Questioning your motivation to shop? Prepare for the dopamine dressing detox

A well-dressed resistance is forming to the relentless fashion calendar and its overwhelming number of seasons, which can make your latest purchase feel dated the moment you cut off the price tag. Vive the cashmere revolution!

Pushed by an economic tightening of Balenciaga belts, the pendulum is finally swinging back from the more-is-more dopamine dressing approach that followed the COVID-19 lockdowns. An increasing interest in mindful shopping is contributing to 15.3 million views of the #nobuy2023 hashtag on TikTok, with those unable to face a fashion famine returning to shopping purely for investment pieces.

Maggie Marilyn designer Maggie Hewitt outside her Paddington store encourages shoppers to think before they spend.Credit:Jennifer Soo

“I’m seeing a backlash brewing, with the rise of social media campaigns around shopping detoxes and challenges that limit how many new items to buy each season,” says sustainability expert and host of the Wardrobe Crisis podcast, Clare Press. “If you’re anything like me, you might be starting to feel ‘stuffocated’ by how many items you’ve acquired over the years.”

Designers such as Maggie Marilyn founder Maggie Hewitt are embracing the shift towards a stronger shopping edit.

“There’s no such thing as an old season or a new season,” Hewitt says. “We should just be adding pieces to our wardrobes over time.”

“At Maggie Marilyn we recently brought back a collection from our archive, which clearly shows that designs from three or four years ago can still be worn today. And the customers are responding.”

Hewitt says that brands can do more to capitalise on the growing interest in investment dressing by believing in the value of their products.

“We never go on sale,” Hewitt says. “If you’re marking down new collections after three months, you are telling the customer that your pieces are already old.”

“Clothes are made to hold on to. For me, some items have incredible memories. I doubt that I will ever part with the blazer I wore to Paris on my first appointments with Maggie Marilyn.”

“I want to be wearing 80 per cent of my wardrobe, 80 per cent of the time,” says fashion expert and beauty entrepreneur Trinny Woodall.Credit:Flavio Brancaleone

Fashion expert and beauty entrepreneur Trinny Woodall still wears her mother’s Yuki dress from the 1970s and her grandmother’s cape from the 1930s. To accompany the journey of her beauty brand Trinny London towards greater sustainability, Woodall has been encouraging her formidable social media community to shop more mindfully.

“I’m seeing how much I’ve got and questioning my motivation when I shop,” Woodall says. “I really like the philosophy of one in, one out. I have recently done 120 out. Now that doesn’t mean I’m going to do 120 in… I want to be wearing 80 per cent of my wardrobe, 80 per cent of the time. So, I will be buying less.”

Personal shopper Kim Crowley has seen an increase in customers seeking her services to buy more considered items at the beginning of a season, rather than taking a scatter gun approach to the sales racks.

“I call it pay and pray,” says Crowley, who operates StyleSense in Sydney. “Customers are tired of buying a lot and praying it will work.”

“Clients who have experience with the pitfalls of shopping have come to realise that it’s about paying attention to your own physique and needs rather than paying attention to the noise of the fashion industry. They would have you believe that one top can suit 500,000 people.”

“Customers that invest in better pieces, that they are confident will work for them, are saving money in the long term.”

What about trends such as crochet tops, peplum jackets and sheer dresses, dangled in front of by advertisers and influencers?

“Trend isn’t always a dirty word,” Crowley says. “Some trends become classics. Look at white sneakers. Now everyone’s wearing them. You just have to buy the correct pair.”

Top 5 picks of the new season from fashion experts to guide your next, considered purchase.

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