Sunday, 30 January 2011
why i'm going on my first ever shopping ban
Blogland is full of shopping bans. Some of them are personal, and some are group shopping bans, encouraging remixing of and appreciation for items you already own. I’ve never felt a need to join in; I already remix and appreciate my clothes. Yet I’m declaring February, and likely March, a shopping off limits time. No shopping for new, vintage, or thrifted clothes, jewllery or shoes. Why?
It’s not for economic reasons. Of course, not buying any clothes can only be good for my budget, but I’m not bad with money, I was brought up with my mom and my depression-era grandmother saying “never spend money you don’t have,” and “don’t get into debt if you can possibly help it.” I don’t even buy that much, I just consider what I might buy. So, while every penny spent adds up, it’s not my motivation to stop shopping.
It’s not because I have too much stuff. I do have too much stuff, of course. Almost everyone in the first world does, and certainly every fashion blogger I’ve ever come across has much too much stuff. Still, truth be told, I like my stuff, and that’s not my motivation either.
I’m going on a shopping ban because shopping has somehow transitioned, mysteriously in the last year, from being something I occasionally do, to being a “hobby.” I loathe this idea. I don’t want to have materialism as a hobby. If people ask me what my hobbies are, I generally say “reading, writing, languages…” But shopping? Hunting through shops real and virtual for clothes that I tell myself I’ll wear on bike rides or picnics, or to the pub, or to the theatre, when really I spend more time shopping than I spend on most of those activities?
I shop because I think it makes me happy to find lovely things. But shopping actually makes me unhappy. Most of the time, it’s a solitary activity, trawling through endless racks or photos of rubbish, time (and money) that could be spent doing interactive, social things with people I like. If I never shopped, I would have to do other things, like read, go to galleries, go for walks in the park. Even if I spent all that time still on myself, I’m sure I could contribute to my own outward appearance in a more effective way. Learning to do my hair properly would make a more concrete difference to my appearance than a new dress. I’m sure I would find better things to spend the money on too, like lunches with friends, or flights to Barcelona…. Things that would form the fabric of my life, and not only contribute to the fabric in my closet.
During one of the happiest summers I can remember, I bought practically nothing. I was walking the streets, riding my bike, going to the beach, hanging out. I was just living life. And I plan to recapture that, even if I have to force myself to do so.
Pictures from my pre-blog life, in which I'm doing various things, in various places, wearing various clothes...