Is Buying New Clothes Really Making Us Happy?

“Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness, clearly didn’t know where to shop”

We’ve all heard that saying and most likely had thought in the same way, because yes, there’s always that feeling of joy and adrenaline after purchasing an item, but does this mean that we have achieved happiness then?


Studies on the subject had proved that the general answer is no.

Let’s take the Easterlin paradox as an example. Research from 1974, named after its creator Richard Easterlin, focuses on the investigation of the impact of economic growth on the population’s global happiness. Showing results that despite the formidable economic growth the United States experienced from 1946 to 1970, its population’s happiness has remained stable, as if a better purchasing power and life quality didn’t conclude in a happiness rise. 

Could it be possible that purchasing more wouldn’t lead to being happier?

It has also been proven that shopping does give an instant gratification after we buy something, and that is exactly what we’re feeling, that blast of adrenaline running throughout our veins making us think that we are happy, and we probably are, but for like just an instant and then it goes away and what we often feel like afterward is the hangover-like feeling of after shopping, the regrets of money spending on something that we didn’t really need and just bought for the sakes of buying. 

It’s like eating junk food, we know it’s bad for our bodies, but we still do it because it tastes and feels good in the moment. Shopping creates the same sensations and that’s why we continue and can’t get out of that vicious circle.

 In a 2017 article from Forbes, they talked about this instant gratification and how the quest for any consumer is to feel satisfied and to feel it now and that we are wrongly looking for that gratification in materials when we should be looking for it in more deep and meaningful ways because at the end materials don’t lead us to achieve a greater personal fulfilling.


They mention a study as well from Professor Marsha Richings, from the University of Missouri, named “When wanting is better than having”. Basically, our emotions increase before making a purchase rather than during or after. Take online shopping for an instance, the shopping is easy, just one click and we’re all good, but before that click we have the research, we could spend hours looking for the perfect product to get, putting all our attention into getting it and hoping it would be the perfect fit, and when we finally find it and make the purchase, there’s the waiting time until its physically ours, but it’s that waiting that makes us feel more excited, we daydream about it, counting the days until we get to have in our hands.  

 Marketing clearly doesn’t help us to stop it but actually encourage us to shop more, We see ads everywhere, on the streets, the metro, on TV, on our phones, today’s world it’s all about consumerism and their approach is to make us think that we are going to be as joyful as the models posing for their publicity advertisings, but the reality is that is all a fantasy, a dream created by the big corporations by psychological playing with our minds and the worst part is that we fall into them.


So how do we stop the obsessive shopping?

Firstly, we need to understand how this circle has been created.

Emotions are the major triggers that lead us to shop. Brands know how to play this game because it’s all about them, they don’t actually sell a product, they sell a feeling.

Stress and sadness would be on the top list. When we feel stressed out, everything around us feels like chaos and that we are not in control of our own environment, so for us to feel like we actually have any kind of control we have the need to spend money and own something; when we feel sad, we rely on that joy we get when we are obtaining something new and shiny.

But we need to remember that those instant feelings when shopping are just that, instant, the emotions we were trying to hide when shopping are going to come back to our reality and we probably will be a little bit calmer, but that is not the solution. In any of those situations, we need to find an alternative to calm ourselves down that will actually help us feel and be better, meditation, yoga, exercise, a walk, a drink with a friend, listening to your favorite music, going to the cinema, it’s the experiences that we need to reach out not the materials.

We need to slow down and start thinking smart. “Do I need to buy those pair of shoes? I love those ‘J’adore Dior’ commercials, but do I really need to buy that new fragrance when I haven’t finished mine?”

Think about it properly, what does make you happy? And instead of impulsive shopping, treat yourself in a more conscious and realistic way.

shopping happy

We need to understand too that shopping is not all evil and wrong, but we must learn how to do it properly.

We consume more than what we need, and thinking about it in a sustainable way, the planet cannot keep affording that kind of consumerism. More demand requires more production which eventually leads to pollution and waste and the fashion industry is considered the second largest polluter in the world.


Do you want to feel happy when shopping? Do it consciously. In the previous article, we gave you insights on how to find an ethical brand. Clothing is a human necessity, but don’t shop out of anxiety, do it out of pleasure and find within that pleasure, the satisfaction of helping the planet with the way you consume.


A study from the University of British-Columbia showed that not only the act of purchasing leads us to momentaneous satisfaction but can also do it to long-term happiness. They studied opposed the purchase of a one-off experience such as a concert, and a tangible purchase such as a dress. And even though the first one provides a bigger feeling of happiness on a short momentum, the second will keep its purchaser happier for as long as it will use it, despite the natural decline over time.


In our opinion, buying experiences can lead us to be happier, depending on which kind of experience it is and how much of a positive impact can have on our lives. But the study also does have a point when it comes to purchasing a product that we can use regularly and for a long period of time, which in this case Fast fashion is clearly out of the way and sustainable buying makes its entrance. 


Owning a product that you know it’s going to last for a few years due to its high quality can be completely satisfying and bring a bit of joy every time you are using it, it got you excited to search for it, to buy it and it’s going to keep making you excited to see it age properly and making the best use of it. If you’re looking to mix up feelings with your shopping, those are the ones that you should look for, not the ones that make you feel good for one day, and then it’s gone, and you must start all over again.

And finally, but not least, in the terms of sustainable shopping, you can also find that sort of pleasure while buying vegan clothing. Do you really think it would make you happy to buy a product that is produced out of animal abuse and suffering? Wouldn’t make you feel more satisfied and in peace knowing that you’re not only shopping for something that you actually need, but that is also ethically made, cruelty-free and vegan?

fake photoshoot ethical brands fashion vegan

Ethically shopping it’s not just about you, it’s about the brand, the workers, the planet, the animals.

And so, it’s happiness, you know you’re not happy when someone close to you it’s not, and that we’re you are supper happy you want to share it with the world. That’s what shopping should be like as well, to get but also to give.

georgina servin
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