What Suits Me?

Posted by Jill Chivers in My Story

Hello from a very soggy Sunshine Coast!  We’re up to blog #95.  Today I was talking to a woman about the challenge.  It comes up in conversation, you know?  Especially as now I have only 9 days to go until I’m finished.  This woman, Fran, was saying that she doesn’t enjoy shopping.  I’ve discovered what a total myth it is that all women love shopping… a good proportion don’t.  Some are downright shopaphobic – loathing the entire experience from beginning to end.

Others are like Fran today – shopping ranks above driving knitting needles into her arms but below having a cocktail with George Clooney.  Your garden variety detestation.

I asked Fran why she doesn’t like shopping and she said: “I don’t know what suits me – it’s a complete fluke if I bring home anything that looks good on me”.  How fascinating is that?  And how utterly frustrating for Fran.  And how completely avoidable.  There is an solution to her problem.  But before we get to that, let me do a quick summary of what I’ve been discovering over the last year about over- and compulsive shopping.

A lot of writing on overshopping is focused on two areas – the emotional underpinnings of unconscious consumption and the financial aspects of shopping. It seems to be assumed that if one addresses both those issues (which are their own Kilamanjaros, let’s face it), that one’s shopping dragons will be slain.

Understanding the emotional and financial facets of shopping are two important pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, sure. They’re just not the entire puzzle. 

Working out why you shop and what emotional black holes your shopping is slipping into is good to know.  A worthy piece of self-work that will help redirect misdirected emotions and bring you greater internal peace and self understanding.  Two thumbs up for tackling that challenge.  I’m all for it – and in fact Months 4 and 8 of our 12 month Shop Your Wardrobe program are focused on this exact exploration.

Working on understanding your relationship to money and having a more enlightened one is also a laudable use of your time and energies.  You’ll not only feel better about yourself (eventually, after all the hard crappy work of knowing what you spend is done) but you’ll have a heavier wallet and an improved credit rating to go along with it.  Many of us have a fantastical relationship to money (our heads are in the clouds but our feet are not on the ground), so it certainly is a Good Thing to have the clouds part and to see clearly when it comes to the mighty dollar.  Month 7 of our Shop Your Wardrobe program is devoted to money.  So, more hats off for working on your wealth.

But neither of those two things will address the problem of not knowing what works for you.  Of not knowing what clothing items to avoid, and which to gravitate to, when you’re faced with all that choice in a store.

Having your head on straight, your emotions in check and your wallet in the right gear is a great foundation to go shopping with.  It just won’t help you decide what items of clothing suit your body shape and proportions, your individual colouring, your personality and your lifestyle.  It won’t help you identify the items that not only work for you, but play nicely with all the other things already living in your wardrobe.  It won’t help you mix’n’match like a professional, tapping into the hidden magic lurking in many women’s closets.

You need to know the items to buy so that you are creating a truly working wardrobe. Every item you bring home needs to work well with everything else.   

When you have a working wardrobe, you get three major benefits:

  1. Confidence: you know that, whatever you put on, you’ll look your best and feel fantastic.
  2. Choice: you never open your wardrobe and say “look at all these clothes, but I have nothing to wear!”
  3. Chic: every outfit you create makes you feel attractive and stylish in your own terms.

That’s pretty cool, right?

So there’s at least a third piece of the puzzle when re-establishing a healthy relationship to shopping, whether its over- or compulsive spending, or shopping avoidance.  And that piece is knowing what suits you – using the building blocks to create a truly working wardrobe.

Having a truly working wardrobe, not one that just works union hours, is key.  It’s more than key, it’s a bunch of keys.

A truly working wardrobe has many elements to it, and we’ve discussed all of them here in this a’here’blog thingy!  Blog #92 — just the other day — reviewed the building blocks of a working wardrobe, and discussed the final element (Shape and Style) to creating yours.

So, sure, get your emotional, psychological and financial houses in order.  That’s all good.  Just remember that to have a truly healthy relationship to shopping, you need to make the mall your servant, not your master.  Instead of being overwhelmed, overstimulated and simply over it when you go shopping, you’re focused, in control and confident (I think I heard Cesar Milan use those very words when he talked about your relationship to your canine companion).  

And knowing what suits you and using the building blocks to create a truly working wardrobe is an important part of making that happen.  Right?

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