Let’s be honest, if you’re reading this, you probably like shopping. Probably because shopping for clothing can be a euphoric experience, finding that perfect trench coat you have been on the hunt for or coming across the last pair of ankle booties in your size. But shopping can also be a tedious experience if you don’t know what you are looking for, are overwhelmed by all the choices or simply don’t have the time to browse every store and try things on.
There are many affordable clothing stores out there and for those of us who love to shop regularly on an average household income, these stores make up the bulk of our wardrobe. This is great right? We have a large closet full of options that we paid a fraction of the cost the high-end luxury brands charge. We could wear a completely different item every day of the month without ever needing to put in a load of laundry.
The problem with this is all these inexpensive items are essentially “cheap thrills”, they quell our desire for something new in our closet but just as quickly the novelty of that item has dissipated and we are left wanting again. Am I suggesting giving up shopping? I would never utter something so preposterous, it is, afterall one of my truly loved hobbies. What I am suggesting though, is to slow things down and take time to ponder items, delay gratification, revel in that thrill of the chase just a little bit longer.
Here are my tips for shopping slower, smarter and way more upper brow:
Figure out what you want, what you really, really want
You might not want to hear this but I’m going to say it anyway; know your style. There is no sense going out and buying items randomly if you don’t have a plan for how you will wear them. If you want to look put-together you must be able to visualize how each new item can be worn with items you already own. Having a colour-palette of neutrals with one or two signature bright colours can help you make sure that items will pair together easily. Patterns are great but make sure they match your colour scheme as well.
Make a wish list and don’t hold back
Plan the details, I cannot stress this enough. Going out window shopping on a whim is fine for doing important “outfit-recon” but going out and just impulse buying a bunch of stuff you just set eyes on for the first time is asking for “buyers remorse” or a “shopping hangover” if you will. Go online and build a wishlist (screenshots or a Pinterest board work well) look through and mull over all the possibilities of the things you want and need to make your wardrobe great.
Take a double-pronged approach
Gone are the days where you are limited to buying from the stores in your local mall, with the advent of online shopping, the sky is really the limit in terms of brand options. Having a global shopping mall at your fingertips is wonderful but it can also be disadvantageous for a few reasons (no human interaction, no opportunity to assess fabric, fit, cut or quality of the clothing and can be hazardous to your credit card if you tend to go click-crazy). Going to a store on the other hand offers the opposite of those problems but also has its own set of drawbacks; lower stock, more limited selection, busy crowds, set hours of operation, strollers everywhere (literally everywhere, and I have kids but taking them shopping is not in any way enjoyable). I recommend, trying things in-store to get a feel for the brand (fit, fabrics and quality) then order online and use E-bates while you’re at it (save yourself some $$$).
Consider Cost Per Wear
Some people think that spending $300 plus for a pair of heels is preposterous and I have definitely spent many years thinking the exact same thing. It is a lot of money to spend on just one item for your wardrobe but you can also look at it from a different perspective. For example, if you really love a specific item you bought, wear it on repeat constantly and it remains in good condition, you’ll likely feel it was money well-spent. Building a wardrobe that is infused with high-quality or even luxury pieces takes time and money but if you are patient your efforts will pay off and you are left with a closet full of clothes that satisfy your style. Cost per wear is a formula used to describe the cost of the item divided by the number of times you will wear that item, this is not necessarily a means to justify extravagant purchases but rather a barometer with which to evaluate the accuracy of your past fashion choices. CPW can also be a predictor of the value in a potential future purchase. Basically if you love it, it’s well made and you will wear it often throughout the year – buy it.
Trend at Your Own Risk
Trends are great, they are fun, they are all over Instagram but they are fleeting. Most people will suggest buying trendy items from “The High Street” or the more affordable retailers and I agree with this. Trends come and go, the more sparingly and selectively you can hop on each band wagon the better. It means less money spent on clothing you won’t wear and more money in your pocket for things like food, travel and savings. Trends can usually be mimicked using items you already have, so roll up your sleeves, dig around in your closet and see what you come up with!
That’s it! My formula for building a wardrobe of favourites, I hope you like these tips and are able to apply them to your own shopping! Let me know in the comments below how you plan to shop in 2018.
Just a side note, the suit that I’m wearing in this post was purchased from Mango eight years ago when I lived in Melbourne, it was a splurge for me at the time but the quality is impeccable and the cut is perfect for my body. Quality items, carefully chosen will last in your closet.
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