Confessions of a Style Coach - Pt.1
I am a shopaholic. My problem is that I love to find unique things, and they can be a welcome distraction. In recent months I have been really evaluating 'at what cost?' my shopping habits bring. This topic has many facets, more of which I will be discussing in future posts.
As of mid February this year, I finally vowed (on Facebook of course) to stop shopping for the year 2017. This includes clothing, jewelry and shoes. Being aware of changing my habits around shopping and making them less impulsive has been top of mind. In recent years I have dramatically cut back on my shopping, and having a shopping freeze is something I have been contemplating for some time now. So, making a dramatic change was inevitable. After watching yet another inspiring video on the subject (there are several) I took the jump and made the commitment.
There are several factors that have built up over time that contribute to my shopping addiction. I would like to touch upon the fashion industry and look at how it plays a part in my existing habits. It is a massive disruption in our daily lives, especially with the messages we are bombarded with in the media. Firstly, the word fashion has been devoured by this industry and taken away from it's original intent. To fashion encompasses so much more than what the industry portrays, and it's very much a means of personal expression. I believe that is partly what attracted me to the industry in the first place, it is full of creativity and expression.
I was aware at a very young age the influence and power the fashion industry has over people, especially young females. While I wasn't able to put it into words at such a young age, I am now. And while it has taken me several years of wading through the shit, self doubt and judgements, I have come out the other end stronger because of it. Don't get me wrong, I still have plenty of self doubts, instinctive judgements I need to put aside regularly, and there's still tonnes of shit that comes up daily. I know there are many others out there like me, and I look forward to collaborating and creating something new and unheard of. There are many people already making an astounding difference, I am inspired by them regularly.
Then there is the term 'fashionista'.. While some people have called me that in the past, I often don't feel like I quite live up to that title. Perhaps it is just my adversity to titles, and perhaps it is just my perspective. In the sense of 'to fashion' I very much am a fashionista, so... I guess it really just depends on your personal definition and relationship to 'fashion'. Having worked in fashion for many years, perhaps it is a default assumption of mine that to be a fashionista means you are always on trend and wearing the latest and greatest. I don't follow trends, while many assume I do. Like most people, I value practicality above all else, and comfort is always key. I have had several people tell me I 'should' 'keep up' with trends based on my profession, no thanx! While I devoured Jeanne Beker's Fashion TV growing up, I simply don't find my inspiration in what other people are already doing. Instead, I draw inspiration from the unusual, my own unique way of being, and what I choose to express in the world. I prefer my own style over fashion in general, and I encourage you to do the same. You have the capacity of discovery and play to find it, all you need it to take some inspired action. The coach in me asks 'If there were no limitations, what would you do...?'. Dare to dream, you never know where it may lead you.
This series will start to unfold the multiple layers that attribute to the why behind my addiction, I hope this intro, if nothing else, has provided a fresh perspective for you to ponder. As I continue my year of no shopping, I aim to share with you the useful solutions I find, as well as how I am personally building new habits. These new habits will support my desired way of being, ones that I consciously choose. I write this as I will need a constant reminder to NOT buy anything, especially given our consumer driven society. There is no doubt that since I help others shop for a living that I will be tempted over and over again and again by the shiny and new.
PRO TIP: When you find yourself unexpectedly coveting an item, take a picture instead. If you actually look back at the photo because you can't stop thinking about it, and can see yourself getting good use out of it without any regrets, consider going back to buy it. If it's worth the time and effort, you have your answer. When I do this, nearly 100% of what I covet in the moment loses it's shine and even becomes unappealing. It dissipates the thrill of the moment, and puts a broader, possibly more rounded, perspective in place. It has been a very effective trick for me.
Please share your tips in the comments below, I know you have some.