Confessions of an Ex Shopaholic
What to do when you cannot stop shopping
Just because you suddenly wake up one day and realize how dysfunctional, dangerous and downright dumb your shopping addiction has become, does not mean the pain of giving up, cold turkey, is any easier. Shopping for some expensive designer luxury is probably one of the most exhilarating feelings I have had, so this addiction I understand because I am a reformed shopaholic and ambassador for recycled fashion these days.
We have to find the feeling of lively and cheerful joy, that feeling when we shop, from a non materialistic place, to be able to understand how being addicted to shopping can only lead to more misery and debt. I was never so bad I would cut off my toes to fit into a pair of heels but bad enough to spend more money than sense on a divine black Chanel handbag bag. I was forced to sell it after spending years dreaming about it, when I found myself broke which opened my eyes to its real value, to a vulture like female ready to cash in on my bad luck.
I spend my time now as a talk therapist meeting with women who openly admit they are sick, addicted to labels, shoes and have no life to ever wear a fraction of what they buy, that often wouldn't even fit them if they did manage to get a life. These women I can relate to because I understand the illness and yes it is like an illness without a cure because not everyone has access to a coach, someone to talk to.
The truth is common sense tells us if we cannot afford it, don't buy it and if you don't need it, don't buy it either, just recognize when you're shopping, you stop thinking as all rational behavior disappears. Shopping is all about filling the hole in your soul by shopping for stuff to give you a life you think you desire, maybe like a celebrity you see in a glossy. You cannot buy a life in any shop anywhere, you can only buy stuff to go into a life and any celebrity you aspire to be like, is paid by brands to make you feel like that.
Shopping should be fun but these days the High Street is filled with cheap disposable clothes made overseas often by massive yet invisible work forces mistreated, under valued and under paid and the designer market is being ruined by fake copies from China fuelling human traffiking globally. I have found what I consider to be the perfect solution to couture designer shopping on a budget, now and again when you feel the need and that is the secondhand recycled underworld. Charity shopping, once you have been cured of ignorance and status anxiety, is the best kept secret to savvy pickings and the perfect opportunity to do some good.
I have found everything from Chanel suits, Hermes shoes, Gucci bags and sunglasses to vintage Dior and Valentino at a fraction of the cost and often in amazing condition. It takes time and patience to trail the streets in search of a rich area with an Oxfam store but trust me, its worth it when you're on a budget and fancy a designer fix of an afternoon.
Photo by: United Nations Unsplash