Have you ever gotten home from a shopping trip, looked at your new purchase, and wondered “What was I thinking when I bought this?”
Perhaps this new piece seemed promising under the soft store lighting and flattering full length mirror. But when brought into the reality of your wardrobe, it makes no sense. So it gets crammed into your closet, next to all the other unworn items. And you tolerate yet another annoying situation.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! If you’re sick of wasting money and adding more clutter into your home, there is something you can do to prevent it from happening.
It’s called mindful shopping — and I promise you, it’s something you can absolutely do.
By being more mindful with your shopping, your needs and wants are clarified, which allow you to make better choices all around. And to help you do this, I’m sharing a line of questions to ask yourself while in the store to help you determine if an item is worth purchasing or not. Your thoughtful responses will provide clarity so you only buy what’s right for you.
1. Why do you want to purchase this piece?
Every good mindful practice starts with asking why. It helps distill your actions down to the motivating factor — and that enables you to determine if the behavior is aligned with your values. Put simply, knowing your why is key to understanding the reason behind the purchase. If you’re buying new sandals because the strap on your current pair broke, and they are beyond repair, then that’s a pretty valid reason to make the purchase. On the other hand, if you want the new sandals because you’ve been feeling kind of down lately, and the bright and shiny sequins on these shoes seemed like the perfect pick-me-up, you may want to keep walking.
2. Do you love this item you’re about to buy?
It amazes me how many times I’ve brought home so-so items from the store. Sometimes, they were on major markdown and I couldn’t pass on the deal, or else I felt desperate and settled on something less than what I had hoped for. Either way, when I put these so-so items on my body, it doesn’t do anything to make me feel good in what I’m wearing. Strive to only wear things you love — which means you only buy things you love.
3. Does it fit your body right now?
At this point, you’ll try the garment on to ensure it fits you well. While simple alterations are always a good idea to truly customize the piece, if it requires a total overhaul, then it’s not worth it. Also, buying something to fit into a body you hope to have in two months or in 15 lbs isn’t honoring who you are today. Buy the piece that looks good on you right this second so you get it home and can’t wait to put it on because you know it makes you feel great. If there’s any weird bunching, puckering, whiskering or pulling, that’s a sign to leave the garment for somebody else.
4. Does it fit your lifestyle today?
What you don’t want is to get your new item home and wonder what to do with it. This happens when we buy things that don’t make sense for our lives. If you love the idea of a hot pink tulip skirt, but your life has no need for this kind of garment, then don’t do it! Make sure your new purchases fit in with the rest of your closet so you can maximize your wardrobe, and have versatility with what you buy. When you’re considering a new piece, think about what you currently own that matches so you’re not left with an orphan item that stands alone.
5. Does it suit your personality?
This is pretty straightforward and can be answered by looking at the item to see if it matches who you are. Sometimes it’s nice to stretch your style and try new things. But, unless you’re one to wear a little bit of everything, chances are you don’t want to go so far out on a limb that the item looks like a costume on you (which can still be the case even if that same piece looks amazing and perfect on your friend). If you buy something that you had hoped to wear, but ultimately don’t feel comfortable in because it doesn’t work for your personality, it will become another mistake that sits in the back of your closet. Express yourself in a way that feels authentic by only purchasing things that help you feel like you.
How do you stay mindful with your shopping? —Elysha