How We Can Become Better Shoppers

Posted by Jill Chivers in Attitudes and Habits, Shopping Strategies, Shopping, Clothes and Emotions

This is the third and final article in a series.  In an upcoming article for a large fashion and style blog, I was asked what the common mistakes are that women make when shopping (for that first article click here), what common items women purchase that they just don’t wear (and for the second article click here), and finally how we can become better shoppers.   My responses were shortened for that article so here is my longer response.

How We Can Become Better Shoppers

Know what you need before you go shopping

Don’t make shopping a random event – make a plan before you go shopping, and stick to that plan.  What legitimate wardrobe gaps do you have?  What ‘connection’ pieces do you need that will expand your outfit choices, if you were to locate and add that piece to your wardrobe?  What else do you truly need to add to a truly working wardrobe

When you shop this way, you’ll never bring home an ‘orphan’ that doesn’t work in your wardrobe, with other items you have, or with your lifestyle and personality again!

If it's not you... if it doesn't fit a wardrobe gap ... leave it behind!

If it’s not you… if it doesn’t fit a wardrobe gap … leave it behind!

Never buy an item just because it’s only sale

If you wouldn’t consider buying it at full price, seriously consider leaving it behind or at least putting it back on the shelf for a few hours until your head cools and you can consider if you truly have use and need for it.  The word “sale” truly can be a 4-letter word and it attracts our attention (and raises our heart rates) like few other words in the retail environment (perhaps only when added to the word “shoe” does it have greater appeal!). 

It doesn’t matter if it’s 80% off – if you won’t wear it, it doesn’t fit you properly (and can’t be altered relatively easily and inexpensively to fit you), and it doesn’t suit your lifestyle and personality, it is a waste of money.  Leave it behind – you deserve better.

Never buy anything just because it's on sale!

Never buy anything just because it’s on sale!

Put shopping in its rightful place in your life

Of course it’s okay to enjoy the occasional shopping trip, just don’t make it your favourite or only hobby, or the only activity you do with your friends.  Develop other interests, have at least two “shopping free” weekends a month, and start a list of “love to do” activities apart from shopping.  You’ll be amazed at how rich and interesting life can be – outside of the mall!

And if you are looking for ideas to inspire your life instead of shopping, check out the Shop Less And Live More set of inspirational daily postcards.

Get inspired to live your life fully - not spend it mindlessly

Get inspired to live your life fully – not spend it mindlessly

Consider shopping only when you can shop alone

Many of us have ‘partners in crime’ with girlfriends, sisters, mothers, daughters – women who, often with the best of intentions, encourage us to buy more than we want, need or can possibly use, and we can end up feeling a lot of social pressure to buy when we are shopping with these wonderful women. 

I hope you enjoyed this short series.  And if you want to get control of your shopping, or simply shine the gentle light of awareness on a habit you may not ever have consciously thought about before, join our 6 Week Conscious Clothes Shopping Mini Course, or our longer My Year Without Clothes Shopping program today!

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    6 Responses to “How We Can Become Better Shoppers”

    1. Rosario E. Gamble says:

      Maria Luczak: I am a 24-year-old Elementary school teacher from NW Illinois. Growing up, I was a hand-me-down queen, wore anything and everything that fit my plump body. I also had/have a continual itch for change. Clothes change = not the best combination! When I was in university, I would frequent trips to the local “give-a-way” piles at each dorm, “shopping” till I dropped. This fulfilled my change desires.. and surfaced underlining issues of hoarding (who would’ve guessed). I just love clothes and if I get them for free.. the better it is for my pocket! At this time I became a sales associate for a retail store. To say the least, this did not last long (about 6 months). Although I LOVED working and helping people shop, I recognized that the retail environment was not the best for my impulsive personality. Once I graduated and got my teaching job, I had an excuse to buy a professional wardrobe. Perfect! My investments (clothing) are either on clearance or bargain finds… thus they are always justifiable.. I’ve just come to realize that I could do with a lot less.I am greatly looking forward to this diet. Not purchasing apparel for a whole year will be a challenge, but a good one! It will be a time of self-denial (a purification from the world in a sense), a time for a further growth in confidence (loving my whole being… not the clothes that I wear), a time for frugalness (savings is always great) and creativity (when boredom calls, creativity is the answer!). I will have to find other means to fulfill the distraction that shopping has become.. I truly look forward to what the next year has in store.

      • Jill Chivers says:

        Thank you so much for reading and your comment here. It’s always fascinating to read other people’s potted shopping histories – it’s something that in our My Year Without Clothes Shopping Program that we spend a bit of time on, throughout the Year. When you start exploring your own shopping ‘autobiography’, it can be amazing what you discover about yourself and your shopping habits and attitudes…which of course is the foundation we start with for change. Thanks again for your comment here!

    2. Starr Helms says:

      I am trying to organize my closet by type of clothing (tops together, bottoms together, etc.) and color, so I can plan any necessary shopping better. It’s easier to see what might be missing and what colors are really my core colors.

      I am a bit muddled about organizing my tops. Do you think it makes more sense to hang all the camel-colored tops together, black tops together, colored tops together, etc. and then arrange by sleeve length within that color group, or to hang all the camis, all the sweaters, etc together no matter what color?

      • Jill Chivers says:

        hi there. I’m a huge fan of an organised, and as beautiful a space as you can make it, closet. It makes everything easier – getting dressed in the morning, putting clothing back after laundering, shopping (knowing wht you have before you buy, not buying duplicates, etc), feeling good about what you have. My favourite way of organising is by group/style of clothing and colour. So, all cami’s together, by colour. All tops together, by colour. All pants togehter, by colour. So it’s a ‘double’ organisation system, if you like, as it’s style of clothing and colour. You may only have one item in a certain colour, in which case you could organise by the colour wheel – yellow next to orange next to red next to purple, etc. Very pleasing on the eye, very easy to see what you have, very easy to get ready.

    3. Ernesto Berry says:

      Mistake #3: I meet many women who spend more than they earn on a weekly basis. They are shopping at least weekly, often with friends, and they are adding to their already overfull wardrobes at least once if not multiple times a week. Every week, it’s new shoes, earrings, jackets, suits, skirts, handbags – you name it, they are buying it.

      • Jill Chivers says:

        Thanks so much for your comment. I also meet many women who are spending more than they earn and the stress it’s causing them, either consciously acknowledged or not, is enormous. The most obvious disdvantage to this kind of ongoing consumption pattern is financial, but there are other costs as well, including emotional and psychological. It’s quite heart breaking, and part of my passion has been to help women see that there is an alternative. That you can remain stylish, and even become more stylish, without buying more and more all the time.

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