I am not a good panic shopper and I know it. But in the past, it was the only way I purchased clothing.
The panic shopping response is triggered when all of a sudden, you realise that every item of clothing you own is shit. And I mean, all of your clothes. All of them. Utter crap.
And you need something to wear for a party. That night!
That red dress hasn’t fit you in years. Truth be told, it never really fit. Actually, is that the tag still attached?
You could wear your go-to classic, funky dress but you’ve worn it twice before to office parties and it’s boring now. You’re wearing it in your profile picture for goodness sake!
And no one wears spaghetti straps any-more so that cancels out a third of your wardrobe!
ARGH WHAT TO WEAR!
I’ve stood naked, many times in front of my sagging wardrobe as it groaned under the weight of all my SHIT CLOTHES and it would always end in a panic shop.
Here’s a typical example of how it would go:
It’s a Friday morning and I have a Christmas party that night and nothing to wear.
There is only one option. I have to dash out on my lunch break to buy something new and so I mentally prepare.
I hit work, turn on the computer and immediately start looking at every party dress on the internet. It is confusing and overwhelming but I do it anyway.
Armed with ideas and sweating caffeine from one too many lattes, I bolt into the void that is Friday lunch time panic shopping.
I hit the department store and focus in one the first dress that looks like it might work.
I grab one in my size and throw it on over my work trousers.
With the pressure of time weighing heavy on my chest, I look at myself in the mirror and assess the dress for what works.
It might be okay with a belt and surely I have a strapless bra somewhere at home. Yeah, with a bra and a belt and without my trousers on underneath this could be a great outfit.
Then I check the price tag. Probably more than I wanted to spend but all good.
Payday next week. Of course when I get home, I can’t locate the strapless bra and the belt looks shit.
I have no shoes that match and the dress bags when I’m not wearing suit pants underneath it. I stand in front of the mirror wondering when I lost the fucking plot.
I wear the outfit anyway and spend the party feeling like a foreigner in my own body until I get so drunk that fake confidence clothes me instead.
It was never a good look.
Eventually, I got fed up of the total clusterfuck that my wardrobe (and life) had become.
So I began to practise graceful shopping.
I made the time to try on different styles of dress so that I could learn about what I really liked.
I learnt which cuts flattered me and which absolutely didn’t.
I found the dresses that made me feel sexy and comfortable.
And here’s the thing, it was much more fun to shop from possibility than necessity.
So why should you give a shit about my shopping habits?
Well, every day I speak to women who are looking for that one man in much the same way I used to look for that one dress.
It’s a common pattern, and one that can be perfectly illustrated by Suzie’s story.
Suzie was dating and it was getting exhausting and frustrating in equal measure.
She dated a guy who was really lovely. Just as she was beginning to see how this guy might work in her life, he pissed off into the oblivion of dickheads who don’t call again.
Determined, she persevered and dated the next guy, who turned out to be a total wanker.
And so the cycle went until she came to me and we broke her pattern.
Here are the 3 key things that Suzie did to move from panic dater to graceful dater which is where you need to be to find true love:
What Suzie was doing #1.
She was playing the sniper strategy - finding just one guy to date at a time. In doing this, she focused all of her social time, hope and energy onto him and only him.
Why this was a problem:
When he didn’t text back immediately or it didn’t work out, Suzie lost her shit. He was her one hope, her one opportunity and so her disappointment when it didn’t work out was like taking a punch to the tit. It hurt.
What she did about it:
Suzie began creating opportunities to meet new people and stated saying yes to extending her social circle. She stopped ‘dating’ and started living. When she went out with a guy, she went to enjoy the evening and not with the intent to marry him.
What Suzie was doing #2:
Trying to squish any guy she dated into boyfriend material. Even if it broke the mould.
Why this was a problem.
Men run a mile when they cotton on to the fact that you’re trying to change them. And I mean, they RUN!
What she did about it.
She made peace with the fact that you can’t change someone (you can influence them but that’s another story) and built faith that she deserved a man she didn’t want to change.
What Suzie was doing #3.
Going out with anybody. And attracting wankers as a result.
Why this was a problem.
Because Suzie wasn’t clear on what she wanted in her partner, she wasn’t learning about what qualities best complimented her. So the douchebag dates of her 20’s were still showing up in her late 30’s (which is not the time to be dating douchebags).
What she did about it.
Suzie got really clear on her own values so that she had some clear criteria of non-negotiables when it came to dating. This meant she started noticing really early on if a guy was suitable or not, and so avoided exhausting dates with guys who never fit her anyway.
Once Suzie became a graceful dater instead of a panic dater, she realised she had choice and the strength to consciously choose her (now) perfect-as-he-is partner.
So ladies, think gracefully. Date like a graceful shopper who takes her time and tries things on. Who takes herself on a lunch date half way through and sits in the joy of her own company. And who resists shelling out more than she can afford on a dress which doesn’t perfectly compliment her, Be the chick who heads home feeling empowered and fabulous with a lovingly selected dress which she can wear forever.
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