I have a confession to make --I was once a fully-fledged shopaholic. I’m sure that I’m not the only one. For years, I had this habit of throwing caution to the wind, and on a mere whim, I would drop everything and shop without even thinking if I truly needed any of the stuff that I was buying! To be honest, this is not a good habit.
Through years and years of wanton shopping, I accumulated so many clothes, accessories, shoes, and jewelry until I finally realized that I wouldn’t be able to wear them all. At the same time, I noticed that I was wearing the same set of clothes repeatedly. I then concluded that I could get away using the same footwear, the same bag, and the same jewelry most of the time.
Another event that helped me change my shopaholic nature was a Japanese Tea Ceremony I once attended. Before the ceremony, I was struck by what the Japanese women, who led the tea ceremony, shared with us. She said that people in her country are taught to respect every single piece they own. I learned so much about how the Japanese view their worldly possessions and how this relates to life.
For example, it is part of their belief that a simple teacup has a spirit. On a philosophical and spiritual level, the view that the teacup is a product painstakingly made by someone else. Buying this teacup meant that a craftsman was able to feed his family. In this regard, this single teacup deserves respect and reverence.
This way of thinking stems from the modern cultural norm known as wanton consumerism. Living in a working middle-class segment of society defined with disposable income, I led myself to believe that buying something for myself would make me happier. Shopping was also tied to the belief that “I deserve this because I worked hard.” I decided to shift my mindset in terms of buying and shopping for clothes.
To date, I have made a drastic change in my shopping habits. Like so many shopaholics out there, I have to admit that I used to shop a LOT. In short, shopping became a form of self-gratification instead of a mindful practice. The things I bought would then accumulate and become nothing more than clutter. Most of the items I purchased, I didn’t even use at all.
Nowadays, I live in a coastal town where I work from home. The majority of my free time is spent at the beach. My outfit for these seaside excursions is a laid-back casual look, accentuated with simple flip-flops. Whenever I take a trip to my home city, though, a simple black top and pants would do. My sister even noticed that I wear the same look every time I go back for a visit.
I guess this is also the philosophy behind Spark Joy philosophy of Marie Kondo. Even before buying anything, we should ask ourselves, “Does this item give me joy? Adding my personal opinion, we should also ask ourselves pertinent questions such as:
- Who made these?
- In buying this item, am I also supporting those who took the time and effort to it?
- Will the money I spend become a means for uplifting others economically?
- Do I need this piece in my wardrobe?
- Does this item go with the other pieces I already have?
Another thing to keep in mind before hitting “add to cart” is practicality. Before committing to any new purchases, take a moment to consider the questions listed above. At the very least, this gives you a moment to pause. A simple adjustment such as this is a great way to keep your shopping habits in check.
It’s also a simple practice dedicated to mindfulness. Especially for shopaholics, it’s a way for you to become aware of what you already have. Each new purchase should be an item that goes together with the existing pieces inside your closet. The key to improving your wardrobe is being aware of how each item complements the other. Showing gratitude to your possessions raises the vibrations in all aspects of your life.
When you buy anything new to add to your wardrobe, make sure it goes with the rest of your closet. One of the best ways to improve your wardrobe is by choosing key accessories and jewelry pieces. For example, a simple black dress can be elevated when you pair it with the right scarf. Make versatility and creativity your ally by wearing a nice belt or a piece of jewelry.
In short, you create a timeless wardrobe by being fashionable, creative, and practical. The essence of an authentic, mindful wardrobe is developing good shopping habits and your imagination.