Why I Buy

Posted by Jill Chivers in Attitudes and Habits, Shopping Strategies

I don’t shop so much lately.  Certainly not in comparison to the rate and regularity I was shopping at before I started my year without clothes shopping in mid December 2009.

And my shopping has not only changed in terms of how often I shop, but why I shop, when I choose to do so.

Good criteria for assessing possible purchases

Here is a set of excellent criteria on which to assess possible purchases of clothing, shoes, accessories, handbags and the like:

  • Does this suit my body shape and colouring?
  • What else do I already own that this would go with? (eg: there needs to be at least 3 existing wardrobe items this will coordinate with)
  • Is it flattering on the body I have now (the fundamental question of: does this fit me?), and how do I feel in it?
  • Does this item fit in with my current lifestyle?
  • Does this item support and express something about who I am and my personality?

I consider all of those criterion to be important, and they are especially important to use when shopping for someone who is:

  • uncertain about or just beginning to explore their personal style
  • just beginning to create a working wardrobe, or
  • not wanting to take too many risks.

And as good as these shopping criterion are, they just aren’t my #1 criteria anymore (I should add that somewhere in my purchasing criteria, I know those things are there because they have been ingrained into me from years of learning about and using them to create a working wardrobe).

My #1 shopping criteria

My major, #1 criteria, now for Serious Consideration for Possible Purchase is:

Do I madly love, love, love this item? 

If I don't madly love, love, love it - I admire but don't buy

If I don’t madly love, love, love it – I admire but don’t buy

If it doesn’t meet that criteria, then I admire, I may even had a moment of fantasy where I imagine owning it – but I don’t buy.

Why this criteria?

There’s two main reasons I’ve instituted this shopping criteria:

  1. I own so much already.  I really don’t need another damn thing in any category – no new clothes, shoes, necklaces, handbags, earrings – you name it, I don’t need it. Why would I want to add more to my wonderful, working wardrobe unless there was a Very Good Reason to do so?  And “I just saw it and liked it” is definitely not a good enough reason.
  2. I’ve reached a point in my life where Good Enough isn’t good enough anymore.  I want to move away from the white line down the middle of the road and to venture off the beaten path a bit more.  This applies not only to my style, but also my life and my work.  Knowing the direct and immediate relationship between what I’m wearing and how I feel (and the secret life of clothes), I want my style to reflect where my life journey is, and that isn’t the middle of the road.
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