When you’re building an intentional wardrobe and focusing on minimalism, you start to be hyper aware of your purchases, but how do you know when to buy? And what to buy without experiencing buyer’s remorse? Part of creating a conscious lifestyle is picking and controlling certain aspects of your life, and that includes your wardrobe. But how do you know what to add and what to pass up? There’s no worse feeling than getting home and finding out that you don’t actually love those really expensive shoes you bought on sale and now can’t return.
When you have a sense of yourself, your style and who you want to be, shopping becomes so much easier.
When I say you need a sense of yourself, I mean you need to know your core qualities. (Click here for my free PDF on enhancing your wardrobe and making a killer first impression – step 1 is defining your core qualities!) I know that no matter what happens or who I’m around, I am a creative, whimsical, sensual, and elegant person. That unique blend of seemingly unrelated qualities makes me the person I am; sometimes I’m more elegant and sometimes I’m more creative – both are great and dependent upon the situation. Both are reflected in my wardrobe.
I know my style. It’s comfortable, it’s classic, it’s feminine, and I love bright colors. While it can be dangerous to lock yourself into a certain style and say things like, “Sorry, I can’t wear statement earrings – not my thing,” it can be really helpful to have guidelines to stay on track when you’re shopping. While statement earrings may not be a huge staple in my wardrobe, it’s much easier to make room for them in my wardrobe than for a pair of jeans. This saves me a ton of time and money, as I no longer have to search for the perfect pair of jeans that make my butt look great. Rather, my time shopping is dedicated to mid length high waisted skirts that accentuate my waist.
And finally, I love to check in with who I want to be. This changes depending on my mood and really allows for flexibility and trend pieces within my wardrobe. I know who I am and what I want to look like at the very core of my being – but maybe I’m feeling sexy and need to check out bodycon skirts. Maybe I’m feeling playful and so I check out backless crop tops – they pair perfectly with my high waisted skirts after all. If I want to present an air of authoritativeness, I’ll look for more structured pieces, but maybe it’s a tailored button down blouse with a fun, kitschy print.
Because the first two don’t really change, and the third guideline allows fun and different aspects of my personality to shine through, I can have a varied wardrobe where everything works together, and the risk of buyer’s remorse is basically non-existent. I keep all of these things in mind, and shopping is incredibly fun – and short. I know what I’m looking for, and my time can be spent on activities that don’t necessarily involve consuming. I used to love shopping trips, but now I love showing off my new clothes at events!
I do most of my new shopping when the seasons change. Likewise, I do most of my purging at that time. If an item is worn out or no longer fits or just doesn’t make me happy anymore, I toss or donate it. Then I unpack my wardrobe for the upcoming season, and I do the same with my newly unpacked clothing, getting rid of what no longer works for me – because it’s likely I changed enough to warrant another purge in 6-12 months the clothes have been in storage.
With that, I’m able to see what I’m working with, what needs to be replaced, and what gaps I want to fill. I recently got rid of a red circle skirt that I adored; I now know to be on the lookout for another red skirt. At the same time, I tossed a green accordion skirt, but I know I don’t need to replace it.
Because fall is coming up, I’m definitely checking out my sweater situation. Do I have slouchy sweaters I can relax in? Do I have fitted sweaters for nicer occasions? Do I have enough cardigans in a variety of colors to transition into fall without wearing the same thing over and over?
This doesn’t need to be hard, and you definitely don’t need to make a spreadsheet; you just need a general idea in your head. That way, when you come across a soft pink cabled sweater that you love, you’ll know if you should consider it or not. If you already have a pink cabled sweater, maybe pass on it. If you only wear red, maybe pink is the wrong color – what will you wear with it?
But let’s say you love it. Really look at it. Why do you love it? How will it work with your style and who you are as a person? How do you feel when you wear it? Is it incredibly soft? What are the fibers and how long will it last? What’s the quality?
If you find the perfect wool sweater in the perfect color, I wouldn’t even hesitate – go for it!
If you’re not sure if it’s for you or if something is causing you to hesitate, maybe you’re not sure on the color, maybe it’s a style that’s new for you, maybe the price is a bit more than you’d normally pay – then wait.
I trust myself. If it’s not a yes, then I like to wait. I know the answer will come around. Once I passed on a sweater in a store, and the entire rest of the afternoon it bothered me; that night I ordered it online, and I have no regrets. If you don’t have a burning desire, wait.
I don’t believe in scarcity. If I wait and it’s gone, nowhere to be found, then I know that the item wasn’t meant for me. I’ll continue to keep an eye out for its perfect equivalent though. Because of this, there are no regrets in my life or my wardrobe. What happens happens, whether an item is purchased or not.
I know fully well what I’m doing, and whether I wear it near daily or once a month, I know it’s the right amount. Occasionally I will see a perfect top and know that I want to be the kind of woman who wears it – but I’m not her yet. Those items don’t leave my mind, but neither do they take up clutter in my room or remove money from my account. Rather, it implants a seed in my mind, another version of who I want to be, and when the time is right, I’ll grow and act differently and I’ll know exactly how to dress when I get there.
Because I have clearly defined myself and my style, with a huge amount of wiggle room, I know that my style is classic and timeless, and that’s because it’s representative of who I am rather than a trend that someone tells me to wear. Most items can be rotated in my wardrobe for years, if not decades. While I always include a few trendy pieces, I have a fairly standard uniform that I stick to, regardless of season. If I see an item that I know fits into my style, the price becomes irrelevant.