I was interviewed recently for a piece in very big style and fashion blog. My responses were so long that they had to be sharply curtailed, which I understood – readers often wanting to read a couple of lines, not a page of paragraphs.
But instead of throwing away my longer responses, I thought I’d share them here. This is the first in a series of three articles on common mistakes women make when shopping, followed by article #2 on what are the most common items women buy but don’t wear, and finishing up with the final article on how can we become better shoppers.
Common Mistakes Women Make When Shopping
Shopping can be fun and enjoyable. It can also be overwhelming and confusing even for seasoned shoppers, so the first thing to recognise is that it’s quite common to find shopping an intense and sometimes unsatisfying experience.
I meet a lot of women who find their greatest frustration comes after the shopping trip – when they get their purchases home and discover that they don’t work as well as they hoped or thought they would when they were gazing lovingly at them in the stores.
A common mistake many women make is to not know what they are shopping for before they hit the shops. They have a “fire – aim” approach, rather than “ready – aim – fire” approach. They don’t do what we call a ‘wardrobe review’ before they go shopping, to determine where their gaps are and what they really need.
And even if they do a cursory wardrobe review, they rush in to fill gaps that are better left unfilled for a period of time.
This kind of shopping can often result in a scattered and random approach to shopping, where every alluring table display and rack of new items captures your attention, and you roam from store to store with no overarching plan or strategy in your head.
The result is that you have a much higher chance of bringing home ‘orphans’ that don’t work in your wardrobe as well as you would like, and that don’t coordinate with other items you have, or even items that don’t fit or don’t work with your lifestyle and personality. These are the items that can sit and hang unworn, unused and unloved in your closet, often with the tags still attached.
This is a huge waste and it’s no wonder so many women feel frustrated with their closets, and with shopping, when this happens over and over again.
Another shopping trap that I see many women falling into is to use shopping as their only or favourite default hobby activity. It becomes their favourite “go to” activity and they have very few other hobbies or activities they enjoy doing, apart from shopping.
If you have girlfriends or family who have also turned shopping into a sport, this can be even more dangerous, as you have ‘partners in crime’ who keep you going back to the mall over and over again.
Sure, shopping can be a social and fun activity – there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a shopping trip with girlfriends! The problem arises when it is the only thing you do together, and you do it so frequently that it’s starting to do you financial, emotional or psychological harm.
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.
They simply can’t afford this level of expenditure and as a result their personal finances are in a very precarious situation. What exacerbates this situation is their friends do not know how much they are in financial trouble and they feel unable to disclose how much credit card or store card debt they really are carrying.
It can become a vicious cycle, and one that is shrouded in silence and embarrassment, sometimes shame.
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, join our 6 Week Conscious Clothes Shopping Mini Course, or our longer My Year Without Clothes Shopping program today!