I have a…shopping problem. I tend to buy a lot of clothes, accessories, and shoes. Although, in my defense, I tend to only really shop at a few stores, and I wear most items until they are unwearable. In all honesty, the only items I will only wear once or twice are usually items I thought were a ‘good deal’ so purchased without being in love with them, or items that were given to me by someone who doesn’t really understand my style. I like to think of myself as more of an investment shopper. I buy big-ticket items that I keep for a super long time. I don’t know if you’re the same, but I usually save up to buy something super nice that I can use for years instead of spending ten dollars on something I will wear once or twice. As an example, I recently got a check from the consignment store that I sell old clothes to, and used the money to purchase my L.L. Bean Boots that I’ve wanted for over a year. Anyway, I wanted to share my tips and insight into the best way to be an investment shopper, and how to evaluate which purchases are “smart.”
Tip #1: Look at the price immediately. Do not wait until you’re at the cash register or about to head there. Make sure you are aware of how much each item is costing you before you start to fall in love with it.
Tip #2: Try everything on. While trying on clothes is a serious pain, it’ll ensure that you love the clothing even more on your body than on the hanger. Some things look super great hanging, but terrible on. Avoid having to return things or wasting your money.
Tip #3: Ask yourself, “How many times, realistically, will I wear this?” If the item isn’t versatile, and you can only come up with two or three outfits in your head, you may want to wait on the purchase. Try to purchase at least five staple pieces to every one fun or unique piece. A trick I often use is I look at the price, and if it costs $80.00, I ask whether or not I’ll wear it for some 80 days before it is worn out. If the answer is year, the piece is technically costing me $1.00 a wear, and I consider it a smart purchase.
Tip #4: If the thought, “I’m not sure,” enters your mind AT ALL while still in the store, put the item back. Chances are, this mentality will carry through to when you put it on at home. We’ve all been there: you put on your new top, wear it around while you get ready, second guess yourself twenty minutes before you’re supposed to leave, and then promptly change, leaving the item unworn.
Tip #5: Refrain from impulse buys. My dad always says he hardly buys anything the first time he looks at it, and I think this is a really valuable piece of advice. If you really like something, you should be able to wait a week or two or maybe even a few months, and still like it when you go back. If you have a certain amount of money to spend, try doing a dry run where you kind of just window shop, and take in all the possibilities. Then, when you think you know what you want, go back and re-look. Sometimes your initial perceptions changed, or you find something you like better. Waiting a little while before purchasing ensures you really love what you’re buying.
Tip #6: Save really expensive items for later. If you’re a college student like me, now may not be the most ideal time to buy the Louis bag you want. Instead, purchase items that are going to last you a long time, and that will get a lot of use NOW. If you buy something you want, but that isn’t really practical to use until you’re either graduated or working full-time, don’t buy it right away. Hold off, and buy things that are really relevant to your lifestyle.
Tip #7: Make a list of needs when you’re at home. Prior to leaving on a shopping trip, make a secret Pinterest board or simply a list of items you’ve realized you either need or have wanted to add to your wardrobe for a long time. This way you won’t be pulled into the world of stores that have a ton of amazing stuff, but that is stuff you don’t need. There is nothing worse than going shopping with the intention of buying something, only to get pulled into J.Crew or Anthropologie, where you proceed to spend too much money, and don’t have enough left to purchase what you went shopping or originally.
So, there you have the tips I follow when I go shopping! What do you do to ensure you’re buying the best items for your wardrobe?