Retail Therapy: a term for shopping for yourself in order to achieve a sensation of of happiness and stress relief.
I’ll admit, I’ve definitely resorted to ‘retail therapy’ on a number of occasions. I don’t know what it is about shopping that can instantly make you feel better. It’s almost like a drug.
Sometimes the cure for a really bad day can be as simple as going into shops, trying on clothes, and making a purchase.
During this recession, it can seem frivolous to resort to retail therapy. However, I’ve discovered that it doesn’t have to put a huge dent in your wallet.
London is often cited as one of the world’s most expensive cities. Coming from the United States, the exchange rate isn’t in my favor—the pound is currently about 1.6 to a dollar.
Despite this, I’ve found some great ways to shop in London on even the most meager budget.
SHOPPING AT MARKETS
Camden Market is one of my favorite places to go shopping in London. You can easily spend hours getting lost in the market, and looking through all of the different clothing stalls.
One great thing about Camden Market is that you can haggle prices there. If the stall owner tells you that something is 20 pounds, say you’ll pay 10 pounds, and then haggle until a fair price is agreed upon.
I recently purchased a 100% cashmere sweater, and a vintage dress, for 12 pounds total!
At Camden Market, it’s best to look around different stalls before settling on a purchase, as you can often find cheaper prices for similar clothes.
Portobello Road is also a great outdoor market for a dose of retail therapy. It’s less geared towards clothing, but that’s not to say you can’t find good clothing deals there.
The last time I went, I found a store in which every clothing item was 5 pounds. I’d much rather pay 5 pounds than 30 pounds for something similar at a place on the high street.
MONEY VS. QUALITY
There are some people who love to flaunt designer clothing. For me, I get so much more satisfaction from spotting a good bargain than wasting money on one single item.
Why blow all of your money on one upscale item, when you can get an entire outfit—and accessories—for even less money?
Some people argue that it’s all about quality. If it’s cheap, it won’t last long. However, I’ve had cheap items of clothing that have lasted years. As long as you take care of them, you can get a lot of wear.
Charity shops are another great way to find a bargain. They are dotted all over London. You may have to spend some time digging through the racks, but there are always gems to be found.
One last tip for any of you considering retail therapy: don’t buy it unless you love it. If you’re unsure about something when you try it on, hold out for something else. It’s a waste to spend money on something that you might not even end up wearing.