Back in my super-shopping days, the fall wardrobe was a prominent highlight of the year. Fall shopping involved reading lots of glossy magazines, finding inspiration at Anthropologie and Neiman Marcus, scouring Loehman’s, DSW, and the mall for deals, and then splurging back at Anthropologie and Neiman Marcus. The shopping cycle also involved an original list, purchases, returns, and new lists for things to match what I bought on earlier trips. All this happened with good friends, so it was loads of fun. I wouldn’t trade the memories, but I am a little relieved to have stepped off the shopping treadmill.
Here in Ohio, I haven’t given up shopping completely. In fact, I am truly one of the luckiest girls in the world because I have a husband who LIKES to shop for clothes. On our honeymoon, we had a total blast shopping, and he sweetly splurged on the most darling trench coat ever for me to wear this fall. Still, it’s nothing like the old days. I don’t read glossy magazines anymore. I have a very small list of quality items to buy (new leather boots, a cream silk shirt, and a black cashmere turtleneck). We have a set budget and are waiting until October to spend it.
Suddenly, though, this week, I have had serious, serious urges to shop. They’ve been so serious that I DREAMED about shopping last night. I’ve had to consciously remind myself what new-ish clothes I have in my closet because I’ve just felt generally disgruntled that I have nothing to wear. What could be the trigger? I watch the Daily Show online, but that’s it for TV. Like I said, I haven’t bought one fall magazine. At work, I’ve even been too busy to catch up on my celebrity gossip fix at lunch. So, what gives?
This morning, I finally figured out the sneaky shopping trigger: “chick lit.” I got Love the One You’re Withby Emily Giffin from my library “queue” this week and have been devouring it after work and before bed. Now, by day, I am a literature professor, but by night, I shamelessly indulge my passion for “fun reading.” I was an avid reader as a kid, not only of Jane Austen and Emily Bronte, but also of the teen series like Sweet Valley High and The Girls of Canaby Hall (about three unlikely roommates at boarding school; oh how I wanted to go to boarding school reading those!). So, as an adult, when Bridget Jones’s Diary ushered in a new craze of copycats, I became quite a connoisseur.
I now realize that, while they are technically ad-free, these books also let me shop vicariously. Almost every one has a shopping scene or two. Sophie Kinsella’s series, of course, takes the shopping motif to dizzying heights. Even if there is no direct shopping, there are usually descriptions of adorable outfits and random allusions to trendy brands. Griffin’s latest contribution was no exception. Throughout the novel, we get one darling ensemble after another, and I realize I’ve been imagining wearing each one as I read.
So, sneaky shopping trigger: discovered! Fortunately, my budget allows for some shopping soon, but until then, I’m pleased that I’ve identified where the urge is coming from. Knowing is half the battle!