Mimetic desire

This phrase is something I heard at a talk I recently went to. The context it was used in had to do with how Asian spices were thought of such luxuries in Europe (before colonization, etc.). The demand existed because people viewed them with desire and thus they were considered exotic.  “Mimetic desire’ refers to that human instinct we have to crave things that we see. I think we’re all guilty of it. We see that handbag all over our Instagram, or how florals are back now that Spring is here. We go and satisfy that craving soon after. Sometimes with fast fashion, etc.  The issue with it all, is that we’re never really left satisfied. The moment we see something new, we’re left craving yet another item to fill our closet with.


These thoughts really led me to think about how I can apply mindfulness to shopping. Shopping is definitely something that I enjoy, and it can be to a fault sometimes. We all have those moments of perusing the sale section (unnecessarily), or spending extra time looking through the entire store. I’m sure this is one thing that contributes to some of us having a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear.


‘Mindfulness Shopping’

Just like when practicing mindfulness, we take a moment to absorb the moment, and take note of everything going on in our surrounding, we can do this too when we get too caught up in the moment of making a purchase that we may regret later. FYI today’s outfit is all actually things that I’ve had for a while!


When you catch yourself shopping without a purpose, perhaps because the item is cute, cheap, a good deal, etc. here are some steps to take.

  1. Take a moment and close your eyes. Remove yourself from the present moment.
  2. Open your eyes and objectively examine what you are about to purchase.
  3. Remove the emotion from the moment. Ask yourself why you should buy that cute skirt
    • Is it something you were just immediately drawn to and had to pick up?
    • Is it something you want because you’ve seen others with it?
    • Is it something that you’ve consciously thought about purchasing before this moment?
  4. I would also think about whether or not you have something similar already. I know I have a tendency to forget what I already have when I’m shopping in haste. It is seriously the worst feeling when you come home excited from a purchase, only to find out that you already have something like it.

I think if we just take a few moments to be present in the moment, and ask ourselves why, we can  save ourselves a good bit of money, AND  make more conscious decisions about how we spend it.



 Blazer- old from H&M// cami and jeans – LOFT

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