How much do you shop?

posted on: Monday, 23 March 2015

I find myself drawn to woeful articles written about compulsive shoppers. A life's fortune spent on something she already had in her possession. I'm interested in the idea of shopping as an addiction. I furtively watch TV programmes about hoarders who keep every newspaper and every tin can, until their houses are colossal vessels of unnecessary stuff. I observe the Great British Public out on a Saturday afternoon, participating in the national pastime of commerce. I read blog after blog, of the fashion blogger ilk, featuring more clothes than anyone can know what to do with. The excess of shopping fascinates me; we acquire and then we acquire more. It is not as if any item of clothing 'wears out', instead we replace it or donate it and 'get something new' to feed this insatiable appetite.

I am right there with the best of them.

I have a complex relationship with shopping, one which I have written about before. Even as a child I loved it and see now in my children, the love of purchasing; not going home empty-handed. If I had subconsciously tried to dissuade them from having the same shopping impulses as me, I failed.

I look back at my childhood, which was spent shuttling between divorced parents and see that shopping undoubtedly represented a release, a treat, a thing associated with pleasure.

But shopping = spending and so is inextricably linked to how much money you have, or I suppose how much money you want to spend. As time has marched on and my socio-economic status has gone up from that of a beleaguered student to that of a fully fledged member of a wage-earning society, the spend has increased. Although there is still a ceiling, a point at which I think something costs too much for me to afford it. This becomes an increasingly abstract point as the expenditure of a family holiday or school fees or a new car skew the balance.

So how much do you shop? And what for? The essential or the luxury? And how much does your shopping habit get influenced by others? How affected are you by Pinterest or magazine articles?

My wardrobe quakes with replicated contents. I noticed a few years ago that I started buying the same thing over and over again; grey jumpers, the 'perfect' jean, Chelsea boots in varying colours. But ostensibly all the same. I tried to kerb this habit or at least shop much, much less for much, much more desirable items. Cashmere instead of lambswool. Leather instead of plastic etc.

Now I no longer earn money, my habits have changed again. I get the guilts in the knowledge that a pay-check will not come at the end of the month and wipe the slate clean. I return things that are not essential. I constantly monitor whether something has been sufficiently worn. I toy with selling on e-bay. I make platitudes to myself that maybe my daughter will be happy to inherit the more outlandish items that have caught my eye; the dresses that I have no where to wear but with which I can't part.

Shopping, to me, is the pursuit of style. Much is written about style and why we aspire to it. How some just have it, whereas others don't. Shopping is the acquisition of items that enable style to happen. An external human expression. The endless possibilities of a 'good outfit day'. I do watch those who don't partake in this constant pursuit. I have the desire to wear sweatpants every day vs getting properly dressed. I secretly long to do the school run in my pyjamas and Uggs, without being ironic. But I don't. I show up dressed in varying degrees of the formulaic Mummy uniform and I go about my day...wondering what to shop for next. First World problems...

image via crush cul de sac


  1. I have curbed my shopping habit over the past few years. Now I am no longer "employed" but working for myself, the funds are not so readily available, so my impulse buys have definately decreased. Yes I still seek the perfect pair of jeans, v neck cashmere jumpers. Oh and this winter I searched online for a gorgeous cashmere poncho, but never actually allowed myself to press the add to cart button! Actually, these days I find it hard to pass shops selling vintage interiors or brocante, then I justify it by telling myself it will look good in product photo shoots!!

    1. If you are looking for the perfect cashmere poncho - go here: - you may have already - Catherine's ones are flawless. I got one for Christmas - best thing ever xxx

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  2. Shopping is an addiction I clearly suffer from. Seriously.

  3. I'm a slave to internet shopping... An addiction that has really taken hold, now that I'm chained to the armchair, nursing. Endless minutes... No make that hours, spent trawling websites for a new wardrobe to clothe the soft version of me that has occurred, as a result of pregnancy. The husband rolls his eyes at me, as I quickly drop the iPad when he enters the room...

  4. Blogging is the new poetry. I find it wonderful and amazing in many ways.