S06 Episode 276 | Fashion psychology, contextualizing our buying behaviors amidst today's *speed* & how shopping is not equal to happiness


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In episode 276, Kestrel welcomes Dr. Dion Terrelonge, a chartered psychologist, to the show. A researcher and stylist, Dion’s work explores the connection between clothes and human expression.

“We live so much of our lives in clothing and we experience the highest points and the lowest points of our lives often in clothing. So, I really do think the stories and the relationships are there, but what has happened, I believe, is with fast fashion and online shopping, is because there is so much clothing being pumped out, this endless conveyor belt of clothes, that we don’t really have as much time to build relationships with our clothing.” -Dion

When you think about shopping, what feelings come up for you?

One emotion that tends to surface for a lot of us is HAPPINESS. We have come to a place where we often align the act of shopping with a state of happiness.

I mean, I can definitely understand the alignment between shopping and emotions. As Dion reminds us, there have been a lot of narratives that have reinforced this – statements like *retail therapy* or thinking of shopping as a fun form of entertainment.

I can point to many instances in my past where buying something was absolutely connected to wanting to make myself feel better, to wanting to find joy through the act of buying something.

But this alignment so many of us have – that shopping = happiness – is problematic in so many ways and in the end, isn’t accurate.

Dion, a chartered psychologist, sheds light on the arc of happiness or self determination theory. She reminds us that while some of the elements that intersect with shopping may bring us happiness, the act of buying stuff isn’t it.

Maybe the time you spend with friends while shopping makes you happy. Maybe putting on a garment that was handed over to you from your mom makes you happy. Maybe owning and embracing your personal style makes you happy. But buying another item isn’t it.

Throughout our conversation, Dion also helps contextualize a lot about our shopping behaviors, especially when it comes to the speed of today’s buying culture, so we can find ways to become more consciously engaged in our own lives.

Quotes & links from the conversation:

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