The phrase “retail therapy” is one that makes penny-pinchers everywhere groan, and shopping fanatics everywhere cheer. The phrase refers to shopping for the sake of stress management. It is a loaded phrase because it represents some things that are healthy and some things that are not. Indeed, there are some very good reasons to embrace retail therapy. It is enjoyable, stress relieving and a healthy form of expression, when it is kept under control. On the other hand, it is financially detrimental, frivolous and generally irresponsible when it is not kept under control.
When clothes shopping is done in balance with the rest of a person\’s life for how much time, money and energy it absorbs, it can certainly be considered a healthy activity. When a person shops for clothes only when their budget allows for it, when they are not neglecting other life responsibilities to engage in it and when they are not dependent on it, it is a healthy activity. Clothes are a way for a person to express their own personal style. Shopping for them is stress relieving because it is a simple, enjoyable activity.
When clothes shopping becomes too high a priority to a person and their life begins to revolve around it, it has become unhealthy. Shopping for clothes is something that a person can grow to be dependent on for its escapism qualities. As soon as a person is dependent on it, it is no longer a healthy activity. It should always remain optional. If spending money on clothes is damaging a person\’s finances, it has become excessive. If a person is buying clothes they do not need simply for the feeling of buying clothes, their hobby has become frivolous. It is one thing to have an enjoyable hobby in clothes shopping. It is quite another to have an addiction to it.
Clothes are something we all invest in and think about, but this does not mean that everyone\’s feelings about clothes are the same. Some people do not invest a great deal of time, money or energy into choosing their clothes. They consider clothes a necessity so they put a bare minimum level of energy into choosing them. Others, however, live for choosing outfits. Their time and their thoughts revolve around their clothes and fashion. Their favorite hobby is buying new clothes and coordinating clever outfits. These people truly love clothes. But what is it about clothes that makes certain people so passionate about them?
- Flare. When a person has a flare for fashion, they will spend their lives finding new ways of expressing it. Fashion is a way of life for people who have a talent for mixing, matching and designing clothes. Not everyone has this ability because it takes finesse and an eye for design. A person\’s level of flare is unique to every individual and is usually an intrinsic quality.
- Skill. Having skill is different from having flare. Skill is something a person needs to work at in order to acquire. Having a skill for building outfits may come from going to a clothing design school or program. It may come from a lifetime of focusing on fashion and practicing techniques that are absorbed from experts. But it always comes from work, and therefore carries a certain amount of pride.
- Attention. People who are good at coordinating clothes and making a statement with them naturally receive attention for it, as does any talented person who shares their abilities with the world. People who are talented at fashion are often the types who do not mind attention on them in the first place. Often, they enjoy standing out for their aesthetic uniqueness.
- Control. Every creative ability offers the lure of control. People are meant to submit to what they cannot control in life, but they are also meant to be in control of minor things in their lives, such as their creative abilities. Choosing clothes and coordinating fashion efforts gives many people this needed sense of control over something in their life.