Like water and oil, minimalism is the antecedent to shopping. When the impulsive desire to consume arises, it can be hard to resist the addictive shopping high – though fleeting. If you find yourself constantly wanting to consume the most for less, ask yourself the following questions to redefine your needs.
My go-to when I was bored or needed a pick-me-up was to hit up Forever21 and spend up to $50 just to feel excitement or relief.
Over time, I have leveraged the following questions to keep me from stepping into a fast-fashion store:
- Why do I want to go shopping? Is it boredom, anxiety, or necessity?
- If needed, do I have an article of clothing at home that I can wear instead?
- Can/will I wear this item long-term or will it only last a season?
Analyzing your feelings will separate emotion from rationality. It takes practice but if you snap a rubber band on your wrist every time the impulse kicks in, the reflection will eventually become second nature.
Discern the Timeline
Let’s say that you do need a product. Similar to the previous advice above, look at your timeline. Can you save to buy a sustainable alternative instead, or do you need this item now?
I guarantee that buying better quality products will make you feel much better than buying something that breaks on your way out to dinner. It’s not as fun to wait, but you will find that piece to be more rewarding as it never lets you down.
I have witnessed and been a victim of fast fashion fails. It is no fun to have your necklace snap in the middle of dinner or your heels break off when walking to work from the parking lot. Worst of all, it’s embarrassing when it happens in public! Save yourself the heartache and try to plan ahead so you can save for better-quality products.
Is There a Second-Hand Option?
Not only do you save money exponentially from buying items second-hand, but you activate a resourceful skill. Whether you are negotiating a new dresser from FB marketplace, grabbing a blouse out of your mom’s closet, or buying a pair of pants off of Poshmark, you are being sustainable by finding ways to reuse and restore already-made garments.
Additionally, instead of putting money into the pockets of exploitative companies like FashionNova, you are activating the rational part of your brain that helps you reel in impulsivity.
And yes, I do wear some fast fashion pieces still; however, it is 90% preowned. However, one of my deal breakers is buying footwear second-hand because I find that they are on their last leg when I find them at a thrift store.
To sustain mental health, finding balance in what we invest/support can be a positive habit. For example, I have bought $120 sustainable and ethical shoes, thrifted a pair of high-brand boots for $7, and purchased two new pairs of sandals from Aldo for $200. The point is that it’s all about doing our best with what we have – no shaming for lacking resources!