Retail Rehab: Why you need to detox from retail therapy

Published on 20 April 2018
by ASI Team
Category: Industry Insights

‘Oniochalasia’, heard of it? Probably not.

Oniochalasia is the act of buying or shopping as a method of stress relief or exhaustion, AKA retail therapy.

We’re guessing you’ve heard of retail therapy and could possibly be an active and enthusiastic patient.

We’re all guilty of the occasional, emotionally charged shopping spree, attempting to make ourselves feel better with an armful of shoes, dresses, accessories, and probably more shoes. #letsbereal. We can sometimes measure our worth in trends and shopping bags, unconsciously perpetuating the notion that retail therapy is actually good for our mental health.

The concept of retail therapy proves that we genuinely believe consuming can, and will make us feel good. This a dangerous notion and precisely what fast fashion retailers want us to think. Subliminally enforcing that buying a $100 white shirt will send all your woes away.

Studies show that when feeling upset, we will pay more for the same item compared to when we feel happy. This is because we perceive things to have a higher value in comparison to ourselves when we feel down. Don’t get us wrong, a killer new outfit can absolutely lift your mood, but it becomes problematic when you’re relying on it to do so.

Psychologists have likened the temporary high we get from shopping to that of illicit drugs. It’s not as physically dangerous but shopping beyond our means has adverse effects on our mental and financial well-being as well as the environment.

We understand the euphoria of tapping away your problems in a hot new pair of pumps. And working in fashion, we get the pressure society, the media, influencers,  friends, retailers and ourselves put on us to be ‘on trend’. But, when the clothes go out of date and the seasons change, all that’s left is a pile of no longer cool Gucci tees, velvet dresses, and of course, all the problems that made us want to shop in the first place.

We have to recognise our power, not just as consumers, but also over our emotions too. Breaking shopping habits and rejecting retail therapy could breathe new life into your relationship with not only clothes but your overall self-worth.

As stylists, we are passionate minimalists, believing that it is better only to purchase items which we truly love and that make us feel great about ourselves. With Fashion Revolution Week fast approaching, ditching fast fashion could not be more #ontrend.

So, if you’re feeling down, put the credit card away, because retail therapy is officially out of style.

How to break that shopping addiction:

Look at what could be causing these emotions

There could be a deeper reason for your overindulgence in shopping which needs addressing. Try different things to improve your mood; go for a walk or listen to your favourite song. If you’re a feeling persistently negative talk to someone, a friend, a doctor, your neighbour’s dog, just whatever you do, do not order another floral sundress.

How are your shopping habits affecting you after the initial buying buzz wears off?

Are you spending money you don’t have? Is it causing conflict between yourself and significant other? Are you spending too much time searching for clothes during which you could be doing something fun or productive?

Put a price tag on your shopping habits

Work out how much retail therapy is costing you per month. Is it impacting your financial goals? This might have you thinking twice about dropping dollars next time.

Shop your own wardrobe

As our founder, Lauren Di Bartolo says, this can be a very empowering experience. It sounds ludicrous to get rid of clothes when you feel like buying more, but this will reignite your love for the clothes you already own. Cleaning out your closet is proven to have therapeutic benefits as does being charitable, so donate all the clothes you’re not using. 

Mix and match to create new outfits or get creative and upcycle. Distress old denim, dye old jumpers, stick some patches on your favourite denim jacket and make cushions covers from knits and slogan tees. Thanks to Pinterest, you should have no shortage of DIY inspo.

Rethink your personal rewards system

Treating yourself to a new dress after losing some weight or smashing an assignment is great. But don’t always reward yourself with clothes. Try going to a new restaurant, seeing a movie or even going on a small getaway. Make clothing related rewards a once a month thing and splurge on something extra special.

Hire a personal stylist

A stylist will help you become a far more savvy shopper, saving you time and money while ensuring you have a wardrobe full of clothes you actually love. We’ve got plenty if you’re looking for one

Exercising self-control and making better choices for your finances and the environment will give you far more satisfaction than shopping till you drop. Trust us, retail therapy is so last season.



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