When you’re young, fashion and style matter. You constantly compare yourself and your wardrobe to what the other kids wear (“Mom, if you get me the bargain brand, I will totally get laughed out of school. Other kids wear the real thing!”) and feel sub-human when someone judges you by your logos and labels, rather than how you actually look on any given day. Advertising never helped. We were and are bombarded by reminders that regardless of expense, some names promoted by some celebrities are going to make you feel better about yourself.
As you age, you realize that little about fashion and style in the media matches real life. You’re not spending your time lounging on a yacht in tighty designer whities, perched on a Roman fountain resplendent in pricey resort wear or swooshing through the Swiss Alps attached to ski gear costing more than a month’s mortgage payment. You still need underwear, casual clothes and sporting equipment, but not an entire paycheck’s worth. You’ve (mostly) traded the opulent for the ordinary. You’ve moved into comfort mode.
There’s nothing wrong with splurges on the decadently expensive dark side if your budget can handle it. I have a “glam squad” to whom I turn to keep my hands and nails happily manicured, the hair on my head reasonably tamed and my body hair removed. And I do invest in expensive running shoes; these feet have been hitting pavement long enough to need good ones. But clothes shopping? I never did consider that retail therapy. It’s more like retail torture. I’ll shop if I need to replace items, or for a special occasion. But even idle window shopping is a wicked bore. I wait for sales, look for coupons and shop against the current season for the best deals. Aside from that, my clothes horse is more like well-used nag standing quietly in the barn, not bothering anybody and in need of nothing more than minimal feeding and occasional petting.