Shop Happy! 7 ways to be a Smarter, Chicer Shopper!
The world has changed and so has the way we think about what we need. But guess what? It’s safe to go back to the stores thanks to this seven-commandment guide! Welcome back, shopping!
1) I will know what I own (down to my socks)– There’s nothing as freeing as a closet weed-out. Here’s how: Group everything you own by type-dresses, sweaters, pants, shoes etc. Get rid of all the “toos”: too big, too small, too outdated. Now for the self-discovery! Out of what you’re keeping, which items fill you with confidence, which shapes are nice to yours, which label fits best? Moreover, are there themes in your rejects? Multiples of a color or style you don’t wear? Memorize these for when you go shopping again. Congrats on being the proud owner of what really works for you!
2) I’ll spend within my means (bye bye, credit card debt!)– According to Anya Kamenetz, author of Generation Debt, the average woman should spend no more than 5 % of her post tax income on fashion and beauty items and services. What to spend it on?
• Write a “get” list-What goes at the top: any always-wears that are missing now that you’ve so brilliant organized your closet. You know, nonnegotiable items like sharp black pants, a trim pencil skirt, an LBD, a quality blush etc. You don’t have to shell out a lot but you do need them! They simplify life and enable your everyday style success, on their own or as a backdrop for trendier stuff.
• Put your style and beauty loves next on the list- These are the more special signature “you” shapes, colors, accessories -anything that you’ll never regret buying. It can be anything from insanely sexy jeans, a fancy face cream or even highlights from a hair guru. If your love is expensive, don’t kid yourself about the chunk of money it takes out of your budget. Plan for it. Save. Have a “lust fund”, a savings account that you contribute just for this, so when you hear those red shoes calling your name, you can pay in full on the spot.
• And save room for…- Things that catch your eye but aren’t urgent: a cute mini, an expensive lip gloss. You can add these to your rotation over the weeks and months ahead as your cash allows.
3) I will buy what’s worth it to me– Never ever buy something that you don’t love a 100%, even if a friend or a relative says it looks fabulous on you because chances are you won’t ever wear it. Whether it’s a black blazer or bright red lipstick, always decide your own style and beauty must-haves.
4) Before I buy, I’ll take this quiz!– Designer Tommy Hilfiger wrote up this chic-check questionnaire. Only make a purchase if you can answer yes to all.
• Does this truly fit my body, not just the body I wish I had?” Lots of women have those too-small, too-tight, just not right for their shape pieces lingering in their wardrobe. Total waste of money! Buy for the shape you are now, not what you hope to be in six months.”
• Am I itching to put it on now? “You want to feel that “I have to rip off the tag and wear this the second I get out of the store” excitement. If you’re lukewarm about something, it’ll just sit in your closer unworn.”
• Would someone who sees me on the street think, She looks great? “When you spot someone in a great outfit, you can’t help but take a second look. It’s good to get noticed because it builds confidence.”
• Will I want to wear this next month, next season, next year?” I believe in pieces that flatter at every age and stage. Think of clothes like you would your 401(k), a long-term investment.”
5) I’ll rewear and reuse my stuff with pride– Whether you pay a little or a lot, true value lies in how often you use what you buy. Some smart investments, like an expensive pair of shoes or a bag, turn out to be practically free over time if used properly!
6) Sure, I’ll get the trends-for less– Look for of-the-moment thrills at nice prices and you’ll feel no pain once they’re passé. “If you think something might be out of style by your next birthday, get the affordable version” advise Katherine Power and Hilary Kerr, style experts.
7) I’ll never have buyer’s remorse again!– Everybody has one or two (or four or six) shopping weaknesses : they’re part of our human wiring. Emotional processes in the brain are faster than the cognitive processes. In other words your mind gets the “love that!” message before the “don’t need that” one and boom…before you know it, another pair of silver platforms. Avoid these 3 shopping goofs to be free of buyer’s remorse!
• You’re a sucker for the 40% off sign: Don’t worry; you’re not the only one! Shoppers nearly 80% more at outlets then at regular malls. You focus on the “Wow, half off!” factor instead of asking yourself if it’s worth it. When you buy at less than full price, you’re more likely to think about how much you’re saving, not how much you’re spending.
The fix: Pretend it’s not marked down. And ask yourself: Would I pay full price for this item? If you would, go for it!
• You spend when you’re blue: Heard of emotional eating? Same thing. Research reveals that when people are sad, they’ll actually pay more to obtain something than they would in a neutral state. Yikes!
The Fix: Do not- we repeat, do not- enter a store. If you’re feeling depressed, just stay away. Much more effective for exorcising sadness: a long walk with a friend, some weep-inducing TV or a sweaty workout.
• Click, Click: You buy online: Web shopping is a siren call, a parallel universe where money counts only as digits you enter and the phrase “buy now” delivers happiness. It seems like you can’t live without it but who hasn’t opened a freshly delivered box and wondered, why did I want this? Worse, the chore of returning something often means you keep stuff you don’t really love.
The fix: Take a moment. Actually, take 20. Once you’re even a teensy bit thrilled about an item, it takes about 20 minutes for your emotions to calm down until you’re thinking rationally. Even better wait overnight (an especially good strategy if you web-shop into the wee hours). Leave the browser window open to your object of desire, and you mat find its magic has diminished in the morning light. If not, click away.