I used to think it was a matter of maturity. As we age, we should grow wiser and make smarter choices...about everything, including our clothing purchases. When I was younger, I figured women over 40 let go of 'bargain shopping' due to wisdom and financial freedom.
Then, I started paying attention to how my 15 year old daughter shops. She avoids buying something just because it's 'On Sale'. She buys the best quality she can afford (most of her wardrobe is purchased with money she's earned babysitting). She purchases with a plan.
She selects classics that will last. And then...she adds 'wow' with accessories and the occasional trendy piece. She always looks finished. And just right.
I realize now that it has nothing to do with age. It is a mindset. Many of us were raised with
the concept of 'buy it because it's on sale', 'more is more'. Buy cheap and buy often. If one is good then a lot are better- it doesn't matter if you love it! This method has our closets bursting, yet we still have nothing we want to wear.
The idea of less being better is not new. European women often have tiny closets that contain a few well chosen, good quality pieces. They wear these pieces repeatedly. As in, several times a week. And considering the stylish women- of all ages- that I've seen on the streets of Paris, Madrid, Florence, Sienna, Nice... it's working for them.
I have always been a bargain shopper. I love a good deal. In the past I often let the good deal get the best of me. I'd buy pieces that I didn't really love or need just because they were on sale.
I was also guilty of buying inexpensive full-priced clothing. I would pick the lower priced version that was "okay"...instead of the more expensive piece that I truly loved.
I have always been skilled at helping my clients avoid buying something just because it was on sale. I have carefully explained to others that every purchase should make you look and feel amazing. Somehow, I wasn't able to take my own advice.
Thankfully, my wonderful husband intervened.
He finally said to me several years ago, "If you buy one more thing for yourself at Old Navy,
we are getting divorced". I don't think he truly meant that he would end our really great marriage. He was just trying to help me to see my own worth. To recognize that at almost 40 years old, I deserved to buy something nice. Not with an unlimited budget and not every time I went out...
but when I was buying something for my wardrobe, it should be the best I could afford... and the version I really, truly love.
I am now a completely different shopper. And while I still enjoy the thrill of a deal, I only buy what I truly love (and need and will wear often). I often shop with my daughter and luckily, she always reminds me when I should pass. She clearly has her father's genes:-)
How to be sure...
Ask yourself these questions when you are considering a sale or bargain item:
1. Do I love it?
Really love it. It makes me smile. It reflects who I want to show the world. I would be so very disappointed if I come back and it's gone.
2. Do I just love the price?
Often customers ask what the original price was on a garment. They feel that if the piece has been drastically marked down, then it is more valuable to them. A slashed price doesn't make the item a fabulous addition to your closet. If it was originally $350 and now it's $19... it's only a great deal if you absolutely love it and it enhances your wardrobe.
3. Does it work with my existing wardrobe?
Limit yourself to purchases that will really work in your closet. If you only wear solid, neutrals, then a hot pink, floral print blouse may not be what you need. Exception:
If you are trying to change or update your style, then this piece might be the perfect addition.
4. Is it the best version of this piece that I have found?
Whatever it is you are looking for...buy the best you can find and afford. Sometimes the 'best' version, your favorite, will actually be the bargain.
For example, my favorite tank for sleeping is from Forever 21. It is a direct knock-off of an American Apparel tank. I have both. I prefer the Forever 21 version... cost $3.80 each. $18.20 less than the AA tank. BUT, I don't buy the Forever 21 tank because it's less expensive, I buy it because I genuinely like it better.
There are lots of great sales out there. Be careful not to purchase something just because of the price. Items purchased for the fantastic price tag almost always hang in our closets unworn. Be discerning...your style and closet will thank you.
Thanks for reading.
Hello, I'm Kristen.
As a personal stylist,