Shopping- quite literally a mixed bag for most of us. Some of us love shopping, some of us loathe shopping, some of us avoid it like the plague, and some of us embrace it like breathing. Emotions, finances, stress, time, and countless other factors can affect our shopping experience, but taking a methodical and organised approach to shopping can help improve the experience, lead to a more cohesive wardrobe, and possibly even save you money (and time)!
I know that shopping can be a disheartening and difficult experience for many people, especially if you see aspects of your body as “problem areas”, and I struggle with that as much as the next person. My approach is two-pronged: 1) shop for a good fit NOW, not for the shape you will be when you lose whatever weight you are hoping to lose, and 2) repeatedly remind yourself that your shape is not good or bad, it is just a body- clothing at a particular store might be made with your body in mind, but it does not mean that there is anything wrong with you. If you happen to be outside of a changing room that I am, you may have even heard me say “It’s not you, it’s the shirt/skirt/dress”. (Actually saying the words can help drive that home.) When I am shopping for jeans, I expect that I will have to try on fifteen to twenty pairs of jeans to find a pair that I like- it doesn’t mean that I’m lesser because seventeen pairs didn’t fit, it just means that they weren’t for me. Also, if you go with the mindset that it will be awful and nothing will fit- it will be awful and nothing will fit. Stay positive and go in with neutral opinions!
Find Your Wardrobe Holes
I’m a huge fan of going through your entire wardrobe is and figuring out what “holes” exist in your wardrobe. These should be permanent pieces that you can use for years, not trendy pieces that will look out of date in a season or two. Do you not have a nice cocktail dress that you can wear to a networking event or a wedding? Maybe you don’t have any long-sleeved blouses but you live in a colder climate and work in an office that isn’t casual. Perhaps you have always wanted a tan trench coat to wear instead of your standard rain jacket. No matter what it is, evaluate your wardrobe and know what pieces are “missing”- this is will help you focus your shopping. I used to be terrible for just “going shopping”- not for anything in particular, just to go shopping. And while I don’t have a hoarding problem, I would end up with one to three random new items that I didn’t need and possibly didn’t actually work in my wardrobe. Now that I stay on top of what I need, I’ve eliminated a lot of needless spending (and kept space clear)!
Do Your Research
Because you will hopefully have an idea of what you actually need for your wardrobe, you have the luxury of doing your research before you go out to look! If you are looking on the store’s website, get familiar with the garment details: do you like the fabric used? Does it need to be dry-cleaned? Are those pockets actual pockets? If the item doesn’t meet your base requirements to start with, there is no point to going all the way to the store to try it on, as you know you shouldn’t be purchasing it. Also, research will help you determine whether the item you are considering is a permanent piece or a seasonal. If it is a permanent piece, you don’t necessarily need to purchase it at this moment; if it is a seasonal piece, you might need to get on that sooner rather than later. If nothing else, doing your research may help you find a sale that you may have otherwise missed!
Learn to Say No
This is a harder lesson that I’m still learning, but we all have to be better at saying no. Don’t accept something that doesn’t work for our body type or our lifestyle simply because “it’s suuuuuuch a good deal“, because it isn’t actually a good deal. If you love the shape of something but not the colour, don’t compromise. If you would have to restructure the majority of an item with a tailor to make it work for you, leave it behind. And if it is poor quality, don’t even consider it. Yes, most of don’t have an unlimited budget for clothing but if you have to replace your $3 t-shirt every two months (for $18 for the year), you may as well have purchased the $15 shirt and saved yourself the money and time. You also have to learn to say no to shopping sometimes. If you are angry, upset, stressed, or hurried, say no to shopping and go on another day. As someone who is currently struggling a lot, this is not the time for shopping. Emotional purchases rarely work out (in any arena, not just clothing), and no, shopping is not a form of therapy despite what the Shopaholic books and Sex and the City show would have you believe. Just because the store is there does not mean you have to visit it!
Do you make a plan for when you shop?