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I’ve sworn off buying new clothes in 2021 – this is how February went

'It turns out that shopping gives you a hit of dopamine, so it quite literally is making me feel better.'

Jemima Jordan is giving up buying new for 2021.

After kicking off her monthly column for Wear Next in January, she’s back to let us know how she got on in February.

“I’ve honestly always thought that January was the longest month of the year. That is until February 2021 came along. And yes, I know it was only 28 days long. 

I don’t know if it was the minus fifteen degree weather here in Berlin, the freakishly short days, or the never-ending lockdown, but it has felt utterly dark, depressing and… like I NEED to buy something!

I know that sounds basic but I guess it’s like some people eat in response to negative emotions – it’s just shopping is my equivalent of inhaling a family size bag of minstrels.

I've sworn off buying new clothes in 2021 - this is how February went

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I did a bit of research to make myself feel slightly less guilty about my consumer habits and it turns out that shopping gives you a hit of dopamine every time you buy, so it quite literally is making me feel better.

One fact I read that I thought was quite fascinating is that it’s actually the anticipation of owning a thing that gives you the dopamine boost and not the purchase itself.

This is also a reason why people enjoy online shopping so much as this dopamine hit somehow lasts longer as the item is not immediately yours and the anticipation is dragged out for however long delivery takes.

Razorfish talked to 1,680 shoppers from the US, UK, Brazil, and China in 2014 and found that ‘72% of those from the UK were more excited when their online purchases arrive in the mail than when they buy things in store.’ So there we go – I’m not alone! 

I guess that’s another reason we can give for the massive increase in online shopping since the start of the pandemic – IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Results for January reveal that UK online sales grew 74% year-on-year in January 2021.

I've sworn off buying new clothes in 2021 - this is how February went

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Scary to think about, not least when you ponder how it is even possible for Jeff Bezos to continue lining his pockets when they were made out of gold and diamonds in the first place.  

If you read my first post about giving up clothes shopping cold-turkey in January, you may remember that I was buying excessive kitchen utensils to somehow fill the Zara-shaped hole that had been left in my life… I think I have reached the end of that retail therapy technique.

My kitchen now boasts a 3-tiered, macramé hanging fruit bowl, cereal pourers with stickers saying ‘the joy of pouring’ on them and even trendy new oven gloves. Correct.

I bought oven gloves, and not only did I buy them, I was positively excited about them. I mean, they are maybe the coolest oven gloves I’ve seen and definitely the best/only ones I’ve bought. Check them out here if, you too, are in a strange kitchen-related-online-shopping-crisis/need new oven gloves. 

And just to top this off, I am moving to a significantly bigger apartment. Don’t get me wrong, it is great for us since we desperately need some more space (baby+lockdown+tiny apartment = going insane hour-by-hour, day-by-long-day), but we all know what that means.

Oven Gloves, £25, Stuart Gardiner – buy now

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Suddenly, I have the excuse I have been looking for to spend all my money and counter all the good I am doing by not buying clothes. One thing I am committed to doing is trying to buy second hand from our local flea-market when it finally reopens, instead of buying from Ikea/whatever Ikea-competitor Instagram is advertising at me.

Even buying and upcycling is an option, and something I have been trying out in the last few weeks. I decided to sand, paint and varnish my old bedside table in a bid to add some jazz to it. And it worked! I mean, I don’t think it looks a lot better, but it has made me absolutely committed to keeping it and not replacing it with a new version.

So, wish me luck. Not just with moving with a baby during a pandemic, but also in trying not to bankrupt myself in the process. I will let you know how I get on.”

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