Walking through the doors I instantly feel at home. The friendly faces, the comforting feeling of familiarity combined with the excitement of the unknown leaves me with a feeling I can’t quite describe. The energy of the people around me puts me in a frame of mind I don’t seem to get anywhere else. You may think I’m describing walking through the doors of my own home, rather I’m talking about walking through the doors of my favorite store. A shopper by nature, I love the thought of spending a Saturday afternoon at the mall or even relaxing on a Friday night, browsing the new arrivals section of my favorite online stores.
For as long as I can remember, even when my parents were buying my clothes I always shopped at the same one or two stores when I visited the mall. These stores became a destination for me a place I looked forward to visiting. They have clothes that I feel truly reflect who I am as a person.
As a kid I remember wearing a bright pink sweatshirt with the large logo on the front with pride; feelings of belonging and importance accompanied my sweatshirt and me on the school jungle gym. At that point in my life buying clothes was more about trying to fit in. The kids I played with all wore clothing of similar styles, I can’t remember if I bought clothes because I liked them or because the particular item was “cool” at the time. Dressing the same as your peers when you were younger gave you a sense of acceptance and belonging, almost like you could conquer the world. Although the pink sweatshirt has been replaced by dress pants and blazers, the clothes I buy now are for added confidence in my career and personal life rather than ruling the playground.
Even still, twenty years later, my friends and I love to chat about our latest purchases. We are all fans of the same designers who make clothing articles of similar styles. Clothing to us is an important reflection of the message we want to send to others about how we take care of ourselves and how we identify with our professional lives.
At this point in my life, I feel like I identify with certain brands. With the goal of creating a personal image that is professional and stylish, I seek out specific brands that create clothing to help me establish myself with confidence as I start my professional career.
This to some degree represents a level of brand loyalty. I am a “loyal” shopper at the stores that carry brands I like simply because I feel as if they have been loyal to me as a consumer. When I purchase an article of clothing from one of my favorite stores, I feel as if I am buying something to help me convey my personality to the world around me.
As a society we are guilty of “judging a book by its cover” when it comes to evaluating the brands that an individual is wearing. Like individuals, brands have personalities they can represent wealth or success, personal values or beliefs. Therefore you have to question if people choose brands based on their social status or they choose brands because the genuinely like the product. The next time you are shopping take a moment to consider if you really like the item you are buying or if you are buying it because you like what it represents.
Claire Chabassol is a Bachelor of Public Relations student at Mount Saint Vincent University. She is completing a co-op work placement at Pure Project Relations in Sydney, Nova Scotia where she has been assisting the team with daily work projects including writing newsletters, communication plans and news releases.