When I was in college, I loved fashion and street style blogs. From Rumi of Fashion Toast to Aimee of Song of Style, I followed them all. I read these blogs for inspiration but with it grew an expensive desire: a yearning to one day own as many fashionable goods as the bloggers I idolized. During this period in my life, having luxury designer items was a necessity that indicated when a person had made it. If I had similar items as the bloggers I followed, it boosted my ego while mistakenly inflating my self-confidence. My obsession with fashion quickly flourished into an expensive addiction. The more I had, the more important these material goods became in my life and the more I needed in order to feel good about myself. It was endless cycle of thoughtless consumption to chase the high of self-worth.
Aside from designer labels, my devotion to shopping manifested in buying lots of cheap and poorly constructed clothing, accessories, and shoes. Because I wasn’t able to buy that Chanel bag that cost more than my parents’ mortgage, I was determined to surround myself with an inordinate amount of stuff. It didn’t matter if I would wear it once or never at all. All that mattered was that if it piqued my interest, I bought it and put it into my closet, my shrine to materialism. I rarely cared about quality. So long as I looked and felt good, that was all that mattered.
I am ashamed to admit how much shopping I did in college and law school. Sometimes it was an outlet for the stress but most of the time it was driven by my unhealthy addiction to buying and collecting items I did not need or even want. I admit that at some point, I drifted from wearing things that fit my style or made me an individual and thoughtlessly bought anything just to fit in and follow a trend. It was easy to follow the crowd and get lost.
Although I’ve gotten much better at controlling my spending and checking myself when I want to shop–this usually happens when I am stressed or have hung out with girlfriends and admire something they have (this is another topic on its own!)–I still get the urge and doubt that it’ll ever really go away. Due to this revelation, the only thing I can truly do is make sure that my wallet and morals are aligned in order to shop guilt-free and stay true to myself.
I haven’t bought clothing in a few months minus a white dress I needed for family pictures due to an imposed dress code. I’m learning to shop my closet and appreciate the items I already have. I have also decluttered my closet with the goal of minimizing and getting rid of distractions and superfluous items. Additionally, I have vowed to shop ethically (see previous post) and purposefully in order to reduce wasteful spending and limit the amount of items that I bring into my personal space. It has allowed me to embrace my personal style and avoid trends that lead to wasteful purchasing and spending.
Although I recognize that there has been a difference in my consumerism, this transformation has not been perfect or easy. It is definitely a learning process that does not happen overnight. I constantly find myself lusting after booties (I’m obsessed with them) and finding the perfect pair of denim jeans. I even struggle with the urge I get to shop at fast fashion retailers because they make it so convenient and cheap. In these moments of weakness, I allow myself to acknowledge that it is natural to stray. However, I remind myself that it is more important to stay true to my personal commitment.
So I will continue to work my shopping habits… Because after all, how would I reach FI if were to blow all my money on unnecessary clothing?