Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Are You Revealing or Covering Up?

An estimated 2/3 of U.S. gross domestic product comes from retail consumption.  Retail sales include the restaurant industry as well as all stores that sell a finished product.  According to the most recent report available from the United States Commerce Department, total retail sales in 2011 were 4.7 trillion dollars.  What does all of this mean?  Americans spend more on shopping than they do on bills, investing, traveling, education, things that really matter.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to shop. I am a fashion blogger and image consultant...of course I love to shop. However, I have noticed that many people use shopping, clothes in particular, as a means to cover up their lack of self-esteem, insecurities, etc.  We spend an exorbitant amount of money to create a life that does not line up with who we really are or how we view ourselves on the inside. Over time, instead of our wardrobe being an investment we can be proud of, it has just been a continuous cycle of wasted funds due to the fact that no purchase will ever bring satisfaction as long as we are covering up flaws that can only be fixed internally. Let's take a deeper look into what I am discussing.

People who are unhappy about their appearance will spend more than a reasonable amount of their income trying to cover up the areas they are unhappy with, rather than actually dealing with those areas.  For example, I am a slim man.  Let me be blunt...I am a skinny man.  I know others like myself who purchase clothes that are way too big for them because they don't want to accentuate how skinny they are.  This signifies that they don't want people to really notice how small they are, they don't like their size, or they are self-conscious of what people think of them. Either way, they are not happy. The same can be said of people who are a bit on the larger side.  I am constantly telling my full figured clients that no matter how big you are, if you purchase your clothes too big you look sloppy and you end up looking like more of a mess than you already think you look naturally.  Their are clothes for every body type. It is always imperative to purchase clothes that fit. If people were not talking about you before, they are now because you look crazy. Many times we feel that people are looking at us and judging our appearance based on our own preconceived ideas about ourselves. This is not always the case. Low self-esteem and self-confidence will cause this reaction.  Bottom line, if you want to be bigger, take supplements, work out, or come to grips with the fact that this is your body type.  If you want to be smaller, diet, exercise, or come to grips with the fact that this is your body type.  If you are not willing to put in the work to change what you don't like then you should learn to love YOU and accept who you were created to be and how you were created. Low self-esteem is a real issue that a piece of fabric can't rectify.  Deal with the issue instead of funding it frivolously. Whatever your size, purchase clothes that fit and stop wasting money to cover up what clothes will never be able to correct. Unhappiness with our bodies is not the only reason we waste money on fashion.  There are some deeper issues that come into play. Depression, loneliness, lack of self-control, and obsession with status are additional reasons people overspend unnecessarily. 

An estimated 19 million Americans suffer from major depression. Instead of getting on medication or seeking professional help many people turn to "retail therapy" as their coping mechanism.  Not only is this not healthy, but it is also not fiscally responsible.  Sure, you will have a closet full of clothes, but is your total financial portfolio balanced?

Loneliness is another major contributor to retail therapy.  Approximately 60 million people, or 20% of the total population, feel lonely.  Loneliness is when a person feels a strong sense of emptiness, yearning, distress and solitude. This is a natural feeling that many people face at some point in their life.  The issue is that some people suffer from chronic loneliness and instead of filling the void with human companionship, or changing their attitudes because some people are lonely because they are mean, nasty, cantankerous, and obtuse, they spend their time purchasing things they don't need, want, or even like. I don't understand people who have a closet full of clothes that are ten years old with the sales tags still affixed.  Clothes were meant for you to wear.  If that was never your intention leave it in the store and save your money.  If not, it just becomes a bad investment.

Lack of self-control should probably be at the top of the list for reasons people waste money. When we think of habits, bad habits specifically, we think of alcoholism, drug abuse, overeating, excessive gambling, and violence.  We don't typically think of shopping as a bad habit. I think shopping is wonderful and I enjoy when I have the opportunity to participate in this activity.  However, when a person gets to a point where their shopping is out of control and they say "I can't help it", it becomes a problem. Shopping is certifiably a bad habit when you begin spending rent or mortgage money.  You are dressing very nice and have more names in your closet than a college has on their roster but your lights are always being turned off and your car insurance is consistently lapsing. This is a complete lack of self-control and a habit that needs to be broken.

The last issue I want to deal with is the obsession with status. People are so willing to ruin their financial stability to make it appear that they have arrived to a certain status in society.  What ever happened to hard work? Take the time to put in the sweat and tears so that the "things" you acquire in life are worth it and have significant meaning. Stop trying to "keep up with the Jones'" and keep up with yourself, which is keeping up with reality. If you can't afford it, leave it on the shelf, leave it on the lot, save up to purchase it.  Don't let items of importance go lacking because you have to keep up appearances. Unless people are funding your lifestyle, live the lifestyle that matches your bank account. People who are obsessed with status are not necessarily driven to succeed for healthy reasons.  They are normally trying to prove something to those around them. When you are satisfied with yourself you don't have to prove anything to anyone.

What do all of these things have in common? They are all issues that we need to deal with. When we neglect dealing with our issues we allow destruction to slowly creep into our lives. People with purposefully unresolved issues account for more bad investments than all of Wall Street during the collapse of the housing market and recession combined. Instead of resorting to retail therapy, invest in therapy that will help you get to the root of your issues and begin to foster real healing so you can live a wholesome life. Fashion should be used as an expression to reveal who you are, not cover up who you wish you weren't.  Are you revealing or covering up?

Lil Divo

1 comment:

  1. This is a well thought out post! You really touched on some issues I used to have when I was a teenager to a young adult who I can proudly say has passed that stage with my being-to-skinny weight issue. Interestingly enough, your body changes as you age and I can attest to that. I did not start gaining weigh until after marriage from 95 to a whooping 122. lol