I'm excluding clothes from the conversation just because...well, because. Okay, that's probably an indication that I should think about it a little bit.
On the one hand, I recognize that on some level my acquisition of shoes (and clothing, I suppose) is somewhat excessive. I justify purchases to myself with thoughts like, "This is cheap!" or "This is a basic item. I'll need to get it eventually." Rarely am I thinking of how something would look with another item I own - I don't really shop to put together outfits.
If I could break down the thought process behind my accumulation of clothes and shoes, I imagine I'd find some very useful information. What would be terrifying is if I didn't find anything at all. That, I think, would be a shining beacon for a path to shopping/buying rehab. As it would happen, I think my hoarding can be explored.
What puzzles me is that I love every step of the shopping/buying process. Whether it's online or in-person, I thrive in the act of browsing - whether I'm looking for a specific item and adding my search constraints to an online engine or picking through a clearance rack in search of a good deal. The funny thing is, once I've picked out things I like, I put very little practical effort into deciding whether I should buy them. Trying things on takes about ten seconds per item. Sometimes twenty, if I decide I need a second look. It's the decision process that drags on for ages. Literally standing at the rack and asking myself, "Should I?" The whole process is something I could do for hours and emerge from the store with nothing. When I do buy something, though, I'm giddy as the price rings up and joyful when I thrust forth my shiny plastic card (a beautiful Amex Blue) and scrawl something resembling a signature on the crude touchscreen terminal.
And then I'm proudly toting my paper-or-plastic bag, emblazoned with the store's insignia, and ready to take public transit home to admire my new purchase in the fluorescent lighting of my apartment. Sometimes I end up not liking what I buy; sometimes I do. I'm not exactly sure what changes from the magical interior of the store to the very real interior of my home, but there's really no rhyme or reason to what I eventually decide to return. Often, I just don't like the way an item looks. But why didn't I figure that out while I was trying it on?
I think ultimately what drives it all is my desire to have choices. It's not uncommon for me to buy something, throw it into my closet, and forget about it for the next month. When I happen upon a satisfying purchase, I'm delighted! Occasionally I'll receive my credit card bill and curse my love of pretty things, and then occasionally I will reconsider the shoes bought recently but only worn once or twice without great love. Maybe I'll return them. They aren't exactly what I wanted...I was enthralled by how cheap they were and persuaded by the fact that they yeah, they look pretty good at that price. Maybe it's not something I need, but like I said, it does look pretty good...
So maybe that wasn't very productive. I think maybe, though, it boils down to having choices - but not just any choices. Subconsciously, I'm building a wardrobe that will never do me wrong - that I can purge of unflattering pieces and replace with things that are actually nice. As I write this, I am saying to myself, "Erica Ting, you are so full of shit."
Okay. So maybe I'm actually just groping around in the dark. I'll just end with a list of my favorite purchases:
- a pair of gold Tahari sandals (my very first gladiators!)
- a pair of b.o.c. wedge slides
- a pair of New Balance sneakers I got on clearance!
- a white scarf from New York & Company
- two plain solid-color V-neck T-shirts from NY&Co
- one white and one black cardigan, Nordstrom Rack
- a black wallet from the Coach factory outlet store
- a pair of dark-wash Bayla skinny jeans from Aeropostale
- a brown leather belt from Aeropostale
- a hot pink (they called it "coral") sheath dress from NY&Co
- a pair of DKNY jeans from Macy's (clearance!)
I do love things on sale. I do. Actually, I now notice that everything on the list was on sale, with the except of the b.o.c. wedges, and god love DSW, but those things were never going to go on sale. I think I got them from Famous Footwear, actually.
Maybe I should consider throwing out everything but these favorites. Maybe it'll give me a better conception of what to buy. But then I'd need to replenish the wardrobe. Haha, I'll have to think about it.