Sorry for the forum hogging. I’m ill and with time on my hands this weekend and I’m enjoying catching up with you all.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the relationship between my shopping habits and how it relates to my personal style. This probably sounds like a no-brainer, but in the two years I’ve been a participant on this forum I’ve come to think that the relationship between the two is far more complex than I might have guessed.

In her book “I <3 your style” Amanda Brooks says something to the effect that behind every well-dressed woman there are some seriously smart shopping strategies. This observation rang very true to me, and I’ve been examining my own habits ever since.

Science has proven that shopping is addictive. This is not news and it’s a hazard that everyone who enjoys clothing will recognise. I’m no more immune than anyone else, and while I adore shopping as part of my lifelong passion for all things sartorial, I need to stay aware of its pitfalls.

Viva started a great thread about this a while back, and I posted a rundown of how I deal with it. There are two points here in particular that I think have influenced my shopping behaviour more than anything else, and they are a) raising the bar by dressing well every day, and b) stalking high ticket items. I was completely unsurprised that Viva and Lisap immediately picked up on these as useful tips because they work incredibly well.

This is only part of a bigger picture though.

I see my clothes as an extension of myself, a form of non-verbal communication with the outside world if you like. But I also have a strong emotional connection with what I wear and the retail transaction is part of that. Furthermore, and I know this sounds like whimsy, I like it when the things I use have a story of their own, and don’t feel like an anonymous industrial product. This is kind of absurd, because most clothing nowadays is exactly that, and there’s not much wrong with that. I just love it when it isn’t.

A lot of this comes from a lifetime of shopping vintage and making things for myself. But I realised the other day that so much of what I put on or otherwise keep about me are those kinds of things. More or less everything I reach for, those things that put me in that happy space, are exactly that. This is why I love unique pieces from tiny ateliers and why I can’t resist a bench made shoe for example. But it also leads me to hunt down shops where I can buy from people who share my enthusiasm, with some knowledge about the product they are selling. I’m fortunate to live in a city with a number of retailers like this, but they are few and far between.

The funny thing is that with regard to how I look, this is very much a chicken and egg situation. I used to think my shopping habits reflected my personal style, but now I’m starting to think it’s the other way around. Now I’m wondering how I’d look if I eliminated this emotional component and shopped differently.

What about you guys? How do your shopping habits influence your look? Would you do it any other way and how would you look if you did?