It’s that time of year, when everything is on clearance and it’s hard to resist buying a sweater or dress “because it’s such a good deal.” The problem is that these good deals add up in terms of money and time. Shopping is the ultimate time suck for the modern woman. It’s practically a national pastime, yet most women still complain they have a closet full of nothing to wear. You might not be able to get the time or money back you’ve already spent, but you can change how you shop going forward.
Commit to a more mindful approach this year by knowing your shopping weaknesses, figuring out what you need, buying less and buying better. You’ll save time, money, and ultimately end up with a better wardrobe.
Know your weaknesses
Clean out your closet. Identify what to keep, what to eliminate, and then carefully analyze each pile. In the pile of things to keep, why do you want to keep them? Why are they worn frequently? Is it because of the fit, comfort or that it’s a good basic that goes with everything like blue jeans? Do you have duplicates and why? Now examine the items in the donation pile. How many times did you wear each item? Why did you purchase them? Is there a common theme among the items?
Understanding your shopping weaknesses is the first step to reclaiming your time and building a more mindful closet.
Figure out what you really need
The second step is to inventory what you have and identify what you actually need. No matter what fashion magazines lead us to believe, wardrobe essentials vary widely from person to person. A San Francisco based tech entrepreneur’s basics are likely very different than a Wall Street banker.
Your wardrobe depends on where you live and the life you lead. How much do you work and where, your social life, hobbies, how often you travel and why — these factors all determine the breadth of your wardrobe. Are you starting to travel more for work? If so, do you have wrinkle resistant clothing or things that pack easily? Are you becoming more involved with charity boards and attending more parties? Find a classic dress that goes from day to night and can be accessorized in a myriad of ways so that you don’t need to buy a new dress for every event.
Once you figure out the gaps in your wardrobe, create a list of what you need and evaluate any purchases against that list. It will help you avoid temptation when you come across something that is “such a good deal.” Approach your clothing purchases the way you’d approach buying a house, car or piece of art — thoughtfully with careful evaluation.
Buy less, buy better
Before you lay down your credit card: stop, take a breath and ask yourself if you’ll wear the item at least thirty times? Most of our impulse buys are rarely worn more than two times — if they are worn at all. How versatile is the item in terms of seasonality and style? Is the quality good enough to last thirty washes and wears?
Quality clothing is more than the label. Natural fabrics are superior and more versatile than synthetic ones. At Senza Tempo, we line all of our garments in silk, which is breathable and adjusts to your body temperature, so the item can better span the seasons. Construction details like linings, hem finishes and invisible zippers affect the fit and overall durability of a garment. Recognizing what makes a good basic: high quality, simple lines and classic silhouettes, is the final step to building a more mindful wardrobe.
Buying better requires some education, thought and will cost more upfront. However, in the long run it will save time and money. Don’t shop, curate your closet.