Why do we buy things we simply don’t need? Is it temptation? Greed? A consequence of clever marketing? Or are we confusing our needs with our wants? Whatever it is, many of us know reckless buying all too well, especially when we have a gathering coming up and ‘no clothes’.
Having worked in retail for multiple years myself, you wouldn’t believe the number of people I’ve noticed buying just for the sake of it.
I once had a customer who came in with a dress she had just bought for a wedding, looking for some shoes to match. She asked for advice on what would work best and settled on a pair no less than $150. Fed up with shopping all day, she said: ‘If we could feel as good as the first time we wear something, we wouldn’t be spending this much!’
This comment got me thinking: Why don’t we feel as good wearing the same thing the second time around?
Is it retail marketing?
Let’s be honest with ourselves: we’ve all fallen for a bargain we really didn’t need!
Retail trends come and go so fast. Sometimes by the time you wear the item you bought the previous week, the style has already been sent to the outlet store or marked down on ‘clearance’. We all know what that means…
This can make us feel like we need to buy the new trend, thus the buying cycle continues.
On the flip side, what if the ‘immediate trends’ don’t appeal to you as much? If you’re trying to spend less, the clearance items might be just what you’re after. Even still, the buying factor still applies, and that opens up a whole new story about compulsive spending.
At the end of the day, we can blame the retail marketing world’s ‘two for the price of one’ type strategies all we want, but it’s us making those impulsive buys. Which leads me to my next point:
It’s a fact we feel more happy and confident in ourselves when wearing something new. So it’s no surprise the confidence we feel when wearing a brand-new item outweighs wearing something that’s two years old.
What about social media?
Whether it’s for a birthday or for the races, our online culture (consciously or not) has taught us that getting caught in a photo at a different event with the same outfit can be embarrassing.
It sounds silly and superficial to care that much about what people think online. Yet whether you’re a millennial or not, it’s an actual serious thought that crosses the minds of a lot of people, and is a large reason for why our spending goes up when a new event arises.
So, how do we stop it?
It’s all about our mindsets!
I’m pretty sure your boyfriend wouldn’t know the difference between a Louis Vuitton and Collette bag, nor would he know if you bought that dress for $50 at Glassons or for $300 at Kookai.
As for that cheap last season sass & bide dress you found at a market stall, well, in your mind, it’s current appeal doesn’t come close to that dress you wanted from this season’s stock. Which makes you want to blow unnecessary money for that upcoming party, right?
Contrary to your inner monologue, most of the time no one really notices, and if they do, simply put: that isn’t your problem. If you like something, why not wear it again with confidence?
A lot of it comes down to being self-assured in yourself, and your own style. Current trends don’t always cater to everyone’s style, so instead of worrying about getting that ‘new’ outfit on the mannequin, think about how wearing clothes you’ve already bought can save you time, money, and look just as great as the first time you wore them!
To rest my case, I will leave you with this repeated look (left to right: 2011, 2014, and 2017) worn by Kate Middleton:
If a member of the British royal family can rock the same trend over several years (and in front of the whole world), why can’t you? It’s time to put away that trend-obsessed pride and save yourself some money in the process!