Why you shouldn't feel guilty about shopping

Blair Waldorf, not one to feel guilty about shopping.

Blair Waldorf, not one to feel guilty about shopping.

There was a time when I was talking with Harper's Bazaar Australia's editor, Kellie Hush, and she said something wonderful: ''I don't ever feel guilty about shopping.''

At that moment, I think I saw a glow radiate from her as if she had just handed down one of the new 10 commandments.

Because we do feel bad about shopping, sometimes to an extent that's baffling.

The guilt turns into elaborate lies and deception. This habit is rife on The Purse Forum, where women admit to each other the furtive removal of price tags, the careful deductions when a husband, boyfriend or parent asks what something costs, and the blatant fibs that something is old when it is in fact new season and bought at full price.


Before you know it, you're acting like you're trying to hide your pyramid scheme or your drug running, not something as simple as a new purchase.

But why do we feel so bad? Especially if we're spending our own hard-earned cash?

You should feel guilty if you're spending the proceeds of crime.

You should feel bad if you're shopping for the fur of baby pandas.

You should feel guilty if you're buying conflict diamonds or goods made under sweatshop conditions.

You should feel bad if you keep buying so many mink coats you cannot afford to feed yourself.

But you should not feel guilty if you're a grown woman spending your own money and not incurring massive debts.

You should not feel bad if you're supporting the Australian fashion industry, or buying products by local artisans, or picking up something with green credentials.

I grew up thinking that nothing should be bought at full price and felt crushed by guilt when I did just that.

But you know what? Sales hunting doesn't always work. In sales, you might nab something because it's sort of OK, it's there, it's 50 per cent off, hey, it kind of fits. And it's better than anything else on the table.

Then, of course, you don't wear it because you didn't ever love it and you feel guilty about that, too. You would have been better off coming to the table at the start of the season when the choicest picks were there, grabbing whatever it is that makes your heart skip a beat, then prancing off into the sunset, guilt-free.

Thanks for the lesson, Kellie.