“Buy less, choose well, make it last” -Vivienne Westwood
So here it is: the fun part! Now that you’ve gone through the challenging planning, painful purging and list making, you’re ready to hunt for your new items. This is definitely my favorite part. Again, go into this stage with a healthy dose of intentionality. Spontaneous, impulse purchases are your enemy! Stick to your list and you should be golden.
I prefer to start my shopping process online. Honestly, I usually start and finish my process that way mainly because of my location. I don’t have close access to my favorite stores so it’s easier to take advantage of free shipping and return deals than to make a full day trip a few hours away, especially now that I have a babe around.
What I’ll do is open up several tabs, one for each of my favorite shops and begin to go through the sites with my list. I let myself pick all the items that grab my attention at first. But don’t worry, I don’t just trust my gut instinct. When I find items that I like, I’ll pick the color, size and add it to my wishlist on the site. This is a great tool that I love using. Most sites have them if you have a login with them. All you have to do is click that little “add to wishlist” button usually close to the “add to cart” button. I’ll go through the site adding and once I’m done, it’s so easy to click on that wishlist and see all the pieces that I’m interested in.
Continue this process through each little tab. If the site doesn’t have a wishlist option, just add to cart and create a little collection that way. I like to use the wishlist because it saves everything long term. So if I get to the end of this shop and don’t feel ready to commit to a piece, I can leave it there for next time. This is the best way to track sales on the items you have your eye on! If you want to check in to see if the piece is on sale but don’t want to be distracted by other beauties while you’re there, it’s much easier to click on a pre-made list giving each piece a onceover. Also, it’s great for those “on the fence” moments when you’re just not sure about a piece but don’t want to forget about it. A lot of shops will tell you when the item is running low on stock which I feel like helps when I’m quibbling over an item. If I know there’s just a few left, I’m more likely to order and try on and less likely to continue to wait and miss out.
Once you’ve gone through your favorite sites and have your little baskets and lists put together, here come the edit. Like I said, the shopping process is similar to the original planning process I write about earlier. So you’ve gathered your favorites, go through with your list and make sure that things are working with your colors, fabrics, silhouettes, etc. I love having little groupings in a wishlist because I can look at all the pieces as a whole to see if they all work well together. If they do, I’ll ask myself a few questions before I add it to my shopping cart.
- Is this a trend piece that I won’t want to wear in six months or does it have timeless quality? I won’t say a hard no to trend pieces, but they have to work well with my entire wardrobe and be a bit understated.
- How many outfits can I create with this piece and what is already in my closet?
- Does this piece fit into my actual lifestyle or my dream lifestyle?
- Does the cost per wear make sense with the piece?
If the piece passes all of these, then I’ll go ahead and add to my shopping cart. Then, I wait. Unless there’s a crazy sale that only lasts through the day or the item is running low on stock, I’ll wait at least 24 hours before I hit that “purchase” button. Something I’ve learned being a recovering impulse buyer is that time is so valuable when it comes to shopping. If I have an item that I can’t get out of my brain for a full 24 hours, I know that I’m excited to wear it and will enjoy having it in my wardrobe. If I’m wishy washy about it the next day, I know that I’ll continue to have doubts about it after I order it.
The final step is hitting that “checkout” button. Again, I do a little heartcheck before I do this. If I have any doubts, I put the item back in my wishlist and save it for later. Sometimes I go back and decide I’m excited about it, but I never buy an item if I’m not 100% excited about it.
When your pretty packages arrive, take some time to unbox everything and see how it looks in person. If you’ve physically gone shopping and have bags of wares, do the same. See how everything looks together and also how they look with your favorite wardrobe staples. Wait to try everything on until you have time to evaluate their fit, comfort and effectiveness in your wardrobe. If something isn’t working, package it up and put it in your car to drop off at the post office. Don’t get caught in the “I’m not sure” trap and lose out on your return window! I’ve done this way too many times and end up keeping clothes that I will then never wear. If you have something that you really love but that needs an alteration, put it in your purse and schedule a time that week to get it taken care of. There’s nothing wrong with having to work with a piece, but it just has to happen right away or else, chances are that top will wait and wait in the back of your closet until you grow a small amount of disdain for this piece you so desperately want to love.
And that’s it! That’s the extended process of curating a closet that I went through a couple of years ago. Now, I stick to the same process but it doesn’t take nearly as long since it’s ongoing. Once that initial purge happens, it’s so much easier to keep up with the process.
One final note! If you purchase something and it arrives and is not what you expected, don’t waste time. Pop it back in the packaging and return it! The longer you let it sit around and wonder if you should or shouldn’t, the more likely you are to end up with something you don’t love and therefore won’t wear. I ended up returning both pairs of shoes from this haul because they just weren’t going to work for me. So that just means I’ll add a slip on mule and colored loafer back to my wishlist and repurchase when I find exactly what I’m looking for.
Until next time!