Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mail Bag: Shopping Frequency

I swear – I am not making this up. This is REAL reader mail!

Question: how often do you shop? You seem to have so many clothing items to coordinate, that fit, that aren't outdated. My closet has about 10 outfits in it (leftover from school where wearing the same outfit more than once every two weeks was a faux pas). I never seem to have time to go shopping, so I never have new items. So my question is, how often do you have to shop to keep your closet interesting?


How often do I shop? That’s a difficult question to answer. I plan on shopping about once a month or so, and that’s usually a trip to the thrift store, to Target to see the new GO designer collection, or to find something I “need” (like silver shoes). I actually end up shopping about three times a month, give or take. I do a lot of spur of the moment purchasing – falling in love with a skirt as I browse the Victoria’s Secret catalog, entertaining myself at the mall while Mike looks for the latest UFC release, becoming sidetracked during a trip to Target to (ostensibly) get cat litter, or popping over to TJ Maxx on my lunch break. I have a very full schedule, so I take advantage of shopping opportunities as they appear.

Regarding your observation that I “have so many clothing items to coordinate, that fit, that aren't outdated:”

  • They coordinate because I gravitate to the same colors and shapes. When I look at something new, I try to imagine how it will fit with existing items in my wardrobe before I buy. I have a pretty good idea of what will look good with my coloring and shape and try not to stray, even when tight, purple jeans are all the rage.
  • Everything fits because I’ve been the same size for over 15 years (since my junior year of high school). That’s plenty of time to collect a hell of a lot of clothes.
  • I consider most of my purchases “classics” or at least classic to my sense of style. When I do buy trend items, I wear and wear and wear them while they’re in style so that I don’t feel bad ditching them in a year or two. For the most part, though, I shy away from extreme fads that will look outdated quickly. (Or I learn to conceal their faddishness with layers!)

The only shopping I NEED to do is to replace items or to update with trends. I think once a month is often enough to accomplish both. The "need" shopping usually takes me to the internet or a large chain store because I'm looking for a specific item and a reputable retailer. For WANT shopping, I try to stick with thrift stores, swapping, or super duper sales. I engage in "want" shopping on whim (but, dear God, I need to rein in the thrifting). Whether it’s “need” or “want” shopping, I’m not the sort to spend an entire day at the mall. I’d rather just visit a store or two as the mood strikes and then go do something else.

It sounds like you are interested in updating your wardrobe but feel a little overwhelmed by the prospect. It may sound overly obvious, but making a list can help. I keep a mental list of the things I need for the upcoming season:

  1. long gloves (nabbed a ruched, velvet pair today at TJ Maxx for $12)
  2. more long-sleeved t-shirts
  3. tights
  4. black socks (that look different from my husband’s or else he STEALS them)
  5. new black boots (but not till the January sales!)
  6. a down jacket

Then, when a shopping opportunity appears, I not only browse for what catches my fancy, but also for what is on The List.

Planning a shopping trip once every four weeks or so works for me, and I keep an open mind (and eye) the rest of the month.


Vicki said...

Great post! I think what makes your wardrobe work so well is that you mix and match so much. We don't always recognize the same item with it is worn a different way.

Unknown said...

That's pretty much my shopping philosophy, too, although I think you're more talented and creative than I am!

Kasmira said...

Ahh...thanks, trish!

-smatz- said...

I am new to your blog and simply adore it!

Thanks for this practical post -- good tips! :)