Thursday, February 9, 2012

Retail Therapy

I used to scoff at the idea of retail therapy. I am not a shopaholic and wouldn’t qualify as anybody’s definition of a fashionista, no matter how loose the definition.

Yet if retail therapy was a religion, I have gradually moved from an agnostic to an attend-several-times-a-year believer. This unwelcome realization came today when I felt really low, frustrated and uninspired due to a couple of things not going as planned and one big dead end.

As I sat mulling over the turn of events, the happy music I had put on failing to do its work of cheering me up, one thought overrode the rest - ‘Go visit the mall’

On a good day, I would scoff at the idea. Today, I realized the potential of a mall visit as a pick-me-up and sometimes, even a source of much needed inspiration and wanted to share.

The nice thing about retail therapy is that the placebo effect works equally well. You don’t actually have to buy anything on your trip to make you all better and this is a particular plus for a student on a budget.

Of course, there is always the risk of coming away feeling low because you were unable to purchase an item you really set your heart on, or conversely, making an instantly-regretted-upon-reaching-home impulse purchase. With a little planning, this can be avoided or dealt with.

·         To avoid the allure of the treacherous bit of plastic called a credit card which allows you to spend money you do not have at present, you may want to leave that at home.
·         Decide if and how much you’re going to spend before leaving the house.
·         If possible, take only that amount with you to the mall
·         Take a long, hard look at your bank account balance against the things you have to stretch your money to cover to re-enforce your determination to not spend
·         Refrain from trying on tempting items you cannot put back on the rack if they fit

My three go-to kinds of shopping for retail therapy are window shopping shoe shopping, and underwear shopping.

Window Shopping
Window shopping is the best kind of retail therapy there is. It is a cost-effective way of boosting your mood, getting inspiration for future outfits/purchases and getting your daily walking miles in whilst at it. It can be done with any item, cars, perfume, clothes, shoes, underwear, etc.

One of the perks of window shopping for me is that I have visuals of what I am working towards when I get back and my books are proving stubborn. Since I am not actually buying, I do not shy away from the higher-end stores. Whist it may be considered vain, the thought of being able to buy the nice things I cannot afford at the moment has helped me power through many a difficult assignment. I guess it is comparable reasoning to going to the show-room and test-driving a luxury car you’re in no position to purchase at the moment.

Shoe Shopping
Nothing beats the rush of finding those pair of shoes that make you sigh in appreciation of the genius behind its design. Never mind that between the chiropractor bills its four-to-six inch heels will probably lead to in future, the six-to-ten times a year you’ll actually wear it and the ridiculous price tag, it makes no sense to buy those shoes. It makes you feel sophisticated, confident, sexy and invincible in a way that is surely worth every penny.

Besides, you reason, it’s the perfect confidence boost for that million dollar interview you have coming up sometime in the future and if your confidence gets you that job, it will more than have paid for itself, no? It’s okay if guys don’t get it. Their shoe designs aren’t as inspired anyways.

Underwear Shopping
In all honesty, I much prefer this to shoe shopping and have to exercise more restraint in this type of therapy. This is last only because it doesn’t make as much sense if you have zero to spend. It’s not an easy task finding that elusive bra that is a perfect combination of fun, flirty, pretty and functional. For someone who needs the functional part, this can be quite a challenge.

Each time I go underwear shopping, I have a suspicion confirmed; designers don’t bother being creative after a certain size because they reckon your boobs don’t need any help with presentation. Damn you, designers! Who says a girl cannot look nice underneath if no one’s going to see what she has on?

The frills are for me, my dear designers. If a shoe/dress can boost your confidence, a pretty bra can do so much more. Added is the I-know-something-you-don’t thrill. When the girls are happy and look good, one can wear sackcloth and still feel like a million bucks. This is true whether I am an AA or DDD cup. *side-eye at bra designers*

I found that I felt so much better after penning this article I didn’t have to go window shopping after all. Whilst retail therapy is a great form of therapy, I would make a poor salesman for the practice. I could say that it’s such an excellent form of therapy even writing about it works. We know better.

So if you’re like me about writing, write a light-hearted article about any topic that is or has been on your mind when you’re feeling down. It doesn’t even have to be related to whatever is causing your present turmoil. My next article should probably be ‘Writing Therapy’… Right now though, I need to make me a cup of tea and get on that assignment. 


  1. lucky girl!! window shopping does not work for me! it depresses me even further! if i'm verrrrry, broke i buy something decadent to eat. if i'm scraping it together I must BUY something! a killer pair or heels or generally adorable shoes are usually the very best at cheering me up! lingerie helps too
    hope u have more happy days than therapy needing ones darl xx

  2. Window shopping works for me and dancing to some good tunes also helps* who can stay down while dancing?*

  3. @ Abby: something decadent to eat works too. Amen to the last statement.
    @ Okeoghene: Dancing is also another good one.

  4. Egads, credit cards. They are the bane of my existence. I've never been one for retail therapy either. But that's probably because I have zero fashion sense.

  5. Retail theraphy only works when i go with friends (they serve as my "conscience") and writing about random things usually helps me too.

    Btw I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. See details on

  6. Oh, retail therapy. I'm trying to reduce that. chocolates seem to work too and thankfully, i don't keep the weight so yay me!

    Furst time here and following. Nice blog. Check mine out too

  7. I can't help remembering a movie scene where the main character put her credit card inside the freezer for her to avoid using it. I think the movie title is "The Devil Wears Prada".

  8. @ A beer for the shower: I tell you,, credit cards are evil! And don't worry about the fashion sense. I have very little.
    @ Cee: Friends can be wonderful checks on you. It could be that being with the friends was the 'real' therapy ;)
    @Toinlicious: I am so jealous! My scale responds if I have one snicker bar. Working on that. Good for you though! ps: nice blog
    @Salt lake city graphic design: Yea, I remember that. Hopefully, I wont have to resort to that any time soon.