If you saw my most recent texts with my mom, you would think I was going through some sort of major life crisis, making some huge decision that was going to impact me forever. But no. I was simply contemplating the purchase of a single sweater at Zara. If you have also experienced a similar phenomenon, you, like me, might be suffering from the effects of being an emotional shopper.

Since the first day I stepped into a department store, I have always viewed shopping as much more than just a process to purchase items for practical use. Going into a store is a full body and mind experience for me. From admiring the glistening mannequins, to taking in the smells of Italian leather and fancy perfume, to touching every texture of furry coat, cashmere sweater, and silky top, to imagining a perfect outfit for each piece, I sometimes feel as if I’m transported into a dreamland. Ok, some of you may be thinking I’m crazy, but I know many of you are imagining these same feelings as you read this. All my fellow shopaholics understand that this exhilarating experience can be quite dangerous at the same time.

The danger hits for me when I step into the dressing room. We all know the feeling of trying on that perfect item. You think to yourself, “I can’t live without this.” Usually, I would always purchase this piece, but lately I am realizing this habit of easily falling in love with clothing can get quite expensive. With new trends emerging everyday due to the rise of fast fashion, and stores like Zara making it so easy for us to always be in style, we (including myself) need to start becoming smarter shoppers. I am finally starting to realize that finding clothes I’m obsessed with is becoming WAY too common. Almost every day, I send a pic to my best friends of an item that I “absolutely need” to complete my wardrobe. The other day, my mom gave me some shopping advice that stuck with me. After texting her a photo of yet another pink Zara coat that I thought was crucial to my closet, she told me that yes, the coat was fabulous, but that I needed to wait on it because by the next day I would have moved on to yet another item. She reiterated to me that, similar to boys, there are so many fish in the sea when it comes to pink furry coats. There will always be a new trend, a new piece, a new purchase out there. We need to start being harsher with ourselves with that question of “do I really need this?”

As I begin to grasp the concept of managing my money more and more, I understand that there is no room in my weekly budget for this shopping addiction. As hard as it may be, I have to learn to say no to those “perfect” pieces, and realize that a part of the draw to these items is the atmosphere of the fantasy store land. There are so many times where the lights of the dressing room make me fall in love with a top, leading me to imagine the many occasions (and Instagrams) I can wear it for. But then, a few weeks later, there it is, still sitting with the tags on, in the back of my closet. If I added up the price of all the wasted clothing I bought…I don’t even want to think about that number.

I am not trying to tell you to stop shopping, because we all know that is an unrealistic request for most of us. If there is an item you know you can’t live without, buy it. After I passed on that pink Zara coat the first time I saw it, I felt a void in my closet and my heart for days. So, I went back and got it. That purchase made me so happy because not only did I finally get the fur coat of my dreams, but I did it powerfully in that I actually thought about the true necessity of the item. Learning how to decipher between what we really need and what is simply for the satisfaction of the moment can help us to become more mindful shoppers.

COVER PHOTO: Who What Wear

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