“Where should I shop?” was a question I got emailed by a lovely reader this week.
And my answer was “I don’t know”.
Why is this?
Because there are so many other things I need to know BEFORE I could even think about suggesting places to shop. In fact, shopping is really not the answer to your wardrobe woes.
People often worry that they can’t afford to take part in a style program because they think that they’ll be told that they need to go shopping and buy some particular garments to fix their style, when in fact that’s the opposite of what I generally recommend (unless you seriously have NO clothes in your wardrobe, or everything you have is completely threadbare and worn out beyond repair.)
Why More Shopping is Not the Answer to Your Wardrobe Woes
1. Some of the Reasons Why Shopping is NOT the Answer
If you haven’t been educated in all the aspects of style so you understand what really works for:
- Your body
- Your colouring
- Your personality
- Your lifestyle
- Your values
- Your preferences
Then there is no point in shopping, as you’re most likely going to be throwing away more money on things that don’t fix your closet chaos.
And if you don’t know what you have in your wardrobe or what you actually need, then please, stay away from the stores!
2. Shopping with Magical Thinking
I see a lot of magical thinking going on and this is along the lines of “If I just find the right garment – the perfect garment that will fix all my problems, will work with everything in my wardrobe, will make all those garments I don’t wear actually work and it will make me stylish and fabulous.”
That kind of magical thinking. Have you ever had that kind of magical thought?
We think that there is a magical garment that makes the things we are not currently wearing work, when in fact, that’s just throwing good money after a poor purchase and you should just let go of the item that you’re not wearing, once you have understood why it doesn’t work, because then you’re empowered to not make that same mistake again.
Sadly, the magic garment doesn’t exist so you should waste no more time searching for it!
Shopping is something you don’t want to do until you know what you need to buy and the criteria that you’ve created in your own personalised style guidelines so that you know exactly what is the right thing and what is the wrong thing so you don’t buy the wrong things.
3. Retailers Make You Want To Buy
There are a lot of tricks retailers use to make you buy, from the way they merchandise stores (more expensive on the right side) to the way their staff helps you. Did you know that people are more likely to make a purchase in an expensive designer store from a snobby rather than a friendly sales assistant? It’s because when we feel looked down upon, purchasing something gives us the feeling that we are saying “up you” to the snobby retail assistant, as your brain says “I can buy this expensive thing even if you don’t think I’m good enough or can afford it”. See that’s tricky and not what you’d expect!
4. The Hunter Gatherer and the Happy Hormone Hit
The ancient hunter-gatherer is still inside us and whispers insidiously in your ear that you “have to” buy something and take it home to show that your efforts in the hunt have been rewarded. This reward is a dopamine hit that your brain gives you when you complete a task and it’s also the reason why so many people are addicted to social media. Fortunately, there are other healthier ways to get a dopamine hit than shopping without a plan or scrolling social media. Instead, do some other sort of self-care activity, or just try something new, take a class (such as my 7 Steps to Style or one of my many masterclasses) that not only will help you to shop more effectively but will also give you a dopamine hit without bringing more of the wrong stuff into your wardrobe – now that’s a win-win!).
Or maybe you like to shop with a friend or loved one, and this togetherness gives you a boost of oxytocin, aka the love hormone. It’s the time spent together that matters, so if you’re a shop with a friend as a social outing kind of person, why not spend time taking a walk in nature with them, or getting together for a coffee (or beverage of your choice) rather than shopping if you find that what you buy ends up not being things you love when you get them home in your wardrobe, and you’ll still get that lovely hit of oxytocin.
5. Your Value and Worth
Are you a bargain hunter and you only buy off the sales rack because you don’t feel you’re worth spending money on? This is insidious and the topic of guilt and buying clothes is something Jill Chivers and I discussed here.
This is common, and I know this was something I had to grapple with and reframe so that I could buy full price when I found the right garment for me. But that didn’t come until I’d gotten my style education and I’d looked into the reason why I felt I wasn’t worth spending money on and then challenged that reason (and the reason lost the battle).
Or have you bought into the marketing that says “I’m Worth It” and every time you feel a bit down, you shop and bring something home, whether or not you need it, it suits you, or it will work with anything else in your wardrobe?
Research shows you don’t wear half of what you buy each year! If you add up what that cost is, not only to your wallet but also to the planet, it’s something you’ll want to change, but if you don’t have the correct knowledge then you’ll keep on making these same mistakes.
What’s Your Shopping Kryptonite?
There are at least 13 common style and shopping mistakes that are the reasons why you have a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear and until you’ve figure out which are yours (so you can stop them) then there is no point in going shopping.
I’d love you to find out what your kryptonite is then I’d love you to watch my new free masterclass How to Confidently Select Clothes that Feel Flattering so you can build a wardrobe full of clothes you love to wear, find out more here and watch the style masterclass now!