Cotton Bodycon Unlined Black Jersey Dress by Helmut Lang. Whatever our initial psychological reasons for going shopping, we come to know that our agitation will be immediately relieved with the dopamine releasing purchase. The ability to quickly order from websites and shopping channels can make for mindless purchases.

Bodycon Unlined Black Jersey Dress

Bodycon Helmut Lang Finest Rib Black Dress

Bodycon Helmut Lang

Bodycon SNDYS Mish Ribbed Knit Black Dress

Bodycon SNDYS

Bodycon SNDYS Lounge Dharma Knit Dress

Bodycon SNDYS

Long Sleeve retrofete Althea Dress

Long Sleeve retrofete

How many times have we convinced ourselves that we “need” that suede ankle boot covered with zippers? Overshopping can also seem like a “necessity” if we are trying to keep up with the trends. The runways are active year round spring, summer, fall, winter, resort, pre spring, pre fall, and so on and so forth.

The only way to keep up with all of the must haves is to live, breathe, and eat shopping. One year it’s the ankle boot, another year it’s the above-the-knee boot. Last year it was the ’80s neon punk prints and ruffles, this year it’s the sculptural silhouette in patternless neutrals. Staying trendy is a full time job.

Long Sleeve Pam & Gela Bleach Tie Dye Mock Neck Dress

Long Sleeve Pam & Gela
Cream

Long Sleeve Lovers + Friends Astrid Dress

Lovers + Friends

Maxi ATM Anthony Thomas Melillo Halter Maxi Dress

Maxi ATM Anthony Thomas Melillo

Mini Lovers + Friends Lily Belted T-Shirt Dress

Mini Lovers + Friends
Tie Dye

Digging a little deeper into the standard response—that being on the cusp of fashion is exciting and fun—reveals that we follow trends to feel that we are hip and current. If everything else in our lives has fallen behind, at least we can look like we know “what’s up.” Being a slave to trends can hide deep insecurities, such as fear of not fitting in, fear of aging, fear of losing excitement about life, and so forth.

To avoid buying out of a perceived need that doesn’t really exist, ask yourself two questions: What will be the consequences of not buying the item? And what other item do you already own that could serve as a substitute? From my experience, answers to these questions transform most potential purchases from needs into wants.

Buying clothing is a true form of self-pampering. Much like a spa treatment or manicure, improving ourselves can feel like a panacea to our woes. If shopping is your form of self-soothing, your association between purchasing things and gaining stress relief will strengthen over time. According to a learning theory developed by behaviorist B. F. Skinner, known as operant conditioning, if your first experience with shopping is positive, then you go online or to the mall when you need destressing in the future.

Each time your stress is relieved you are positively reinforced in other words, you will repeat this behavior. Like the hungry pigeon, anxiously increasing his pecking at the food lever in a Skinner box, the more woes you have, the more you are likely to shop. The relief you experience from clothes shopping can become an addictive remedy that leads to overspending and closet clutter.