Closet overflowing? Get yourself a hug hunnie

It seems that there are some analytical people out there who can’t quite get their head around fashion and why there’s such a fuss around it so they insist on doing studies and surveys to dissect shopping habits. Like one done recently by a discount shopping website which claims that “three-quarters of British women buy clothes just for the thrill of it.”

The study also suggests that we women shop as some sort of substitute for love and affection. According to the website’s findings, 16% of women “often” buy clothes just for the fun of it, and 56% admit to “occasionally” splurging on new outfits simply because it makes them feel better. And it’s apparently the purchase, not the wearing of the clothes, hat is important as more than 40% of women admitted to owning up to five items of clothing that they hadn’t even removed the labels from.

Well I must say I’m shocked. Though I can understand the “retail therapy” notion, the fact that these women aren’t actually wearing what they buy is disturbing. Surely that defeats the whole point? What have you gained if you aren’t wearing what you bought in an effort to lift your mood?
I console myself with the fact that this study is based on a tiny number of women and that the rest of us haven’t been accounted for.

When I buy clothes it’s a whole different story. I don’t run into the shop like a desperate unloved heroin addict looking for her next fix, but rather, I go hunting. Like a lioness I enter tentatively so as not to disturb my prey; the racks of clothes, which drape innocently from their hangers, unaware that I’m on their trail. Then I begin to stalk my victims. This has to be done quickly but stealthily as one does not want to rouse the attentions of a shrill shopkeeper who may at any moment notice an intruder and rush toward one excitedly- giving the game away completely. I reach my destination and then in one economical and deft movement, I pounce. Bam! Grabbed a skirt I like. Bam! Spotted a chiffon shirt I need. And wamdazzle I’m in the changing room: yes, no, oh HELLS no, too lumpy, too loose, too fabulous. Kaching! Plastic bag, quick “thank you” and Willowtree has left the building folks.

And how do I feel after a kill, ah I mean shop? I feel great. I know that what I’ve bought suits me, is right for the current climate and most importantly, will be worn. Of course I have bought things which were a mistake (as I write this I’m picturing a certain purple T-shirt with a printed badge on the front that said: ‘A sister of darkness.’ Cringe.) But then we all have made this mistake and it’s what I like to think of more as a lesson to learn from than a fashion-failure. So those white jeans with the torn shredded bits on the front seemed like a cool idea in the store but turned into a Michael Jackson Thriller outfit the moment you wore them, well now you know. And you have something to pass on to a moody thirteen year-old cousin.

Now I am aware that many women do buy clothes on a whim and then later experience ‘buyers regret’ as my own mother sometimes does, to the point of waking up in the middle of the night with an “Oh what have I done?! Better take that lousy, underpaid job I was offered otherwise we‘ll be living on baked beans for the rest of the year” sort of feeling. But I don’t agree with the psychologist in this study, Dr. Penny Goldsbrough who said: “Buying clothes is just a substitute for wanting a hug. Many women fear intimacy and buying a new dress is a way of making themselves feel great …” So what are you telling me? That because I like shopping I’m a sad, lonely case in need of a flippen hug? I’m sorry but no amount of physical affection can dampen my desire for a new pair of ankle boots. Unless it’s coming from Andrew Garfield, but he’s an exception for whom I’d eat an avocado for. With Tabasco sauce.

Dr. Goldsbrough then went on to say: “…Men on the other hand have much less interest in clothes, or even hugs come to that. They would definitely prefer no hugs, an old pair of jeans – but a new Lamborghini.” Barshucks as my grandmother would say. Of course men like physical affection and of course women like fast cars. How else do you explain mommy’s boys and Mini Coopers?

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