Spirituality & Style

Mindful Shopping

Happy day dear reader!

Previously, I wrote a post about mindful dressing, but I may have gotten the cart in front of the horse! You can dress mindfully with whatever is in your closet, but those daily choices will be easier if the clothes in your closet are mindfully purchased. One might ask, “Is it possible to shop mindlessly? You have to go to the store. Or get on-line. Those require thinking.” You are right, they do, but what happens in the store, or on the website can happen with little to no thought at all. Let’s put a little context around this. Often we go to the store, but we are preoccupied, our mind is elsewhere. It’s like driving on autopilot. We’ve all had the experience of arriving home, and turning off the ignition, and thinking “I don’t even remember the trip.” Mindless shopping is like that; you throw things into your cart or basket, and when you get home wonder “What was I thinking?” or worse “I better hide these from…”

Here are some questions to ask yourself when shopping (or getting ready to go) to keep yourself conscious and in the moment:

Why Am I Shopping?

Do I have an actual need, or is this retail therapy? Or a social event? Time with friends? Entertainment? Am I just getting out of the house? If I don’t need anything, maybe I should leave my wallet in the car, and “shop” by collecting pictures on my phone. On-line shopping with a glass of wine can be especially dangerous! I highly recommend what Jill Chivers calls a Power Pause.  Put what you like into your on-line shopping bag and walk away for 24, 48, or 72 hours. If it is still a good idea after your pause, then you have made a more mindful decision than one-click. If you struggle with overshopping, her site, My Year Without Clothes Shopping has oodles of fantastic resources.

What Am I Looking For?

Am I looking for something in particular? Or seeing what’s available? Researching the trends? Trying to get inspiration for an outfit? Knowing the answers to these can give the sales assistants guidance to help you. If you don’t want help, and are just browsing, keeping a focus can help you stay in the moment and be more aware of your surroundings. Less of that “I know I saw that somewhere…” and more engagement.

Where Will I Wear This?

This question seems straightforward. Where will you wear it? And how often? Do you go to cocktail parties? Or running? Or to work in a suit? Is this something that fits your lifestyle AND personality? Jill Chivers talks about learning to shop like enjoying art at a gallery. I can appreciate a lovely item without needing to take it home with me. I love boho looks, but they are wasted on me. Not my personality. And I can appreciate a beautiful Hermes handbag, but know I would never be able to justify the expense. I want to value experiences over things, so I would rather take our family on a vacation with that money. (If someone gave me one, that would be another story!)

Do I Have This Already?

I go into a client’s closet and find six pair of black pants, all so similar as to be identical. Why? Because the shopper didn’t think about how many she already had, and well, you always need a good pair of black pants, right? Wrong. Men seem to do this with shirts rather than trousers… After determining that you don’t already have the item in question, ask the related questions: Can I style it 3 ways?, and Can I dress it up and down?

How Am I Paying?

Do I have the money to pay for this now, or am I buying on credit? Does it fit in my budget? If not, why am I considering pulling the trigger on this bag/dress/pair of shoes? What need will they fill? (This refers right back to the first question on the list…) I frequently ask myself, “Would I rather have this XYZ, or the same amount in our Adventures savings account?”

Not only can you dress mindfully, you can choose to shop mindfully, thinking about what you purchase and add to your wardrobe. That makes the everyday choices about what to wear easier. I have stood in more than one closet with a client who says “I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought this…” If YOU don’t know, it doesn’t deserve a place in your wardrobe!

How about you? Are you ever surprised by what you’ve bought? Would slowing down the process with a Power Pause ruin all the fun? Do you shop for entertainment, or only when you need something? Which of the questions do you think you might need to ask yourself? Let’s start a conversation in the comments below… I love to hear your thoughts!

Stylishly yours,

Many thanks to Nancy at Nancy’s Fashion Style for the Link-Up!

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