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Why I Shop Less Now That I Work at a Shopping Website

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I want all of the things, I want none of the things

I’m prone to this thing I call fitting room fatigue. More often than not, when I end up liking more than two or three of the things I’ve tried on, I end up leaving the store empty-handed. That might seem counterintuitive, but rarely am I in the market to drop that much $$$ at a single store, and I get overwhelmed trying to narrow it down to the items I really want. It’s easier to just walk away. Then, if I find myself still thinking about one of the pieces later, I know I should go back and buy it.

When I started working at Racked, I was worried I was going to turn into a shopping fiend, like the one I was the years I spent working retail. Anyone who’s worked retail knows the routine — you spend all day surrounded by clothes that you can buy for a fraction of their marked price, and eventually, after watching all the other sales associates buy the same very-okay blouse or helping a customer and realizing how great that dress looks on, you end up convincing yourself you need stuff that you don’t even want: This sweater is only $18 with my discount, and I could wear it with that skirt that I never wear, but if I buy this sweater then maybe I will.

And before you know it, you’re buying five things a week with your store credit card. And you low-key hate all your clothes.

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So yes, I was nervous that working here would stimulate that same kind of immersion-induced buying behavior, but I actually shop less now than I used to, and I think it has to do with that fitting room fatigue idea. Racked covers so many beautiful things that I like! I couldn’t possibly buy one of every trendy boot, trendy non-boot, and non-trendy boot I see on the site.

And even if I could buy them all, would anything change? Would I ever feel totally content with my wardrobe? Would I feel different about myself? I think I’ve finally learned that answer is no.

These days, I almost never buy anything unless it has a glowing rec from someone I work with. They’ve taught me that Forever 21’s sweaters are super soft and nice to sensitive skin, and that just because a bag is expensive, it doesn’t mean it can actually carry all your stuff, and also that it’s worth it to spend money on a piece you really love.

I’m making a real effort to only buy things that spark joy (Kondo-ing is about buying stuff, right?) when I put them on in the morning, because here’s the thing: If you have to convince yourself you need it… you probably don’t.

Stephanie Talmadge, social media editor

Making Lingerie for Every Body
Woman in lingerie.

The history of lingerie has long been one of form over function. From the classic corset, which calls to mind tight laces, restricted breathing, cracked ribs, and even rearrangement of the wearer’s internal organs, lingerie is an area of fashion where the adage “beauty hurts” seems to reign supreme. This is markedly at odds with the promise of lingerie in modern day advertising — that the sexiness one feels while wearing X-brand of (probably expensive) satin and lace creates the confidence needed to pursue one’s own pleasure.

Yet for clothing that is inextricably linked to sex — which, ideally, is all about experiencing and sharing pleasure in our bodies — lingerie is often created without the comfort of the wearer in mind. In fact, in an article for the LA Times as recently as 2013, one woman described her search for the perfect lingerie as thus: “The tap pants were too small and cut off circulation in my thighs. I vaguely remember crying as I tried to squeeze into them."

Not much of a confidence booster.

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Today's Non-Gift Guide Pick
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Who: Monica Bhatia
What they do: Director, Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant Program at Columbia University Medical Center
What they want: Personal Creations Personalized Storybook, $39

As a child growing up, my parents gave me a personalized book like this about how I was named, and it always made me feel so special. I still have it today! I often give this book to new parents upon the arrival of their little one, but have also used it as a birthday or holiday gift. In the book, animals in the animal kingdom spell out a child's name one letter at a time. It's a beautiful keepsake that both parents and children can enjoy for years.

Check out the rest of our non-gift guide picks here. Want to make donations your gift of choice instead? We've got you covered on that front too.

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