why we keep shopping when we have enough clothes

ethical shopping

Most of us have enough clothes. Most of us have more than enough clothes. Many of us actually have too many clothes for our closets. 

Yet we still flock to stores weekend after weekend to purchase new items for ourselves. 

So why do we keep shopping? 

Everyone is different, but these are some common reasons I've found myself and others doing unnecessary shopping... and some healthy alternatives to put into practice as we shift our habits.


1. We shop for the social interaction. 

There's nothing that says "girl's day" more than shopping together, right? Even if we're shopping alone, there's a certain energy from being in a bustling store with lots of other people around. True story: When I was a newlywed and my husband worked nights, sometimes I would go shopping just to be somewhere with other humans around while he was gone. 

Alternative: Instead of randomly going to the store for a girl's day, plan a brunch or craft time with your besties. If you're really itching for a change in your closet, you can even host a clothing swap with your gal pals! If you're lonely, go to a coffee shop to be around other people and read a good book. Even better, call up an old friend and chat on the phone even if you can't see them face to face! 


2. We shop to boost our mood.

Did you have a bad day? Getting over a breakup? Recovering from an unfortunate haircut? Retail therapy will lift your spirits...right? Well maybe temporarily, but the idea of "retail therapy" being the cure for a bad mood has resulted in a lot of wasted money and outfits that we wear once or twice before getting sick of them. 

Alternative: Instead of turning to a new outfit to lift your mood, identify the reason you're actually upset and address that. Shopping can become an unhealthy distraction from dealing with real life! If you're stressed, try going for a run or doing something else that gets your heart pumping. Sit down and make a list of things you're grateful for. Grab a drink with an encouraging friend. Make a playlist of your favorite tunes and take a long bubble bath. The list can go on and on, there are a million ways to brighten your day without swiping your credit card.


3. We shop to Alleviate boredom.

When you're feeling a little bit "blah" with your look, a new outfit is the only way to fix it...right? When you open your closet and nothing looks exciting to wear, it's so easy to immediately start shopping online or rush to the mall. There's no denying that new clothes will add some new pizazz to your wardrobe, but that's not the only way to get out of a style rut. 

Alternative: Instead of shopping for a new look, take some time to really assess the clothes you already have. Reorganize your closet and you may find something that you totally forgot you had! Challenge yourself to put together a new outfit combination with pieces you already have, add some accessories to the mix. Sometimes you'll find that it's not even your clothes you're bored with, but maybe it's time to switch up your hair or makeup! 


4. We shop to address our insecurities. 

This one is tricky to address, because I 100% believe that wearing the right clothes for one's body, lifestyle, etc. is a very real way to boost our confidence. However, there's a big difference between taking the time to intentionally select clothes that we feel good in versus impulsively buying something new because we're feeling insecure. It's so easy to allow advertising to prey on a moment of low self-esteem and think that we'll feel as happy as a model looks if we buy what's being sold. 

Alternative: Instead of looking to an outfit to make you feel better about yourself, stop to reflect on what's really bothering you. For example, I used to shop all the time when I was feeling insecure about a breakout. New clothes really had no effect on my skin, but they made me feel better about myself for a moment without having to think about the pimple that was "ruining my life." Do your best to make healthy decisions for areas you can control, eat some veggies, get some sleep and exercise. The things you can't control about yourself? Learn to love and embrace them as the unique attributes that they are. 


5. We shop because of sales.

I've wasted so much money while I was "saving money" buying clothes on sale. I honestly think that clearance racks are the biggest enemy of an intentional closet. There's a false sense of urgency created by discounted prices which leads us to make fast decisions about purchases. This rushed way of shopping often results in purchases of items that we don't even love but justify buying because of the "amazing deal." 

Alternative: Keep a running list of items that are going to need to be replaced in your closet soon due to wear. If you see a sale for an item on your list, hooray- go get it! However, refrain from buying anything on sale that you haven't previously even considered wanting. You can justify anything to yourself in the face of a 50% off sticker, but if you didn't already notice a need for the item, chances are you won't wear it as much as your telling yourself you will.


Don't get me wrong, I love shopping as much as the next gal. It is so much fun to hunt for the perfect piece when I truly need to add something new to my wardrobe, but I've cut down on so much unnecessary spending and waste by not turning to shopping as a bandaid for areas of life that I could address in a healthier way.