Thoughts on Mindful Shopping and Living an Intentional Life

A vast majority of us are guilty at obsessing over material things. My boyfriend frequently reminds me of finding joy in other things because when it comes down to it, they bring no value to our lives. Truth be exposed, he threw a disapproving face when seeing all my Chanel shoes…True fulfillment is acquired by going out into the world and fostering palpable and benevolent things. This post is about mindful shopping and living an intentional life. Buying a new pair of shoes might make you feel confident in the short term but will not enrich your life in the long term.

Undoubtedly, the world would be a stall place if we all wear the same exact thing everyday. Yet, we might all consider simplifying our lives a bit more by reducing the amount of time we spend thinking about pointless aspect of our day (currently reading this life changing book). Life is complicated enough, so don’t allow the little things dictate your happiness.

Simplify, simplify, simplify! Have you ever thought about how much time you likely waste deciding what to wear in the morning? I already suffer from decision fatigue from work and life but started tackling on the easiest issue being my wardrobe. And so for the past five years, I have been carefully editing my wardrobe to this point where an eruption of self doubts emerge… Since I was painfully trying to limit my contribution to an excessively materialistic and superficial society, there are times I feel conflicted whenever I am consuming…

Not trying to rationalize or merely justifying a recent material* purchase here but this post is about what all went through my mind with the new acquisition of the Sézane perfecto: Few questions sprung upon opening the box as it was mailed to my house (which by the way Sezane packaging is on point and making customers craving for more which can certainly be very dangerous for me oh la la). Why do I feel remorseful of this buy? Did I really need this right now? Does it make me any happier? Wait what? Why am I even reading this Sartre’s existentialism paper … Thanks Silvana (@Saisonlune on Instagram) for being receptive to being fed with some of my niaiseries haha.

More self-doubts followed; I began to question myself whether I had fell into a cycle of mindless shopping which typically results in excessive consumerism, and which to no surprised to anyone may lead to more dissatisfaction, more stress, more pressure to impress (I am certainly thinking Instagram for myself), more debts, and eventually unhappiness. Not to mention the side effects of increase level of narcissism, and perhaps even greed and envy and evidently environmental impacts. Very repulsive notions!

So looking into inspirations for intentional living and a search for deeper meaning in life while trying to avoid distractions and sweating on small stuff, I enjoy reading a few minimalist blogs (here & here). Not that I am a self-proclaimed minimalist but simply put, to me, my way of living is anything can be enjoyable in life with a healthy dose of moderation. This article starts with “Don’t buy what you don’t need.’ I was then rethinking my whole and entire ins and outs of my spending habits and rediscovered thoughtfulness and intentionality in my purchase recently. I tried to remind myself that happiness can’t be found in discounted clothing at the reach of a mouse click.

I thought to myself that most joyful memorable and evidently successful purchases made followed a common thread: connection with people I care about. This takes place when spending 1-1 time with my mom going to shops and having her pick something for me. I know it makes her happy, which in turns also makes me happy about being able to share an experience together with her. I know this may seem banal mundane (I don’t know why I pretend to myself to turn a French word into English like that) but since I don’t get to visit my mom as often as I’d wish by living an ocean away from her. This could also be sharing time with Arjen going to a french pharmacie together looking for skincare for him or hanging in St. Germain des Pres with my sisters shopping for interior decor.

So in my relief (still processing), I don’t believe to have turned out into a mindless consumerist monster. My rational comes from the intentional approach I had already considered. But whenever contemplating a new item to purchase, the mindful thinking turned into an automated system since a while ago (maybe about 5 years). What I mean is that once I found out what I liked and what worked for me (lifestyle, aesthetics, quality, etc..), choosing what or what not to purchase chore was made easier. Notice the use of word chore because for a long time, I felt this activity to have become a hassle which I’m desperately trying to turn shopping into a more enjoyable perhaps even authentic experience. Well, this must partly  explain why minimalist capsule wardrobe hasn’t worked for me but that is another topic for another time.

If you are interested  in the earlier mentioned automated thinking process of mindful shopping, this post here may be helpful and one of the relevant steps listed  is about looking deep into my motivations; what inner-motivations are subconsciously guiding my purchases?… Here is my story: now referring back to the beginning of the post on rationalizing the recent purchase and how I reconciled the feeling of remorse from the late purchase and looking deeper into my inner motivations; a year ago, I was attending a ‘fancy’ cocktail party with Arjen at the top floor of London’s Shard. Really beautiful setting & view over London. If you haven’t been there, I recommend it. I typically dress for myself, but I figured this time for a change I thought of revealing another facet of myself by trying to tap more into my femininity. A dress (although one could argue that femininity doesn’t necessarily equate a dress. See what Emmanuelle Alt from Vogue Paris says about dress & femininity in an interview with Garance Dore for Love x Style x Life here).

But why not try? I bought a chiffon pleated Burberry pastel pink dress. Truly beautiful garment and was impatient to show it off to my beau. To my surprise he was less that impressed but that’s ok. Because of his reaction, it motivated me further to reinforce the idea of dressing for one-self. I was determined to keep looking into internal validation and that is part of self-confidence. From then on, I made myself clear that I’d never rely on seeking approvals nor validation from others. Ok so back to the dress! In styling the dress, I failed on one level that still bothers me til today and sorry I’ll get to the motivations behind the leather jacket shortly. I wore it under my black winter men’s coat and a black jumper with black ankle boots. Sure, I looked pretty. Fine, I fit nicely into the snobbish surrounding among other women parading around in their high price tag dresses too. The issue was that sub consciously, I felt completely uneasy because of a disconnect between me on the inside and what I portrayed myself to be to the outside world. I felt like a BCBG. There is nothing worse in my opinion than to look too perfect. So how to best reconcile me internal and me external, which should be obviously… Awesomeness! Haha

I have been on the search for a garment to represent this sought after coolness attitude and be able to reflect my personality accordingly. I had a few failed attempts in the past with multiple trials and returns but I thought that the answer was lying somewhere between a leather biker jacket, a bomber jacket (very trendy this season but I’ll wait first until the craze goes away), a denim jacket, a field military green jacket or even going towards the bohemian feel of a colorful poncho (Hello Coachella!!!). After some computation in my head, what resulted was that I decided to keep the leather jacket as it’s most timeless and versatile and that over time it gives me more frequent moments of happiness. (Reference from this article).

So to recap, what’s the whole meaning of this thought process? To make sure to be better prepared and avoid tarring a night out experience by having the appropriate clothing and outfits to accompany my style and reflect my personality. In essence, I must feel good under my clothes, feel confident, and in result be able to have a good time bonding with others. As relating to the significance and intentionality (versus root out consumerism as a motivating factor): I must remind myself that the jacket completes and accompanies my style and not simply to consider the piece as a so called ‘must have’ item or to be achieving the renown capsule wardrobe tick off list as a motivating reason for buying. And to finish off this post (hopefully), a quote from Saint Laurent:

Finding your own style is not easy, but once found it brings complete happiness. It gives you self-confidence, always.


*different than experiential purchase, which I’ll discuss in a separate post 🙂

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