How To Get Over Wanting New Things All The Time

by: Rosie Dalton | 2 years ago | Features

Image: still from Romy and Michele's High School Reunion. Image source.

Why do we consume? This is a question that I often find myself asking today, especially in the face of so much excess. According to neuroscientists like Peter Sterling, it has a lot to do with the pleasure receptors in our brain. “When we obtain a reward that our frontal cortex values highly, the core circuit delivers a chemical pulse that we experience as satisfaction – so we repeat the behaviour,” Sterling says. The problem with this is that “satisfaction is brief and diminishes as a particular reward becomes predictable.” So the more we ‘reward’ ourselves with shopping, the less satisfaction we actually derive from it.

This, in turn, causes many people to up the dosage and simply consume more. But are we really deriving pleasure from this cycle of overconsumption? The major fast fashion companies would like us to believe that we are. In fact, they routinely play upon our desires to present ourselves well (and to not be considered ‘unfashionable’) in order to convince us that we are having fun. But, if you ask me, there isn’t much fun to be had in staring back at an overstuffed closet that’s full of unloved clothes.

Which is why we need to own our shopping habits and take control over the desire to consume mindlessly. Of course, it is natural – at least in so far as our modern society is concerned – to want to keep up with the latest trends. But it has become increasingly important to question whether this really brings us happiness, or merely the illusion thereof.

Considering the social and environmental harm that is caused by overconsumption, it seems to make sense that we start to shift our approach for the sake of both our wardrobes and the world. This, I believe, requires a certain rewiring of the mind through a few key shifts in mindset. The first step to getting over wanting new things all the time is to let go of the desire to dress ‘new’ and replace it with the desire to dress like you.

In other words, to cultivate and take pride in your personal uniform, instead of just wearing the latest trends. This won’t always be easy – and you will no doubt still be tempted by that shiny new thing every once in a while, but it is a small shift that can help you to divert your sense of pleasure away from buying more clothes – and towards buying clothes with purpose.

Rather than letting newness determine confidence, allow your intuitive sense of self and the ability to dress with that in mind do the talking instead. This also helps in laying down some initial boundaries, because it allows you to start questioning each purchase and whether or not this reflects your personal uniform. The next step, then, is to set yourself some ground rules around how many new pieces you will buy per season.

This is where I find the 5 Piece French Wardrobe to be really helpful as a model. It revolves around the notion of buying no more than five new things every six months. But it’s important for your own quota to be realistic for you. Once you have those boundaries in place, it becomes easier to get over wanting new things just for the sake of it. And, as a result, you can really enjoy finding those pieces that you will buy. 

Finally, it is important to care about your clothes. Don’t just care about them from an aesthetic point of view, or the feel of a certain fabric against your skin. But care about them on an ethical level and then shop with your personal values in mind. Once you do this, it will become like second nature to shop with intent and this, if you ask me, offers the greatest sense of satisfaction of all.


If you liked this, you might like to shop some of our new clothes with values:

This article reflects these values click to shop the value

This article reflects these values

Tap value for more information

Shop related categories