Shopping & Me

Shopping and me have a lifelong love affair.

“There is you, there is me, and then, there is the craving in between.”

Part 1 – The History

I was born in Beijing and raised in a family of four – Mom, Dad, Sister and me. Dad is a professor and mom is a teacher & researcher. 1980s and early 1990s were when China started to open its door to the rest of the world. What came with it were the many new commodities including fashion items, fast food, movies and songs in English, electronic devices, books, so on and so forth, plus the mindset shift.

Mom was not a fashionista by definition, but she had such a wonderful taste that always helped her to stand out among the crowds, and gave her the beyond well put-together look, although she never put on any make ups and didn’t own a string of pearls. Mom is thin, 5’4 tall and has a fairly pale skin. Navy blue and marble green are her favourite colours.

Mom loved reading and going to the bookstores to buy all kinds of self-help books. As much as she loved books, she loved clothes as well. With the limited budget we had when I was a kid, mom often took sister and me to the shopping mall on the weekends. It’s our kind of team-building at that time. Mom would teach us which colours match and which colours clash, what fabric looks cheap and what lasts forever, what kind of design makes a woman looks stylish and why simplicity is always better than the complicated design.

We would shop, talk, laugh, observe and dine out. During those early days, I started to figure out my own fashion formula – nothing luxury but with lots of thoughts going into what image I want to project to the world, and how I want to be perceived.

Two key words for me:

Simplicity & Elegance

Part 2 – The Present

I left my parents’ house when I turned to 18 and went to the university in another city, and then back to Beijing and moved again to another country (Canada). In between, there are many business and leisure trips to different cities and countries.

No matter where I visit or where I live, there is always one thing that I must do – going to the shopping malls, the real ones, not the digital one on your phone that sucks all your dollars away within 5 mins, and without you even touching and feeling the materials.

I mean, how can you possibly resist what comes with the shopping mall experience: the guilty pleasure of getting yet another new pair of black high heels (but this pair looks particularly cute, doesn’t it?) , the immediate gratification of putting on that long but structured cashmere coat in the perfect shade of camel colour, and the exciting feeling when running your fingers through the silky and soft white dresses in Sezane, one or my favourite stores in the universe / Paris.

In a world where minimalism is the new thing, I don’t always come out to tell people that I love going to the malls, but I do. It’s an affair, irresistible and mysterious. You just never know which gorgeous piece you will encounter next time when you are in Club Monaco or Jimmy Choo.

However, I have to admit: I love shopping alone, by myself.

And there is a reason for that.

I need the alone time to listen to my hundreds of audio books while seeing rows and rows of beautiful tops and trendy pants. Every time when I go to the fitting room to try on some new clothes and turn off my audio books for ten minutes, I feel that my mind was somewhere else, was taken away by the empty space around me in that fabric curtained fitting room.

Also, there is a bonus to the shopping mall experience, your Fitbit step counts will go out of the roof as the hours pass by. One store after another, what you gain is not only the deeper understanding about this season’s trend, but also a slimmer body and more calories released.

In addition to work, family and friendship, books and fashion are the two important components in life that keep me grounded and engaged.

Part 3 – The Future

We are in a digital world. While the e-Commerce platforms such as Amazon, TaoBao and eBay seem to be dominating the consumer’s pockets, someone may ask: will the brick-and-motor shopping malls have a future?

The answer is yes.

According to the Forbes article published in May 2018, “hanging at the mall” will take on an entirely new connotation. For example, “shopping center developer Westfield unveiled its “Destination 2028” vision, where malls become “hyper-connected microcities”. AI-infused walkways, eye-scanners that personalize a consumer’s visit, and smart changing rooms will add an “extra-perience” layer for shoppers. But the real advances will come in the form of reimagined retail. Stores will be stages, delivering “classroom retail” – showcasing the makers and processes behind products and brands. Event areas will host showpiece interactive activities and events. Allotments and farms will enable shoppers to pick their own produce.”

Oh, how marvellous the future will be, when we have a full digital enabled retail experience!


Leave a comment below to tell me your relationship with shopping, is it love, hate or indifferent?

3 replies to “Shopping & Me

  1. I really enjoyed this! I’m not a big shopper except for books. I could shop for books for ages. But shopping does bring happy memories of time with my mom so long ago. She had such a great eye. I love the idea of listening to a book while you shop. That’s a great one. 😊


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