We live in a world where we are constantly looking for an app or the magic bullet that will save us time. One of the biggest waste of times we all face is the time spent shopping. Shopping has become a hobby instead of a necessity. Time saved by automation (like owning a Roomba) or outsourcing (hiring a housekeeper and ordering takeout instead of cooking). Our grandmothers shopped twice a year, for warm and cold weather. In Elizabeth Cline’s book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, she notes that on average people buy just over one item per week. It might not seem like we spend that much time shopping, but when you look at the statistics and break it down it’s no wonder we’re short on time.
The Shopping Cycle
- The Search. Today we have so many choices that stores have invested in complex algorithms to help us find what we need on their websites. Once upon a time, we shopped at the local boutique or department store where the buyers carefully curated the selections to fit their clientele. Most stores, especially department stores, take the spaghetti on the wall approach: buy as many different items as possible and hope something sticks.
- Purchase and hope for the best when it comes to fit and quality. Clothing is made all over the world today. Larger brands outsource their production to the lowest bidders. They don’t necessarily sample to get the best fit, but to send an example to the factory. Multiple factories is why the fit among the same brand is so inconsistent.
- Wear only 1-2 times. Maybe. We all have things in our closet with the tags still hanging on them.
- Wash the item or take it to the cleaner, and hope it survives given the poor quality of so many items today.
- Put back in closet, but never wear it again because:
- It’s out of style.
- Doesn’t really go with anything else you own.
- It’s damaged (didn’t survive the washing/dry cleaning process).
- Add it to pile of items to be fixed.
- Repeat steps 1-4 because of step 5 until you build up so many new items that there isn’t space in your closet anymore.
- Spend a weekend cleaning out all of these items. By the time most people get to this point they’ve forgotten why they don’t wear something.
- Sort out what you wear and don’t wear.
- Decide what you are going to try to salvage (we all do it even though we know it will only result in repeating steps 3-5 again.)
- Donate or consign the cast offs.
- Lather, rinse, repeat. Start the process all over again.
Or you can use our 4-step guide to creating a better wardrobe, and eliminate the time spent on the above by investing in high-quality, timeless wardrobe essentials that are meant to be worn season after season and year after year.
For more on Elizabeth Cline’s Overdressed visit our post: Grandma Knows Best