For years, our parents dress us & buy most of our clothes. They tell us--or model--how to dress for important events, how to dress to fit into society, how to dress to make a certain impression.
Then one day you make your first clothing purchase on your own. Do you remember that purchase?
I remember mine. It was a purse. I was traveling with my parents; I don't remember what city we were in, but it might have been Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was probably around 12. I didn't tell anyone I was going. I walked around the corner from the hotel to a small boutique, really more like a souvenir shop. There was a rounder of purses (much like a rounder of postcards), & I found one I liked. I think it was light brown, & I'm pretty sure it had a cross-body strap like I'd wear today. I bought it & felt so grown up! I had a rush of all the feelings that come with shopping--a lift, pride, vanity, empowerment, ownership. It started me down a path of buying things for myself to feel that lift, perhaps the start of an addiction.
"Carrie passed along the busy aisles, much affected by the remarkable displays of trinkets, dress goods, stationery, and jewelry.... She could not help feeling the claim of each trinket and valuable upon her personally, and yet she did not stop. There was nothing there which she could not have used--nothing which she did not long to own. The dainty slippers and stockings, the delicately frilled skirts and petticoats, the laces, ribbons, hair-combs, purses, all touched her with individual desire."
In high school, my parents still bought most of my clothes, but I would walk down to The Yellow Front store, about a mile from my house, & buy my own jeans--Levi's 501s, of course!
In college, I worked at The Limited & put the bulk of my paycheck right back into the store, so most of my clothes came from there. I was still feeling that lift when I bought something new & often the buyer's regret afterwards. I began to indulge in shopping, follow trends, develop my own style.