Shopping addiction, or oniomania, affects an estimated 8-16% of Britain’s adults; that’s 8 million people. The stereotype is that more women are affected than men. Research, including our own, shows this to be true. But if you include gadgets, sports equipment and computer accessories/software, then it’s as prevalent among men and problematic.

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of a Shopping Addiction

The short-term effects of a shopping addiction may feel positive. In many cases, you may feel happy after completing a shopping trip. However, these feelings are often mixed with anxiety or guilt, and in most cases, the guilt or anxiety may propel you back to the store for even more shopping.

The long-term effects of a shopping addiction can vary. Many shopping addicts face financial problems, and they may become overwhelmed with debt. In some cases, they may simply max out their credit cards, but in other cases, they may take out a second mortgage on their home or charge purchases to their business credit card.

Although most addictions have physical symptoms related to them, shopping addictions may not. In most cases, the symptoms you experience due to your shopping addiction will be emotional in nature.

Compulsive Spending

The main symptom associated with compulsive spending is an overwhelming and irresistible urge to buy that persists despite subsequent adverse consequences. The impulse to buy stems from an emotional need, though the need is rarely filled by the act. Buying provides temporary relief, but most people feel a sense of disappointment once the purchase is made.

Jeans – Waistbands & Yolks for Bums and Tums

When looking for the perfect pair of jeans, most people would think about a couple of key factors such as the colour, cut and wash of denim that they want to buy their jeans in. The primary cuts people tend to buy are skinny, super skinny, boyfriend, cropped, flared and boot-cut. The wash or fade is something that is greatly influenced by fashion trends and is favoured differently by every individual.

Looking at details such as waistband or yoke may not even cross some people’s mind; possibly due to lack of knowledge about its purpose and use on the eminent Jean. To clarify, the waistband helps keep everything around the tummy area kept well and truly tucked whilst the yolk focuses on creating an illusion of our bottom. The waistband uses a firmer and less flexible fabric whilst the yolk usually comprises of 1-3% elastane or lycra to give for movement. The wider the waistband, the greater the support provided for the waist and tummy area. As shown above, the yolk comes in several different shapes.

A v-shaped yolk is becoming more common and widely used as it is the most flattering for most women. The inverted curve makes the bottom look larger whilst the straight cut yolk makes the waist look wider and the bottom area looks bigger. Although not the most flattering of yolk shapes, the straight yolk is by far the simplest for manufacturers to create.  The sweetheart yolk can really enhance the shape of the bottom and requires a much more flexible fabric. A pair of jeans with no yolk can give you a very different look. It’s more favourable for women who do not wish to accentuate their bottoms at all and prefer a more formal look such as that given by plain trousers.

The Value of Necklines

Necklines may seem like an irrelevant factor when choosing the right garment but actually, it can be one of the most fundamental features in your outfit. If you imagine the impact a neckline has on a wedding dress, then that same principle applies to the rest of your clothes. A neckline can add charm, quirk or even make you look smarter. Necklines are an important thing to consider when choosing a cardigan, blouse, dress, vest, t-shirt, jumper and even a jumpsuit.

When considering the right neckline in an outfit, you need to consider several things. First and foremost, the neck itself. Is it a short, medium or long neck?  Then there is the width of the neck to factor as well as the size of bust and prominence of the collarbone. The structure and shape of the jawline has an equal and significant role. Finally, the overall proportions of torso versus leg length determine the choice of neckline as a way to balance out the whole body.

To give you an example, a v neck can create an elegant, longer and taller silhouette. It can elongate the upper torso and draw the eyes upwards towards the face. The v neck can be incredibly versatile as the depth and width of the v neck can vary drastically creating all sorts of looks for different body shapes.

The square neckline achieves a similar look by elongating the upper body and particularly favours those with protruding collarbones, as well as those who are bustier and those who have narrow shoulders or short necks. Turtle necks are great for anyone with a long face or slim neck as it balances the upper body. Scoop necklines, on the other hand, are one of the most desirable and versatile necklines out there. It makes the shoulders appear wider; working well for all type of body shapes including hourglass figures and the pear. They work well for people with short to medium length necks and a variety of face shapes. Necklines are often a mirror of people’s jawlines. Angular jaws require angular neck shapes whilst rounded jaws demand like for like.

This is just a snapshot of necklines out there and the list goes on. Different cuts, angles, and depths effectively balance different proportions of the face, neck and body whilst creating silhouettes appropriate for every body shape.

SMW’s One Month Denim Guide – The Transformation of Denim

Denim can be commended for so many of its textile qualities but those that stand out most are its versatility, durability, breathability and overall unpretentious look. As one of the oldest types of fabrics, it gives off an incredibly youthful look once transformed into a garment.  Denim is the most popular fabric worn around the globe and is worn by all ages.

Denim has had quite a history and over the centuries, it has evolved and changed as a fabric to meet changing consumer demands. The closest fabric to denim can be traced back to the 1800’s, a fabric called ‘jean cloth’ produced in Lancashire. It was a much cheaper material and the main difference was the woven threads were of the same colour unlike denim.

In 1872 Levis Strauss & Co developed a patent which led to an increase in denim used and produced for work wear. At that time, denim was composed of brown cotton duck, a type of canvas material mixed with cotton. At the turn of the century, consumers were demanding more comfort in their clothes and the company was able to quickly meet the needs by eliminating brown cotton duck from the fabric.  This was a pivotal time as the customer experience completely changed and denim literally became more comfortable with every wash.

Denim continued to be a popular fabric into the 20th century and reached new heights during the mid-1900’s. Icons such James Dean & Marlon Brando further improved sales whilst jean manufacturers like Levi’s, Wrangler and Lee Cooper came up with different styles like a stone wash, coloured denim, and embroidery on denim.

So, where are we with denim today?

Yet again, denim is at the forefront of change and transformation. Since the rise in popularity of skinny jeans, comfort, comfort, and more comfort has yet again become the driving force of denim sales. To meet this requirement, manufacturers have been mixing small quantities of lycra; somewhere between 1-4%. The extra stretch has no doubt made the skinny jean much more comfortable thus enabling it to maintain its status in mainstream fashion for as long as it has. The most recent buzz-word with jeans has become ‘power hold’, in other words, keeping bums and tums ‘nip and tucked’ whilst sculpting the wonderful waistline. The new wave of denim includes a significant amount of polyester in its composition along with cotton and lycra. Denim was almost the only item left in our shops along with babywear made from a cotton rich fabric, but recently there is a noticeable shift away from using above 90% cotton in the production of denim. The simple truth is the denim that we see on our high streets now consists of far more synthetic material than ever before. Retailers and manufacturers alike claim that the polyester in denim increases durability but with our low labour intensive lives, is it really necessary that we require an even durable fabric than our original cotton denim clothes which have given us great longevity up until now. Is this recent change to the denim fabric really about comfort, durability or cost? Perhaps it’s up to consumers to make stronger demands for real, breathable denim before it completely diminishes from our shops.

Why we keep buying?

A new survey has revealed that an average British woman will spend more than half a million pounds on fashion over a lifetime contributing to our multi-billion pound fashion and retail industry.

However with many women only wearing between 5% and 10% of clothes she owns, one would be inclined to question, why are we really spending so much?

Malini Shah, owner of sortmywardrobe.co.uk says the urge to shop and buy is normal, but the feeling of anticipation and relief associated with buying can become self-reinforcing and repetitive. Each time we anticipate a purchase and then make it, we release the feel good hormone, dopamine.
With the access of 24/7 information and shopping, our desires have also evolved. The excitement is no longer about making that one off purchase. There is inevitably a longer chain of events associated with Internet shopping – and every link in the chain contributes to a small burst of thrill. This starts with the buzz of making the initial purchase at the click of a mouse followed by the wait for the courier company to deliver a package. Once the parcel is accepted and signed off, there is yet more dopamine to be released during the opening stage of the parcel. Finally, trying on the garment triggers a bit more and finally owning something new and anticipating the feeling of wearing it to work, to a party or other event triggers even more.
With all this feel goodness, it’s no surprise people wish to embark on the positive experience of buying again and again. The combination of surprise, wait and acceptance creates several different emotional responses. One could compare it to a child wishing for a birthday every day. A similar chain of events takes place other than the fact that the costs incurred are to the individual buying for themselves.
Buying clothes, shoes, handbags, and accessories is most certainly a form of pampering but when we are trying to find fulfillment that cannot be achieved, that’s when it becomes a concern. Some people do it as a stress reliever whilst others do it to disguise various underlying emotional states. There are ways to shop strategically but sometimes they need to be taught. Sort My Wardrobe, a personal styling company with a twist teach ways to prevent over-shopping and give you techniques that can be applied every day.

Quote by Roland Mouret

When putting a wardrobe together, if your budget is limited, the most important thing is having the discipline to invest in one or two beautiful key pieces and mixing these with classic pieces like the cashmere sweater, the great Jean, the perfect crisp shirt. Plan your long-term wardrobe. Only buy pieces that you can’t live without; don’t be tempted by disposable trends.