Wardrobe 101

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!

4 Comments

  • NATALIE K

    Liz, I must admit that most of my clothing has never been worn in the last few years because I’ve been in too much pain!! I’m trying everything the physicians tell me to do. I can’t do more than that!! Of course you know I’m a Christian and I’m a praying women. The Lord is in charge!!

  • NATALIE K

    Liz, Here because you referred me here from Style Splash Day 6. Want to say I think through what I buy very carefully because I’m on a allowance. I do love clothing and I have enough!! My problem is I have too much because I never wear 1/3 of my wardrobe!! I haven’t gotten rid of anything in three years!! I can’t even part with two sizes down!! I know why but how do you change.?! I was reading a book on decluttering your whole house the other day and once I got to the part about decluttering your clothing I had a panic attack!! Oh my!! How would you handle this?! I have to let some things go!!! I realize that but it’s bringing myself to do it!!!

    • Liz K

      You need to keep whatever amount feels right to you, Natalie! It’s hard because what we wear is tied up with who we are. Editing our wardrobes can feel like we are throwing away pieces of ourselves. My question to you would start by asking about the clothes 2 sizes down. What would you lose if you blessed someone else with them? (The money spent? That’s already gone.) What would you gain? (Peace of mind? More closet space? Less inventory to manage?) Maybe putting them away in a storage box for a few months might help you feel less attached and more able (if that’s what you want) to let them go. I keep the focus on stewardship and ask if they are serving their purpose in my closet or are they meant for someone else and I am standing in the way of that…

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