Going shopping and spending money to buy clothes is not that difficult. Anyone can do it. To shop effectively, however, one needs what I call the right shopping mindset. The result will be wardrobe items that you love and wear for years because they contribute to stylish looks that make you feel proud. An effective shopping mindset involves a combination of strategy, impulse control and patience.
Strategy is being clear about what you need before you even enter the store. For example, you might need an outfit for an upcoming special occasion, such as a trip or a wedding. A common strategy is to target a specific piece needed to complete a new look from existing pieces in your wardrobe. In this situation, consider taking pieces with you to the store when seeking to round out a look. Often, when you’re just tired of what’s in your closet, strategy means giving thought to what types of occasions require some new looks, and establishing a shopping budget to fill in these gaps. Being strategic may also involve timing and value, in which case you may want to wait for an upcoming sale at your favorite store, or check out sales at stores new to you. Savvy shoppers actually calendar sales at favorite stores and boutiques to take advantage of these great opportunities.
Discipline is the second element of an effective shopping mindset. It takes discipline to stay on task in stores filled with lots of pretty things. Many of us are drawn to clothing similar to pieces we already own because we know they work well for us. In that case we risk ending up with a closet filled with repetitive items (see Stop Repeating the Same Purchase). Similarly, we’ve all got purchases that looked ‘fun’ by themselves in the store, but we don’t really know how best to wear them. Fun pieces that don’t fit into any looks are a waste of time and money because they don’t get worn. Resisting the urge to buy these items is not always easy, but it’s smart. Styles, colors, and fabrics must work together to create coordinated looks. When you find a ‘fun’ piece that looks great on you, the question is how hard are you willing to work to create a complete look with it? It takes discipline.
Patience is the final element of an effective shopping mindset. Patience is critical when you’ve been out shopping all day and have nothing to show for it. You’re tired of looking, you feel weary of the hunt, and you succumb to ‘good enough’. You walk out of the store with clothing you neither love nor fits into your existing wardrobe. Ask yourself, if you only have a limited number of dollars to spend this month on clothing, is this the item you want more than anything else? The answer is usually no. Better to leave making no purchase, but having a clear sense of what is available in that store for future ventures. Think of it as reconnaissance that will pay dividends later.
By adopting an effective shopping mindset you will gain confidence in future shopping ventures. Best of luck and let me know how it goes.