to tell me I shouldn’t regret purchase clothing? Or was it making a larger statement about how we should live our lives? A look at their website revealed their campaign is the ‘A–Z of No Regrets’. Each letter of the alphabet makes a statement or draws from a quote from a fashion designer encouraging you to live your life without regrets, particularly as it relates to purchasing their clothing. Clothing being an expression of giving to yourself and others. A really interesting reflection of how clothing affects our perception of ourselves and how we may view others.
Whenever I used to go on one of my shopping rampages, I would invariably feel that pang of guilt for buying too much of something I really didn’t need. ‘Is that new?’ my husband would ask when I came out wearing a new outfit, ‘Ah, sort of … ‘, I would trail off.
Taking control of spending and not buying clothes is actually more liberating and empowering than I thought. I’m up to month three and the initial pangs of shopping spree urges have passed, even at the end of the season. One of my colleagues recently joined in on the ‘buy no clothes’ venture, but she is limiting it to two months. As predicted, the first couple of weeks were tough. However, after that, she also found it got easier and has become more mindful of what clothes she already owns, as well as reflective of her shopping habits. It takes two weeks to make something a habit, whether that’s breaking an old habit or creating a new one. I know that I have no regrets in breaking the old shopping indulgence habit. My clothes may reflect a part of who I am and how I perceive the day ahead; but shopping for them no longer holds that power.