Maybe I should start by introducing you to my self administered shopping ban. Simply put, I over shopped and in a momentary burst of guilt I imposed this self ban on multiple platforms and in front of multiple people. I was pretty serious about my ban, so much so that for two hours in a mall with Mango, Aldo, Charles & Keith, Promod and Nine West I didn’t buy anything. Yes sir, you got it right- nothing, zilch, nada and I was mighty proud of myself.
Until I decided to check out the Zara sale in a nearby mall. I mean I have a shopping ban but window shopping is allowed, or so I told myself. The point of this post is to chronicle and share my commandments as a compulsive shopper:
1) Bye bye world– The moment I set foot in a boutique or for that matter street market in Sarojini Nagar (Delhi) or Bangkok, I feel what Alice must have felt when she entered wonderland. I feel like a butterfly in a garden in full bloom- vivid colors, prints, styles, accessories, bags, shoes. Oh my! I lose sense of world, chores, family, time and of course bank balance. If this doesn’t happen to you then you are not immersing yourself in the complete shopping experience.
2) Window shopping is as real as Loch ness monster– Read my purpose of going to Zara above. No matter how much I try to fool myself that I’ll just have a look, it just never happens. I obviously think I am just window shopping so I try on the maximum number of clothes I can take to the trial room. After all I’m not planning to buy any so why not! Well…when I swipe my card at the billing counter I try hard to bury my conscience’s voice asking why.
3) When you shop, Murphy works overtime- When you are out there in the retail jungle, it is a bitch eat bitch world. If you don’t make a well timed move that leggy bitch WILL take the dress, which’ll go perfectly well for the Sunday brunch. The key is hoard whatever you like at sight, then move to the trial room and make an informed choice. All other distractions such a parched throat, tooth/stomach/head ache, heavy as boulder laptop bag can wait!
4) The spark- If I’m shopping out of need or compulsion or momentary lapse of reason I know I’ll eternally love a dress/ bag/shoe/hair pin if it makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in this world. It’s like that spark you feel the first time you meet a potential beau – either it’s there or not. No two ways about it.
5) Trial room mathematics- Shopping is largely an irrational process. You fall in love with something and love isn’t the most rational of all emotions. To bring in some rationality and not get hollered at by the aforementioned conscience, I always do this quick check- I should instantly be doing permutations and combinations of the shoes, earrings, watches, bags, lipsticks and other such paraphernalia of what’ll go with what I’m planning to buy. Even if it translates into buying the paraphernalia as well.
6) Expectation setting- I recently started working and got married. My husband despite dating me for 4 years didn’t know what a voracious shopper I am. My mother was well aware of my shopping compulsion, but after I got married she started advising how I should not blow up money on shopping but focus on savings. While you have to be all responsible and financially stable, the key here is to set expectations of these different stakeholders in your life. Make your habit of shopping appear as a small indulgence rather than a psychological disorder that needs therapy. Also looking cute for your mother and hot for your husband/boyfriend in your new purchase always help 😉
7) Rationalize. Rinse. Rationalize- It doesn’t matter if you have a dedicated shelf in your husband’s cupboard because your cupboard can’t accommodate anymore, the moments of ‘Oh-I-have-nothing-to-wear’ will always always outnumber the moments of ‘I-have-just-the-right-thing’. Simply put if you can’t rationalize a purchase to yourself, you can’t justify it to others! Also this might not silence the aforementioned voice of the conscience, it might temporarily fool it.
8 ) Do what the government doesn’t do- That is legally qualify clothes, bags, shoes, accessories as tangible assets. That’ll make the lives of us Shopoholics Not-so-Anonymous much simpler. But if the government/banking system doesn’t do so, you in your capacity treat everything that you buy as an asset- including the stuff that you buy from a thrift shop. Take care of them for you never know what’ll come to your rescue when and what will bring that zing to an otherwise boring look. Also you wouldn’t end up with costly clones in your cupboard.
9) Get closure- For me the shopping experience is not complete till the time I don’t come back home, pour some wine and try the new purchases yet again and parade around in them in front of my family and my mirror. For me it is equivalent to what many women want their men to do after a romp in the bed. Get closure on your shopping trip, bask in that post shopping glory!
10) With great power comes great responsibility- Shopping is powerful experience. In fact one of those rare experiences that have high emotional, physical, financial and mental involvement and if done well, it leaves with a feeling that can only be qualified as BLISS. But then there are times when you can’t shop, you have no money left and you have to be responsible in life. But fret not, as I know that you know that we need fresh blood in our cupboards! So what can you do- a) Go to local thrift shops, some of my wardrobe delights have been procured in Sarojini Nagar (Delhi). b) Online stores in far away countries- I ogle at the online stores of brands in South America, Russia, Canada etc. Why ogle- as I get a glimpse of the latest trends so that I don’t feel I’m lagging. Why faraway countries- so the shipping charges deter me from making an online purchase!
Just to let you know, I did end up buying two dresses from Zara- one was the perfect white summer dress that I’ve been looking for nearly two years, the other just made me look super hot!
Do pour some wine/whiskey/vodka/water- whatever rocks your boat and share your shopping commandments.
Till then shop till you drop 😉