I first want to start by giving a shout out to Cheryl Stern and her amazing show that I got to see this past week, Shoes and Baggage http://www.shoesandbaggage.com. Cheryl wrote and performs in this one woman show which is basically about her life and her shopping! She had me laughing, crying and most of all relating to every compulsive purchase she has made! If you live in the NYC area, I would highly recommend enjoying a night on the town and going to see the show. It is playing through Sunday August 26 at Alice's Tea Cup Chapter II (156 East 64th Street at Lexington Ave). I also must add that I had dinner before the show at JoJo’s, located on the same block, and the food was excellent! Such a fun night and thank you Cheryl for sharing your talent and your life with us all!
Now on to the shopping…
My fall shopping list is a work in progress…and I am unsure if I really know what I want to purchase, or am I just putting things on my list that I see (and love) as I am browsing online. I confess that I have partaken in much online browsing these past couple of weeks! To prepare for my last posts about Fast Fashion, I have been researching and finding wonderful new (sustainable) clothing sites. I have clicked and perused through many of these cyber stores, and with each new site visit I yearn to buy something…or two or three somethings! I feel the urge to do a “test run” of all these new brands so I can determine which ones I might love…I tell myself it is in the name of research…I will be helping many people by trying out all these new ethical brands and blogging about them…right??
With my computer in front of me and a cup of coffee beside me, I start each morning happily, eagerly, “research shopping”. On my screen I am dazzled by pictures of colorful, organic cotton long sleeve shirts….a soft, premiere vegan leather handbag….a vintage Chanel jacket in pristine condition….a long Alpaca coat…I want to buy it all! I quickly revise my Fall shopping list to include Vintage tweed and Alpaca coats, vegan leather accessories, and organic t-shirts.
Click, Click, Click,…on to the next site.
I cancel my Stitch Fix account in lieu of a new account with Material World so I can get surprise pre-owned designer items (surely this is a good thing…right?). I look into creating an account with RentTheRunway and begin looking at clothes I can rent. I’m feeling so fashionably ethical! I start selecting trendy outfits from sustainable clothing sites like Everlane, Pact, and Cuyana, and before my coffee cup is empty, I have four online shopping carts filled with goodies!
The caffeine is pulsing through me, and my stimulated mind is prompting me to buy, buy, buy…try, try, try! And then I pause and say why, why, why? Why am I rushing this? What am I really shopping for? Am I just looking to feel good about myself? Do I just want to proudly claim that I’ve completely changed the way I shop and now I’m an ethical, sustainable shopper…and here’s the proof…a whole new sustainable wardrobe? PAUSE! I need to PAUSE! I must PAUSE! I shut the computer and force myself to move on to something else…yoga, a run, read that new book…anything else. I repeat this click, shop, pause routine for a few days. I notice that each time I browse I change my mind about what I “must” buy. At one point I actually begin the checkout process to purchase a pair of boots, t-shirt, jeans, and black organic cotton sweater. I reach the last checkout step (where I have to enter my credit card information) when I finally regain my senses and remind myself to “Stop. Wait. Take a break. Think”. And once again, I pause before purchasing. I never did go back to complete that purchase. I thought about that full shopping cart and everything in it for a couple of days, and determined that none of those items would add much to my closet that I didn’t already own. They would just add more clutter. Pushing myself to take a “Pause” saved me from “Compulsive” and “Unnecessary” purchases.
I still continued browsing other sites, searching for Fall items that I might desire. I began focusing on one item I knew I wanted to purchase for quite some time….an everyday Navy handbag. But which bag should I buy? I had decisions to make. Did I really want to buy a premier vegan bag? Would I like fake leather? Maybe I really wanted that brand new Prada tote I saw on neimanmarcus.com. Or should I be more sustainable and search for a used designer handbag? This debate played repeatedly over and over in my mind as I clicked back and forth between several websites. Vegan bag or leather Prada bag…new Prada or secondhand Prada? Pause…Pause..PAUSE! Close the computer and move on with my day.
This cycle of Shop…Pause…Repeat pretty much sums up my week. By continually practicing to stop and pause, I did not allow myself to compulsively buy everything I craved. I realize that although I want to try all these newfound brands immediately and all at once, it is truly not in my best interest as an overshopper. I need to take my time and be mindful about what I add to my closet. Although I am curious how nice that black organic cotton sweater is, I do not need another black top, but when I do, I’ll know where to go! I also decided I don’t really need to join Rent the Runway just yet. I already have a closet full of runway worthy clothing, and although I love the idea of renting clothes, I think I’ll wait for now and revisit the idea when I’m looking for some “only wear once’ Holiday outfits! I’m still going to cancel my StitchFix account and join MaterialWorld instead, as I really like the concept of shopping for designer consignment items. However, I don’t need a new box of surprise clothing every month so I will start by setting my account for a box every three months.
As for the handbag…I concluded that adding a navy bag would definitely be a useful addition to my wardrobe so I went ahead and purchased one. I was so very tempted to order all three bags (vegan, new Prada, and consignment Prada)….but I didn’t. Again, allowing myself time to think provided better clarity into what I really needed and kept my obsessive, compulsive urges in check. In the end, I ordered one navy bag…the vegan one. I may love it, I may not…we shall see (I hope I love it).