The Question That Saved Me

Posted by Jill Chivers in Attitudes and Habits, Fashion, Style and Shopping, Shopping Strategies, Shopping, Clothes and Emotions

I still shop, even though it looks and feels different to how I used to shop when I was a compulsive, and unconscious, overshopper.

Since re-entering the Land of the Shopping after my year without clothes shopping, I have been employing many smart shopping strategies for staying on the straight and narrow.  Why?  Because I seriously consider myself to be “in recovery” and am very alert, possibly even hyper-aware, of the environments I place myself in and how I’m feeling when I’m in a shopping situation.

One of my key learnings from my year without clothes shopping was that my love of clothing and style hasn’t lessened any.

However, I’m now much more aware of how I engage with it, and I’m more creative and resourceful in how I tap into my love of clothes and style.  You can be stylish without shopping.

I don’t go shopping with my brain in neutral – and if I do find myself spacing out and slipping into auto-pilot, I bring my awareness back to how I’m feeling and then I leave the shopping area.

As well as other strategies that I use (like the power pause – one of my favourites), today I’d like to share with you another powerful strategy to use when shopping, to keep shopping in its rightful place in your life, and to help you feel happy about the shopping you do before, during and after the shopping expedition.

I still enjoy shopping, but I just do it differently now

Recently I was in a shopping district which contained interesting and quite unique stores.  For someone who’s turned on by arresting, attractive and unusual visual design, it was a pleasure to luxuriate in all that was on show.

I found myself eyeing off these quite groovy lounge pants – they were a good fit, they were in a pattern that I love, the fabric was reasonable, the price was good, the style was good, I have plenty of occasions on which I would wear them – on paper they were a good buy for me.  They were ticking many boxes.  I was thinking they’d be a go once I got through the power pause.

As I was eating my lunch, this thought jumped into my head:  I feel heavy when I think about buying those pants.

The thought of adding that item of clothing to my wardrobe made me feel weighed down.  Burdened.  Encumbered.

How interesting is this? said I to myself. Not out loud, as there were other diners sitting quite close by and I didn’t want to alarm them.

What a fascinating discovery to have stumbled across.  I hadn’t ever tapped into this element of my feeling state before when it comes to clothes shopping.  Do I feel heavy or light when I think about owning this thing?  It was revolutionary!

So this is my shopping tip, for those of you who sometimes buy too much.  If you’ve ever brought home an item (or many items) and find that days (or even just hours) later, you wondered what on earth you were thinking (or inhaling) when you bought it, this stop-and-think strategy may help you, too.

Before you take the item to the cash register:

  • Engage the power pause – leave the item for at least 2 hours, if not 2 days, before deciding to buy it (we’ve covered this before, but it’s worth a quick recap so you know it’s part of the process).
  • Consider the item in question – yes, that thing you are holding in your hand right now.  Imagine that you own it.  Fastforward through the thrill of the kill (the actual purchasing of it), and imagine it hanging in your wardrobe.  Can you see it there?  Okay, good.  Now – how does it feel, having this item as part of your wardrobe?  At the very least, do you feel good/great about it?  Or has it somehow lost its lustre, now it’s actually yours?
  • If you’re familiar with your own feeling state and can tap into it in a few seconds, ask if you feel lighter or heavier with the thought of owning this item.  Does your wardrobe feel lighter or heavier?  Does your life feel lighter or heavier?

I was amazed at how helpful this question was. How liberating it was.  And how effective it was at giving me a green or a red light on whether to go ahead with the purchase.

Even though the item in question ticked all the boxes (and when you do the Shop Your Wardrobe program, we give you a 12-point criteria on which any new item you are considering buying should be checked against before you even consider walking to the cash register, or hitting the Buy Now button) — it failed on the “light/heavy” feeling test.

Give it a try – you may be amazed at what you discover.


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