Many of us love to shop, but do we know how to shop wisely? I know that I, for one, have frequently struggled with making the right buying decisions. How else do you think I ended up with so many wardrobe “benchwarmers”?
I’ve learned some things along the way and do my best to share my knowledge here on the blog, but I don’t have all of the answers! Fortunately, there is a wealth of information available on the Internet. In today’s useful links post, I share some great articles on smart shopping. Enjoy!
Resources for Savvy Shopping
Erica from the website “From Shopping to Saving” shares her top ten worst shopping mistakes and what she learned from them. I could really identify with some of Erica’s mistakes, including shopping as a hobby, buying multiples “just because,” and reading fashion blogs religiously. I’ve recently unsubscribed from most fashion blogs and stopped visiting the fashion forum I used to read daily. That alone has helped to stop the “wanting machine,” but Erica’s other tips are also quite useful! Her blog looks good, too, from my initial first glance.
Sally from “Already Pretty” outlines six common pitfalls that shoppers can fall prey to when they hit the mall or the online stores. She touches upon such issues as buying things on sale and settling for clothing that almost fits. In addition to specifying the common pitfalls, Sally offers concrete strategies for avoiding them. This classic post from 2011 is a must-read and the close to fifty reader comments are worth a look as well.
This post on the “Get Rich Slowly” personal finance blog not only offers tips for smart shopping, it also provides tips on cleaning out your closet. In fact, the writer recommends that a shopping trip be preceded by “the great closet clean-out.” Expert advice from Tim Gunn, Michael Kors, Jessica from “What I Wore,” Allie from “Wardrobe Oxygen,” and Angie from “You Look Fab” is included in this comprehensive article.
I think I include an article from Bridgette Raes in every useful links post I do. Her articles are just that good! In this post, Bridgette shares some insider tips for how she works with her personal styling clients, including the pre-work to do before shopping and how to handle the dressing room. All of the tips are useful, but I especially like Bridgette’s advice for handling your purchases once you get home.
This article from Real Simple offers ten savvy ways to dress stylishly while keeping shopping costs down. The advice includes tips on fabrics, colors, shapes, quality, alterations, and accessories. The article closes out with some guidelines for shopping online and information on how to style yourself. The tips are offered not only by the writer, but also from a number of fashion industry experts.
This post on “Being Geek Chic” delves into the topic of “cost per wear,” which is a useful consideration to keep in mind while shopping. The author presents examples of seven potential buys and breaks down whether or not these items represent wise purchases. Surprisingly, the most inexpensive item shown ended up not being a good buy. It’s helpful to read the comments on this post, too, as the author addresses some questions that came to mind for me while reading the article.
I close out my useful links with a comprehensive article from Angie of “You Look Fab” on how to shop smarter. While some of Angie’s tips are suggestions I’ve offered to previous clients and on this blog, others I hadn’t even thought of before! My favorite tips on the list are numbers 1, 3, 4, 7, 12, 17, and 20, but they are all excellent.
What’s great about this article, too, is that many tips link back to comprehensive posts on the site that cover the topics in greater detail. I especially recommend that you read Angie’s post on the “Triple P Purchasing Principle.” I’m working on being more patient, picky, and practical when I shop, as it really does pay off in the long run!
Do You Have Additional Shopping Tips to Share?
I hope you found the links above helpful. I certainly learned a lot from reading the words of wisdom from these wonderful authors. If you have any additional shopping tips that you feel will benefit your fellow “Recovering Shopaholic” readers, please feel free to share them in the comments section. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend!
Thanks for including a link to my site again and for your kind words about my posts!!
You’re welcome! I’m so happy to have found your blog and am happy to share your posts with my readers!
Thank you Debbie for your continuing generosity in sharing the links you find on all aspects of shopping/wardrobe dilemmas. This post is one that everyone will relate to no matter the size of their closet – who doesn’t want to be a savvy shopper and who doesn’t want a wardrobe that “works”?
I’m glad you like these posts, Megan. You’re right! We all want to shop wisely and create wardrobes that work well for our lives. Even the more savvy among us can still learn new things. I enjoy reading all of these articles and when I share them with my readers, I also get to revisit the useful tips. Win, win!
These links have great ideas on how to focus one’s purchasing to create a workable wardrobe. I would add as a tip becoming a patient shopper and avoiding purchasing “substitutes” while looking for the “right” garment. For example, a lot of clothes this fall are available in a “raisin” color that is one of my favorites, but it hasn’t been available for a few years. I plan to buy a sweater and a blouse in this color this fall to replace an older sweater that has gotten a bit worn out. I’ve been waiting several years for sweaters in this color. So now all I need to do is find the best classically styled sweater as the replacement piece that fits within budget. I can wait for a very long time to acquire the right article of clothing — and I don’t by “substitutes” while I wait. Because I don’t waste my money on “almost” clothes, I have a little more to spend when I do find the right piece for my wardrobe.
This is very sound advice, Dottie. Your tip is similar to what Angie of “You Look Fab” terms her Triple P Purchasing Principle. She recommends that we be patient, picky, and practical when shopping and that includes waiting for what we truly want and need instead of buying substitutes. Of course, there are times when we have to settle a bit (e.g. someone in a cold climate may need to buy a winter coat in a less favorite color), but most of the time we will be rewarded for our patience, as you describe.
I’m glad that it’s okay to be picky. I’m always picky when shopping for clothes. It could be the the colour, the style, the details, the size or whatever. People in my life would roll their eyes and think I should settle for less but I always stood my ground and find the right piece for my wardrobe.
I think it’s not only okay to be picky, Rochelle. I think it’s the best approach. Many of my “wardrobe benchwarmers” are such because I wasn’t picky enough! Of course, one can be TOO picky and never buy anything, but that’s not most people’s problems. Most people either don’t want to spend the time or want the immediate gratification of buying. That’s what gets us into trouble, so I think you’re on the right track!
Debbie, I have only recently discovered your site and I love it.
I never thought of myself as a shopaholic. In fact, on the contrary, I thought of myself as a SAVVY SHOPPER. I thought my problem was a wardrobe space and management problem and that I needed to get more organised.
Somewhere along the way I have realised that shopping is a problem for me. It has taken me a while to see this as I have never overspent but I have come to understand that my shopping problem is all about perfection (or the lack of it.) This means I have to keep looking for the perfect garment to create the perfect wardrobe only to find that it is never quite right ( I just need a ….) and I am never satisfied. This keeps me constantly in the shopping loop where even if I am not spending, I am still looking. This also applies to makeup and jewellery. With a drawer full of lipstick, I am still on the lookout for the perfect pink.
It’s pretty obvious that I have a lot of issues related to perfectionism and I am beginning to better understand the origins of this condition.
In the meantime, I am doing Project 333. I am tired of constantly re-arranging and organising my closet, of looking at a pile of clothes that are not “me” and thinking about what I “need’ to perfect my closet. Living with less is helping me to truly decide what clothes I really want to wear and what to ultimately look for, as I compiled my 333 closet on the things I truly love and feel comfortable, attractive and stylish wearing.
I hope to really become a Savvy Shopper in the future.
Welcome, Carolyn, and thanks so much for your comment. I can relate to many of your struggles. I also keep shopping for the perfect “fill in the blanks” and that includes makeup, hair products (that’s a big one for me), and jewelry as well as clothes. Perfectionism can be a real problem for many of us and that goes beyond the “picky” that Angie of “You Look Fab” writes about. I feel that perfectionism is a much deeper issue and relates to psychological issues as well as real-world practical concerns. It’s not an easy thing to overcome, but realizing the problem and truly wanting to change is a good first step.
I would love to hear how Project 333 helps you! It made a big difference for me, but I’m now thinking I didn’t stick with it (or a variation thereof) long enough to really “get” in my bones that I don’t need a large wardrobe in order to be stylish, have variety, and feel good about my clothes. Change takes time and some “backsliding” can tend to happen, so that’s why repetition can be so helpful. Please write again and let me know how your Project 333 journey is going. I think it will help you a lot!
Yes, I will gladly share my journey. I have to say though, that I have tweaked the rules a bit to suit me. 33 items of clothing is not enough for me, especially over winter. I live in rural Switzerland and I need various types outerwear and footwear for snow conditions for a start. In summer I could easily dress with 33 items but not in winter here.
So, I divided my piles into 1. casual wear for home, town &work 2. dressier wear for going out and 3. outdoor wear. Within these piles I chose what I like and what was practical (it’s not easy to love snow-proof boots, they are not pretty but they are necessary) and tried to keep the numbers as close to 33 as possible.
As category 1. is the most used I focussed on this area to adhere to the 33 garments, I only need approx 10 for category 2 and category 3 needs to remain flexible to switch jackets and footwear in and out depending on the weather.
The important point was to remove all the other clothes, shoes, scarves, etc and get them out of the wardrobe and out of my visual space. And having the unloved, unused pile on their own I can see more clearly what it is that isn’t working and even why I was seduced into buying in the first place, eg falling in love with the print despite the fact that I don’t feel comfortable in button up shirts with collars. Why oh why do I have so many of these? Why oh why did I actually buy one just a few months ago???? Oh, yes, I remember, I thought it might come in handy for a future job interview that I just might go to (for a job I haven’t even applied for.) Now, that’s mad.
Thanks so much for sharing your Project 333 process with us, Carolyn! It sounds like a lot of careful thought went into your selection process. I can imagine it would be difficult to select 33 items of clothing for very cold weather, but you seem to have done a great job. I can empathize with your wondering why you bought certain items. My post yesterday goes into such things. Buying things for “just in case” is definitely a problem and should be avoided! Best of luck to you with Project 333!
Even though I work in retail (and thus have an employee discount) I almost never “shop.” I describe shopping as going to the mall or store and looking and trying on a lot of clothes without I specific goal or style in mind. When I need to buy something to replace something that’s worn out (a new bra, for instance), I might do a little reconnaissance before I purchase or get fitted, etc., but I clearly know that I am buying 1 nude bra by such and such maker. It’s get in, buy the bra, then get out ASAP. No stops along the way. I have a tiny clothes budget. If need be, I save up to acquire something that exceeds my monthly allowance. I have purchase 4 garments so far this year — and two of them were bras.
In thinking about this further, I decided that my technique for acquiring clothes is “wardrobe planning and expediting.” I think about what I need (after looking through my closet and assessing the state of my clothing) and then plan my purchases. Once established, I expeditiously execute the plan. I don’t divert from the plan and I don’t overspend my budget. I don’t view going to a store as a recreational activity or a relief from boredom, depression, anxiety, etc. Occasionally I’ve acquired a dud (a blouse with bad buttonholes and it took me a few years to realize that raglan sleeves are not flattering on me) but I’ve learned from these past mistakes and moved on. I am reasonably well-dressed because I buy only what works for my style and body type and avoid overly trendy clothing. I stick to accessories for trends — if I decide I need a jolt of something for my classically styled wardrobe.
Thanks for these additional tips, Dottie. It sounds like you’ve learned a lot over the years and are doing quite well with your wardrobe. It does take time and focused attention to cultivate a wardrobe that works but that time and effort will pay off in the long-run.
Thanks for putting this list together. It will serve as an important reminder for some of my on t spur-of-the-moment purchases for things that I didn’t need or want before I opened “that” website.
I’m glad you found these tips helpful, Cornelia! Yes, those spur-of-the-moment purchases can be the worst ones… We all (or at least many of us) do that at times, but if we use the tips in the articles most of the time, we’ll be doing quite well in terms of shopping and our wardrobes.