Why do we buy mental clothes on-line?


According to the holy grail of horrible news, the Daily Mail, women buy crazier items of clothing on-line than they would in an actual non-virtual shop made with bricks and mortar. This is hardly news to me, but it does strike a chord. A bizarre chemical reaction happens in the left side of my brain when I have a screen in front of me and a mouse in my hand,  OK there is usually a glass of Rioja close by too.

Faced with the 8 foot 5 stone fillies modelling the threads at asos.com my celebrity story addled brain tells me that what they are wearing will look good on me. I am a person virtually half their height , who has boobs and hips and calves, and varicose veins, but that’s another story.

If I were in an actual shop I would walk past the boxy fluffy cardigans as they would quite obviously dwarf my small frame and do nothing for my curves. Think a freaky tiny Big Bird. But when looking online at ASOS, the statuesque blonde model with legs like a racehorse resembles Sienna Miller when she wore a similar item just after her ill-fated reunion with Jude . I remember the photos of her coming out of a cab after a dinner at the Ivy, she looked amazing. ‘Click’ the cardigan is in my basket.

Sienna Miller is also to blame for the suede tasselled waistcoat that I bought online, believing I would throw it over the floral maxi dresses that I NEVER wear. I don’t in any way look like Sienna Miller and I don’t in anyway suit suede waistcoats. So why the devil would I purchase one?

It’s easy to get carried away and imagine ourselves in certain scenarios while we’re sitting in our pyjamas, munching kettle chips, and cruising the online shopping sites looking for our next click.  When I bought the waistcoat I visualized an airbrushed version of myself frolicking around at a festival with flowers in my hair, living out a Sienna style boho lifestyle. The truth is I hardly ever go to festivals ( Portaloos are, frankly, barbaric) and flowers are my nemesis due to hay fever.

In the cold light of a changing room, when there’s teens shouting to one another, dance music blaring, babies wailing, and the air turned up too hot, I can look in the mirror and see that the waistcoat looks shit. No need for visualisation, forget the 6 foot version of myself,  it’s there in reality. Staring back at me is a woman wearing a waistcoat that doesn’t close properly.

The trouble with online shopping is it allows our imagination to run riot, and we feel disassociated from the payment process –  its all a bit abstract. We take more risks, and sometimes risks pay off and other times they don’t. The wonderful thing is that we have consumer rights and, so long as it’s within 28 days of purchase, we can package that sequinned yashmack up and send it right back to from whence it came.

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