Every time I come home with some shopping bags in my hand, there are two things that bother me – my bank account has yet another minus and my closet space needs another stretch. There are too many unworn shoes on the floor of my closet and many unworn clothes that are neatly hanged with most of them still got their tag on. The others are worn only once. And yet, when I have to dress for church, I face my three door closet for long … I don´t have anything to wear.
Too many shoes and clothes and yet nothing to wear. Have you ever faced the same dilemna?
At the end of the month I check my savings account and feel sad because it didn´t increase. The money for my savings went to my shopping spree.
So I wrote this post to basically help me. I need to start shopping my closet and put a pause on my shopping at department stores. If this resonates with you, then join me in learning how to shop smart. These three steps on how to strategize your next shopping excursion is based from Nina Garcia´s, The Style Strategy. I added some of my own input from my currrent experience.
1. Do a closet inventory
This step answers the question, “what to I have?“.
When was the last time you did a complete inventory of what clothes and shoes you have? Doing a complete look of your closet will amaze you with how many investments you haven´t worn or have forgotten.
Some of my clothes that were worn only once are pieces that seemed to look good on me in the fitting room but didn´t necessary look great on me when I wore them to events. I have several jackets and coats that I thought was my size only to realize later that they´re size S. I´m an XS. Clothes that don´t fit well don´t flatter well. I have learned this lesson the hard way.
Analyze each of the items you have and segregate the pieces that you always wear and the ones that you rarely wear. From the ones that you rarely wear, find out why you have rarely worn them. If they don´t fit right, or if you realized later that they don´t flatter your body type, purge them. You don´t have to throw these clothes, sell them on eBay. (I haven´t sold anything on eBay yet but I´m determined to get back some of the money I spent on worn-only-once clothes and never-worn shoes. So if you have tips on how to sell on eBay, I´d appreciate it.)
If the clothes still have hope, decide if you can “repurpose them for a new day”. The Style Strategy book gives you lots of ideas and tools on how to repurpose your old clothes.
2. Build your fashion foundation
This step answers the question, “what do I need?”
Nina Garcia gives a list of classic must-haves: a classic high-heeled pump, ballet flats, a trench coat, a classic white shirt, the little black dress, a cashmere cardigan or turtleneck, a great bag, and denim.
I´m sure you´ve heard it over and over again that you only need this much to have a stylish and functional wardrobe. But can you imagine your wardrobe having only these few essentials?
In identifying your wardrobe´s essentials you have to take into consideration your lifestyle, your job and the weather in your area. It´s a no-brainer, of course.
So ask yourself what do you need for work? When I was still working as a teacher, formal trousers, skirts and shirts were my priority. Now that I work from home, my working clothes shifted from formal to creative.
Another way to identify what you need is to focus on what you currently have which you want to keep. For example a skirt. How many mix-and-match outfits can you create with this skirt? If you´ve thought of a new way to style this skirt with something that is missing in your closet, say a boyfriend cardigan, write it down. But before you hunt for a new boyfriend cardigan, go through your other items and see how many of them would go with a boyfriend cardigan. This would help you decide if your bf cardigan purchase is wise.
Here´s another old shopping tip I know which I need to rehearse time and time again – before you do a purchase, think of how many items that you already have in your closet can you wear it with.
3. Treat yourself
This step answers the question, “what do I want?”.
How many times have you challenged yourself to two months of no shopping only to slip and fall back in less than a month? I did, and for many times.
Drawing some important principles from nutritionists – if you deprive yourself, you´ll fall off the wagon and you´ll binge.
It works true to shopping too. Depriving yourself of shopping for long has a drawback. Once you strip your credit card naked for your first purchase after months of no shopping, it´s too hard to stop. It´s impossible to control your impulse.
So it´s important to put aside some money for days when you need a quick fix. For days when you need to treat yourself. It doesn´t have to be much, it can be for a purchase of new purfume, a lipstick, or a new pair of work shoes.
Nina Garcia´s advice on how to treat yourself smart is to cut out the unnecessary, like another expensive fur coat if you already have two fur jackets, and find inexpensive alternatives.
Now over to you, how do you build a stylish and functional wardrobe without wasting resources? How do you shop smart?