In praise of shopping therapy

Rob Phillips' illustration in the window of Jigsaw, Argyll Street

Rob Phillips' illustration in the window of Jigsaw, Argyll StreetThe first step is admitting you have a problem, so here goes… my shopping habit is getting out of control.

This year, a combination of body image blues and being on far too many retailers’ mailing lists has meant that my wardrobe has received much more of a ‘refresh’ than it perhaps needed. It started with the January sales – as always, because I tell myself I’m spending Xmas/birthday money – and it somehow kept on going. Just one more dress, one more top, perhaps that skirt which will go with so many things I already own, and of course I’ve got to have that scarf with my friend’s illustration on it.

In some ways, this has been very good for me indeed. Having new clothes – or, at least, new to me – which fit well and make me smile has been an amazing mood boost each time. In addition to visiting well-known UK chains, department stores and online retailers, I’ve also supported independent designers, small ethical businesses, vintage sellers, charity shops and people selling handmade/vintage items on eBay and Etsy. I’ve given and received so many compliments, introduced people to indie brands they’d not heard of before and have cheered up many dull commutes by simply staring at my own shoes.

However, this cannot continue. I have to make a change. Because new year’s resolutions which begin in January are always doomed to fail, I’m currently considering starting the next academic year with a vow to spend a year not buying any clothing. Or perhaps nothing new, with a limit of one second-hand item a month if it’s something I really need. If I figure out my rules in advance, it could be an interesting blog challenge and I could even try some of the alterations I’ve been thinking about doing for a while, on clothes which no longer fit.

For now I think I’ll simply be kind to myself and appreciate that, in this doom laden post-Brexit mess of a country, a bit of cheering up is no bad thing. Even though my mood-boosting purchases are not quite as small as Laura Craik’s!