Monday, January 18, 2010

Shopping Strategy

Shopping you have one? I do, and with all the great sales and deals going on lately I thought I would share it with you. 

I truly enjoy shopping and styling different looks with the pieces I find. When I see an item in the store or online, I automatically envision the different ways it can be styled and how much *potential* it may or may not have, whether it be for myself or one of my clients.    
I believe each piece should pass a little *test* before it can become a full-time resident in a wardrobe.
  1. Will it transition easily into the already existing wardrobe alone, or will it require supplemental purchases to *fit in*? If additional purchases are required in order for it to be worn, then it shouldn't make the *cut* unless it is an absolutely ADORED piece, and then an exception can be made...occasionally.
  2.  Can it be styled in at least 3 different ways? I know some of you remember when I discussed this briefly last year on J.Crew Aficionada and have even incorporated it into your own shopping experiences. It is a *rule* I have had for many years now, and I think it's an important one, as it insures that the item has true wearability, as well as longevity. For example: the sets I have styled over the past year or so for one of my clients consist of a *focal* or *main* piece that is styled in 3 or more different ways, so that she has numerous options when wearing it. This gives the item more wearability and longevity in her wardrobe since she has more choices of when, where, and how to wear that piece.
  3. Is there already something similar in the existing wardrobe? If so, does it get a lot of use or is it a *museum* piece? Is the new item different enough to warrant being purchased? If not then it shouldn't make the cut. 
  4. For myself I ask this question: do I absolutely ADORE it? If not, then I don't purchase matter how great the price is (well, at least 98% of the time I don't..I am human, after all ;). This is a really hard one to follow, but it can really help *cut down* on unnecessary purchases if implemented.

    So there it is...the strategy I follow when shopping for myself, as well as my clients, to help build a true *working* wardrobe that consists of wearable items and outfits, instead of a closet filled with *museum* pieces.
Do you have a *Shopping Strategy* or any rules you follow when making purchases? Please feel free to comment. :)  

Also, remember that today is the last day for the GET MORE, SAVE MORE promotion at GAP, Old Navy, and Banana Republic. Click here and here for my previous posts on the promotion, as well as some of picks.



  1. I use the same kind of strategy - it is essential with all the 'deals' out there! I find that when I break one of the rules, I usually end up returning the item or not wearing it. I recently broke Rule #4 at Loft. There was a velvet blazer very similar to the Eden that looked fabulous on and was around $30 on sale. I didn't love the color though - it was a muddy, heathered plum color. I bought it anyway and after trying it on at home, I ended up returning it because the color didn't wow me. Confession: I have the berry-trim Astrid in the Bright Blue color that I have *never worn* because although I love the color, it doesn't fit in my wardrobe. I should have bought the plum or charcoal. Great topic!

  2. Fantastic post! I especially agree with needing to love a piece before we buy it, since that means we can truly make it work with our style. I'd also add that I like to buy pieces that transcend most of the seasons, so I can wear them almost year round. I just feel I get more of my money's worth that way :)

  3. When I reached my mid-30s, I embarked on a *new* strategy -- that is, ONLY buy soemthing if it's timeless and classic in its own way. For example, I have to see myself wearing it over and over. For the most part, I have pretty much adhered to that rule. I had cleaned out my closets of most of the things I don't wear, have never worn or worn only once and just don't *love." However, I do slip up occasionally or get caught up in the Crew frenzy from time to time. But, I am pretty happy with my closet now (except it's too small!) and continue to be vigilant about pulling the trigger on "trendy" and/or all about the moment type items. It's hard but I am trying to stay strong! Plus, since I am one of FFM's clients, she has really helped me shop my closet and get the most use of my old and my new purchases with the PVs she has put together for me. So, thank you FFM!!!

  4. Great topic, I end up breaking alot of my rules with the exception of the cost per wear rule, I ask myself how many times will I wear this item, and how many ways I can wear it. I also try to follow a color palette of 4-5 colors.

    As for on-line shopping I try and wait awhile before ordering, I found this has eliminated some unecessary purchases from J Crew.

  5. Great post...I've been better about going for pieces that are transitional. Another rule I would insert in there is: Seriously consider the fit, and don't go nuts over the size on the tag. It is always better for items to fit you, or get properly tailored. This can go either way...with vanity sizing me into a 00 (which I am NOT), or having a heck of a with vintage wear. Buy what fits you and tailor from there. :)

  6. I've been randomly buying things I like -- and even some things I don't particularly like because I think they'll work with other items in my wardrobe -- and I'm starting to realize that I need a better strategy. Your rules are very useful, and I am going to keep them in mind even if I can't always stick to them. Thank you. (My big problem is that I can't afford most of the things I adore!)

  7. GREAT topic, FFM! Great comments, AnneG!! I am in my early 40s, and try to follow the same "strategy" you've stated. Of course, I do fall victim occasionally to drinking too much of the "crewlade"! One thing I do - I keep all the tags on an item after I buy it (and keep receipts of course)- if it's still hanging in my closet a month later, unworn, I usually realize that I did make a mistake in my purchase and really re-consider and usually end up returning the item. Unfortunately, I do have quite a few items of clothing in my closet that would fit "if I would just lose 10 more pounds"! I just need to admit that my body is different now that I've had 3 kids (including one set of twins) and I really need to learn to just let those items go!

  8. One more thing: Coley - great comments on fit! Nothing looks worse than a beautiful piece of clothing that doesn't fit properly! I try really hard to ignore the "number" on the tag!

  9. I definitely try to follow these same rules!

    The "wear 3 ways" rule becomes less useful as you acquire more and more clothes (like I tend to do). For anything I might buy, chances are there are at least 10 different outfits I can wear with it because I keep accumulating clothes, thus the no-duplicates rule (#3)!

    McShoppy, I also have the bright blue berry astrid (which I bought from FFM herself!). FFM has put together some nice polyvore sets featuring it that you can check out! I just wish those cute blue patterned J Crew heels were still available... which I realize would be breaking rule #1!

  10. Hello Ladies! Thank you all so much for stopping by and sharing your shopping strategies. :)

    I should also add that I think it is important to go through your closet at least once each season and *weed out* the orphans, museum pieces, and items that no longer fit. This helps to give a *clearer picture* of what you *really* have that is working for you, and where the voids are that need to be filled.

    Thank you again for stopping by to share...I really appreciate it! :)

  11. I love these rules - so great to have guidelines. I love adopting a different ones because they keep the brain fresh in considering potential purchases, instead of getting used to the same rules and trying to find ways around them.

    I really do need to go through my closet each season to weed out. The last closet cleansing I did was last March/April and I am so overdue for one.

    I am trying to be much better and more conscious about what I buy and also what I keep. The must-wear-in-30-days rule is a really good one. I am actually debating right now about a summer dress I bought at JC in November on sale - because I had trouble finding good summer day dresses last year that I really loved and thought were worth the money (sundresses were easier, actual "day dresses" with sleeves that require a bra were harder to find).

    Elizabeth in MO - when I did my closet cleanse last year, I had quite a few things that fell in the "need to lose 10 lbs" category. My solution was to (1) get rid of a lot of it - too much of that in the closet is bad for your psyche and (2) put those things I really wanted to keep on a different color hanger (my blue hangers). That way they were easy to identify and avoid until I lost the weight. I had 1 pair of jeans that were on a red hanger - they were the last thing I needed to fit into. I also always keep that 1 red hanger as it has some serious sentimental value...but I've hijacked enough of FFM's post already. :)

  12. I know that I am a late arriver to this string- but I LOVE all the thoughts here. Before my shopping hiatus, unfortunately I didn't use any rules- I have always been an "I LOVE IT" kinds of shopper (which is why I needed to take a break...). But when I do get back out there, I will implement these rules. Thanks!