My Back-To-School Lesson
Here in Los Angeles we don’t usually realize it’s fall until late October (it’s a little hard to think about cozy sweaters and high boots when it’s 95 degrees out), but the good news is that the fashion industry is in full autumnal swing. And as I hit the stores both online and off, I’m realizing how much my buying patterns have changed – and improved – in the last year.
I’ll admit it – I’ve been an impulse shopper in the past, and not the savviest one, especially when faced with a bargain. Heck, my sample sale mantra has been “everything will be fine if I lose ten pounds to get into this skirt/ if I only wear these shoes into the restaurant and back to the car/ if I wear enough blush to make up for the fact I can’t really wear this color close to my face.”
If a pair of shoes didn’t quite fit or the seams looked a little crooked, it didn’t necessarily stop me from buying them. After all, I could just toss them out when I didn’t like them anymore and get another pair, right? But with the dual influence of today’s tough economy and a growing awareness of green, I’m shopping a little smarter. The really weird thing? I’m spending more on less.
Even to me it seems counterintuitive to be bypassing the discount aisle when the economy’s down, but if there’s any lesson I’ve learned in the last 12 months it is about the importance of quality, especially when it comes to what I put on my feet. For some reason I keep recalling Hannibal Lecter’s line to Clarice in “Silence of the Lambs” about how her cheap shoes made her look like a rube. While that isn’t inspiring me to drop $800 for designer footwear, it is making me look long and hard at every pair of shoes before I buy. Since I know I won’t be running out in a month or so to snap up a replacement, each pair of shoes on my maybe list has to meet a much more stringent set of criteria than in the past. Are they well made? Do they fit (and I mean really fit, not “I can squeeze them on my feet and who cares if I can feel my big toe?” fit)? Can I wear them with many outfits I currently have in my closet, not just one? Are they distinctive? And most importantly, do I love them?
It’s a long list, but having just plowed through my closet to sift out all those doesn’t fit/wrong color/almost but not quite right choices I’ve made in the past and rarely worn, I’m seeing how being pickier going forward will be a boon not just for my closet but for my overall look. If I never wear anything I don’t love, how much happier will I be? How much more confident? Instead of sifting through dozens of shoes that aren’t quite right to find those one or two pairs I wear until they’re worn out, what if I only had go-to shoes? Sure, I may be spending a little more on fewer item, but in the end, I’m saving money. And shelf space. Gotta love that.
What about you? How are your shopping habits changing?