Oh, that ‘Buy Now’ button! It’s been my downfall many a time – as has “real life” shopping, for that matter. Sometimes it’s way too easy to get caught up in the moment, and end up buying something that just doesn’t work with your closet, or which you’ll have no real chance to wear.
I’m not sure I’ll ever get totally over the thrill of the impulse purchase, but I’m doing my best to mend my ways, so here are some questions I try to ask myself before hitting “add to basket”…
// CAN I ACTUALLY IMAGINE WEARING THIS ANYTIME SOON?
I used to have a really bad habit of buying things purely because I loved them and convinced myself I couldn’t possibly live without them. The fact is, though, I very easily COULD have lived without them – as evidenced by the fact that, having bought them, I often wouldn’t actually wear them. The problem? I was shopping for my fantasy life, rather than my real one, which meant I jad a closet full of amazing clothes… which I hardly ever wore. These days, if I’m thinking of buying something, I try to image myself wearing it in an actual, real-life scenario: by which I mean something I actually have planned, or am likely to be doing sometime soon. So, if the only way I can justify buying something is by telling myself, “Well, it would be perfect for a wedding!”, for instance, then the only way I’ll let myself be tempted is if I ACTUALLY have a wedding to go to sometime soon: otherwise I just end up with a closet full of wedding guest dresses, and absolutely nothing to wear in my day-to-day life.
// DO I ALREADY HAVE SOMETHING LIKE IT?
When I find an item of clothing that’s absolutely perfect in every way, I have absolutely no problem buying more than one of it, just so I have one “in stock” for when the first one wears out. Sometimes, though, it can be easy to take that too far – which is why I now have a collection of stripe sweaters (Mostly by Petit Bateau at Spartoo) in every possible colour combination. I’ve also gone through phases where I’ve ended up with dozens of plain black sweaters, or green cardigans, or whatever, so my police these days is that if I already have something similar, I’ll only buy it if the existing item is something I wear so often that I know I’ll need to replace it.
// WILL I HAVE TO BUY SOMETHING ELSE TO MAKE IT WORK?
Sometimes you’ll find the perfect skirt… which will only work if you can ALSO find the perfect top to wear with it. Or the perfect dress… which REALLY needs a particular colour of shoes, which you don’t have. In the past, I’ve always found it fairly easy to convince myself that if I buy the thing anyway, I’ll be able to track down whatever it is that I need in order to be able to wear it: all too often, though, that doesn’t actually happen, and that item I loved so much becomes a closet orphan – everyone say, “Awwwww!”
// AM I TOTALLY SURE ABOUT IT?
You know those times when you try something on, and as soon as you look in the mirror you think, “OMG, there’s absolutely no way I’m leaving this store without this!” In an ideal world, those would be the only clothes I’d ever buy: I dream of a wardrobe in which every single item makes me feel amazing when I wear it, and in which everything I own is a “favourite”. Of course, that’s not a totally realistic goal, unfortunately – I mean, I’m never going to get really excited over a simple white t-shirt, say, or any of the other necessary basics – but it’s nevertheless still one I’ve been trying to aim for. So, when I try something on, and find myself thinking, “Hmm, I wonder if I can wear this?” “Is this too short/long/tight/whatever?” I put it right back where it came from. I’m working here on the principle that if you have to ask, the answer is probably “no”: and the fact is, even if the item I’m trying really ISN’T too short, long, tight or whatever, the fact that I wondered if it was will probably stop me feeling truly comfortable when I wear it: and when you don’t feel comfortable, you generally don’t LOOK comfortable either.
// HOW WILL I FEEL IF IT SELLS OUT?
It’s all very well to say you shouldn’t buy something unless it fulfils all of the above criteria, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are some things that don’t even REMOTELY fulfil the criteria, but which you still absolutely LOVE. My final litmus test, then, is to ask myself how I’d feel if I didn’t buy it, and it ended up selling out: if the answer is that I’d spend the rest of my life endlessly trawling eBay for it, then that’s probably a good sign that I should buy it and avoid the inevitable hassle. (That’s assuming I can afford it, obviously!) Ideally, I try to give myself a bit of a cooling off period, by either closing the website I’m looking at, or walking out of the store. Nine times out of ten, I’ll have forgotten all about that “must have” item by the end of the day – on the one out of ten times where I really regret walking away, however, I know it’s time to hit that “buy now” button![Image]