“My guess,” he added, “is that we buy the things we’d like to wear in a perfect world, but then we get back to our world and realize it’s not possible. Unfortunately we hold on to that [mistaken] idea past the 30-day return policy.”
Vivek Patel, co-owner of Vira boutique, on Charles Street, is among those who get sucked in by a store’s atmosphere — even though he’s in the business himself. “Music is a big thing for me,” Patel said, “so if the music is really happening, and the people in the store seem happy and cheery, I might not even have money but I need to leave with something. I want to bring the fun home.”
“It makes me feel better,” he said — except when he realizes what he bought doesn’t really fit or he doesn’t like it. “Then it’s a different story.”
I love the idea of blaming retailers for my own failings. Or better yet — individual garments. And, I’m apparently not the only one. That phenomenon is so common — and misguided — that a marketing expert has a term for it. “Scapegoating,” is the term used by Alastair Tombs, a lecturer in marketing at Queensland University in Australia. “People do transfer their emotions to their clothing,” he said in an e-mail.
(As Shakespeare might have said: The fault is not in our 7 for all Mankind jeans, but in ourselves.)
For example: One woman Tombs interviewed wore new clothes to go on a date with her boyfriend, only to have him end the relationship that night. “When she got home she threw off her clothes into a corner, and they sat there for about a month,” he wrote.
“She said she would never wear them again. This behavior appears to be a coping mechanism where people will transfer the negative emotions to their clothing in some form of cathartic experience.”
Back in Boston, Lauren Beckham Falcone, a WROR radio personality, also has a very charged relationship with her wardrobe. “All mistakes,” she said of the many unworn miniskirts, skinny jeans, and endless satin and ruffled tops, which she keeps buying and not wearing.
“It’s like dating someone, breaking up, and getting back together only to realize you are terrible for each other,” she said. “Then you see each other across Macy’s and you think, maybe this time. My wardrobe’s soundtrack should be a Taylor Swift CD.”