By Madison Gillespie
If you know me, then you’ve probably figured out that I’m a huge shopping addict. I have had a passion for fashion (much like the Bratz dolls of my childhood) since the sixth grade, when I really started to develop my personal style. I could spend hours scrolling through various clothing websites or checking out shops around campus. But even though I spend a lot of time shopping, in most cases I either shut my laptop or leave the store empty handed. While it’s fun to admire the latest trends, I know that I don’t actually need the cute things I lay my eyes on. Following this advice is not always easy, though.
Getting caught up in the latest trends is a lot easier than it looks. All too often I catch myself scrolling through fashion blogs on Tumblr or perusing boutique Instagram accounts. Coming to college and becoming exposed to the style of my peers hasn’t helped, either. A few weeks into my freshman year at UIUC, my inner fashion senses were telling me it was time to update my look. But what started as giving my closet a little refresher quickly morphed into OCB: Obsessive Compulsive Buying. I instantly wanted to buy every new trendy thing I saw someone wearing, whether it be in person or on social media. And at the end of the day, when I would hang up my latest purchase that a few hours ago I just had to have, I always found myself and my wallet stinging with regret. Was what I had bought actually worth it?
I ultimately was happy with most of my purchases, but there were several important things I realized:
First, in my efforts to chase after trends, I had started to convince myself I liked certain things that I normally would never wear. I distinctly remember watching one of my favorite YouTubers and wanting the sweatshirt she had worn in her most recent video. The color and style of the sweatshirt weren’t really my thing, but I still felt the need to purchase it because it was in style and she had worn it. (Fortunately, I didn’t buy it.)
Second, I became so caught up in so many trends that I probably bought too many similar things. I somehow equated “more” to being “better,” when in reality I would have been fine with less.
And third, as well as most importantly, I realized that in this chaotic whirlwind of wanting to buy, buy, buy, I had started losing sense of my own personal style. Almost everything I wore looked more and more like everyone I’d pass on campus each day. Instead of buying clothes to add to my current style, I had instead altered my closet to fit the mold of those around me. I wasn’t dressing for myself; I was dressing to be like everyone else. And that was when I knew things had to change.
While I’m not proud of the low point I reached, it has given me a newfound appreciation for who I am and what I love to wear. I now know that I don’t need to rely exclusively on the new additions to my closet in order to “fit in.” And while I will always love fashion, there is so much more to life than chasing after trends that could expire in a few months, and filling up shopping bags with clothes when you have a perfectly good wardrobe waiting for you at home.
So the next time you find yourself perusing the new arrivals at your favorite store, stop and consider if the item you’ve taken off the rack is something you’d really get use out of. Don’t splurge all your money for the sake of following trends; save it for later, when you come across something you really love. And above all else, be proud of who you are and what you love to wear. Fashion will always come at a price, but your killer style is something that can never be bought.