|Isla Fisher in Confessions of the Shopoholic|
Do you feel like you are addicted to J.Crew? It may not be something that would make you raid your children's college fund, but do you check the J.Crew website every day? Do you know the merchandise better than Sales Associates? Are you in the constant cycle of buy/regret/return? Do you shuffle money around to pay for your purchases? Are you hiding boxes? Do you downplay the number of pencil skirts you own? Are you always on the quest for this one last item before your wardrobe feels complete? Are you putting yourself on shopping bans? Do you plan your outfits obsessively? Do you stalk popbacks in the wee hours of the morning?
Did you answer yes to some of the questions? Half of the questions? All of them??
Welcome to the club. You are not alone. I can answer yes to most. I think the only thing listed that I never did was the early morning stalking of popbacks. Mostly because by the time something I've been coveting is sold out and only showing up occasionally at 5 AM, I have already bought it.
I consider myself a reasonable and rational person. I never had any major debt, except mortgage. I make fun of commercials and I never go shopping on Black Friday. Why would I be a crewlade drinker?
Everybody has different triggers.
One is being bored or unfulfilled. Of course, I have a husband and two kids, a house to take care of and a demanding job. But I feel like there is this creative part of me that is not fully utilized. Planning the perfect wardrobe and putting together outfits gives me an opportunity to explore my creative side.
I am obsessive/compulsive, perfectionist, a-type personality. I tend to over-research and overdo whatever I am getting myself into. So of course I would tend to overdo perfecting my wardrobe as well. And I am very good at shopping.
Last, but not the least, there is a midlife crisis. This feeling that those are my last years to feel attractive. I feel like I missed out in my twenties or thirties because I was focused on other things. And now that I can afford to buy I have to hurry up, because soon I will be invisible anyway.
But why J. Crew?
I think J.Crew has tapped into certain overachieving sensibility very well. Mostly, well educated customers that like fashion but cannot afford designer duds. After all, they started with college campus prepsters. J.Crew is selling them a dream of lifestyle. Dropping names (from the famous mill), suggesting exclusivity (only few copies were made), appeal to compulsive and competetive nature and justifying it as something cool (we are obsessed).
I also think many J.Crew customers care about their looks but don't want to look like they try to hard. They are, in many cases, tomboys turned fashionistas or suddenly popular self described geeks. J.Crew appeals to us by waving 'classic with the twist' or 'boy meets girl' flag. These customers don't want to shop everywhere. They want to be done with shopping in one shot. They have already researched everything. And they are pretty faithful. They are the 'sturdy gals', at heart.
Then, there are sales. J.Crew plays with our desire to get high fashion for less. To outsmart the system. When you get few things at rock bottom prices you are more willing to pay full price for the other ones because:
- You feel you already saved some dough (since you forgot already that the sale price was the only price you were willing to pay, not so long ago)
- You already got over the shock of higher prices and they seem more of a norm now.
Also, only handful of other stores I know (I am thinking Anthropologie and Boden in UK), can boast a comparable online community to compare notes, share your scores and lust after items others have purchased. How many of your friends get the excitement of scoring the coveted pencil skirt? Sometimes, I catch myself talking to a friend and thinking I have something very exciting to share, only to realize that what makes me so giddy is my recent sale score. Even if we could afford Neiman Marcus, who will be there for us to validate it and cheer us on? Who wants to go solo to a fantastic location?
I have been shopping less recently, but I am still not where I want to be. I hardly bought anything in couple of months, but in the last few days and placed couple of orders with J.Crew and one with Brora. I will most likely return majority of it (I am a serial returner), leaving only the leopard Valentinas and Brora cashmere sweater. They were in my budget and on my shopping list. OK, not the Brora sweater but I do not have any red cashmere v-necks, and it is a classic and great quality and it dropped to the J.Crew price (OK, J.Crew full price that I never pay)... See, this is how my mind works, always rationalizing....
Unfortunately, I do not have any 12 step program to recommend. I can analyze my behavior, we all can, but that doesn't necessarily make us any better at dealing with it. Project 333 and having this blog was something that helped me a lot. Not because they include some kind of magic pill, but mostly because they provided me with alternative obsession. And I am a single-tasker.
I wouldn't wanna have it any other way...
I don't want to deny myself something that makes me happy. I agree with the general premise of wonderful book 'The Thoughtful Dresser', making the case that the need to look pretty is a primal human need, existing in any culture known to man (or woman!). I have reconciled myself with the fact that it also cost money and takes time.
There was a time when I was obsessed with gardening. I would import exotic plants from overseas and tend to them 24/7 since they did not want to grow in New Jersey. I have since switched to pleasant looking low maintenance landscaping. I had a period in my life that I was all about home decorating. I still care how my house looks (read about it HERE), but I feel like I am 'done' with it, for most part. I don't obsess any more.
This is the place where I want to be. I am just trying to find the right balance.
Nobody said it was easy...
What do you think? What are your triggers? Please ramble on...
Whether you never commented before, or comment frequently (thank you!!!), I love to hear from all of you.
I hope I did not offend anyone by my speculations
Do you have the Black Eyed Peas song stucked in your head now?
Do you have the Black Eyed Peas song stucked in your head now?