I am most intrigued by my recent apathy towards end-of-season sales. There was a time when announcements in newspapers of “Up to 50% off” used to make me grow weak in the knees. It was a time when I was on the pull, and buying new things always signalled opportunity to meet new, interesting people (read men) and my life would be happily-ever-after. Ah, the foolishness of youth!
So, there were shimmer and sequin tops, for that clubby night. Rows of beach dresses to rescue you if there’s a quick weekend getaway. Lingerie, in all colors and potential, was a must because your inside should always be as good as your outside. And the ‘outside’ would look incomplete without stilettos, LBDs, shorts, tank tops and even gymwear (although I never got to that part where you sign up for a gym). There were also sweaters, stoles, shrugs, and hoodies bought and put away for a winter that never came. There were candles reserved for that special date (when countless unspecial ones came and went). There were fondue pots for ‘what if I really felt like it one day’ ?
Once I bought a pair of tan boots from Nine West just because I saw Diya Mirza buying the same pair. I don’t know about her, but the said boots got four outings in five years (alas, my trip to Scotland was much before that). Now, they are adorning the feet of some PYT. I gave them away in a Zen moment.
A few things have changed since my days of retail excesses:
I hate trying on clothes. This is primarily because my curves are not what they used to be and it makes me angry when I see stuff on mannequins and they look completely different on me. I feel cheated, upstaged. I would sign a lifelong agreement with a store that sells me stuff without me having to try it on.
I have graduated from an XS to an M in the last ten years.
I hate not knowing what I want to buy or when I am going to wear it.
I hate it when they put three stickers over the original price, just so you can’t really tell whether the mark-down is indeed 50% as they claim or 30 or 20. I always like to know how much I have saved. Even if, technically, I haven’t saved it.
Shopping suddenly feels like too much work. Because once you shop, you need to find places you can wear the stuff to, people to hang with when you wear them, and things to do with said people. Since my universe has drastically shrunk and list of jobs to do multipled post mommyhood, I really couldn’t care less if I wore the same dress (built for comfort) to three brunches in a row.
I have realised that hair is an outfit in itself.
The husband on the other hand is a retail slut. The sentence, “Come let’s go shopping for new dresses for you, ” while may sound like nectar to some are full of nuisance value to me. It just means more work, more trying on, more annoyance. The husband is a sucker for sales that go, “Spend 10, 000 and get 10, 000 worth free” The first time he came home with a hamper from Puma (most of which looked straight from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai), I said “That’s way too many clothes and shoes. ” He said no, we can gift them. Aha! That’s a good angle. Do the work so someone else can reap the benefits. I have never heard of anything more nonsensical, so I just shut up.
There are those who get lucky in sales. There are those that build wedding trousseaus from it. I am unfortunately not one of those, save a Mango dress I picked up for Rs 1, 000 and don’t fit into anymore. And when I looked at my booty from sales a few days after the sale and compared it to my credit card bill, I always felt a sense of malaise. As the years went by, sales were not just about clothes. There was furniture. Electronics. Decor. Bathrooms. Books. Toys. Baby items. Real estate. And some. More decisions, more dead stock.
Now I have moved to the polar extreme. I have reached that point of comfort over style. Also I buy things when I really need them (read that as trainers have lost their sole and are beyond redemption) rather than when I want them (and convince myself that I really need them)
In the meanwhile I make sure that every year I donate all my “someday” clothes to a garage sale for an animal shelter or hold a tea and muffin flea market at my place so at least I clear shelf space in my wardrobe. After all, every girl should have an empty shelf, as I learnt from the Happiness Project.
(This piece first appeared in the Crest edition of the Times of India on 15th December 2012)