Shopping—How to Do It Properly
First tip: Step away from the credit card…
Cultures that are highly influenced by marketing (and since we are all online now, that means nearly every culture) have turned shopping into a kind of entertainment event or competitive sport—or worse, an addiction. In our ancestors’ day, they shopped for clothes based on what they needed.
Need is the best motivation for shopping, and it goes hand in hand with establishing good budgeting practices. We would argue that sticking to a budget and buying only what you need plays a significant role in developing other good life habits. If you shop as a distraction or to fill some emotional lack, it may take some time for you to embrace this process. But it will be worth it. Shopping with intention makes you appreciate what you buy so much more.
After trying on everything you currently have, you should now have a good idea about what works best for your body, coloring, and personal style. And after creating a few “uniforms,” you’ve likely discovered the gaps in your wardrobe or a few “orphans”—items that don’t go with anything else but were worth saving. Those gaps and orphans will help you clarify what you need. Write down exactly what you need to fill the gaps and match the orphans.
Need, color, and style: These will be the criteria for what you buy. But before you step foot inside another clothing store or click on another site, make a budget. Write down the maximum you will spend in total. Be willing to spend the most you possibly can on the fewest items. Make every purchase the highest quality you can afford. If you have to replace something that is past its usefulness, buy another similar item of higher quality. There is a reason for this. When you wear quality, you feel better about yourself. You project success and optimism about life.
Main Shopping Rules
Now you are prepared to shop. When to do this? Again, your need will determine your timing. But here’s the deal: The best selection is available at the beginning of each season. If you wait for the sales, you are less likely to find your size and color. If you frequent outlet malls, understand that a lot of what they carry is lower quality merchandise specifically manufactured for the mall. And although online sales are tempting, color and size matching is always tricky, and returns can be expensive and time consuming.
And that brings up another important point: how to find a match for your “orphans.” Take them with you. This is a crucial point. You may think that you just need a blue blazer or a pair of tan pants, but there are thousands of shades of blue and tan. Some have warm undertones, some cool. In order to get the best match, you really have to bring the item with you.
Does this allow any room for serendipity? Yes, if you magically discover a perfect item you hadn’t intended to buy. If the unexpected item is in a color you know works for you, if you have been looking for something like it for a long time, if it’s a new style that happens to be your style and you know that the style or color won’t be available next year, sure. Buy it. In fact, you may want to buy multiples. Just stay in your budget. A budget reins in the likelihood of making wanton purchases—and mistakes—on impulse.
In Lesson #8, we’ll learn about looking good in the clothes you wear.
Share with friends