…and Checking It Twice!

The processes of clearing out my closet (again!) and learning to work my core wardrobe have made me more committed than ever to keep impulse purchases in check this year, to trust my own sense of style, and to buy less and buy better. My goal is to limit myself to buying only those items that a) solve an existing problem or fill a gap in my wardrobe (and I’m now armed with a List) or b) that I love and that add a bit of panache to my core pieces. 

Some people have developed finely honed shopping instincts, but une femme is still a work in progress in this area, and finds tools and guidelines very helpful.  Before I reach for my wallet, I will run myself through this little decision tree: (may have to PowerPoint this one, just for fun…)

1.  Is it on the list? 
–If no, see #2.
–If yes, does it meet all style and fit criteria?  Is it the best quality that I can afford? 
   **If yes to both, buy it.
   **If no, put it down and keep looking.

2.  Is it a good cut and color for me?
–If no, put it down and walk away.
–If yes, see #3.

3.  Is it something that will add interest to my existing wardrobe?
–If no, put it down and walk away. 
–If yes, see #4.

4.  Will it require purchase of something additional in order to make it work with my existing wardrobe?
–If no, move to #5.
–If yes, put it down and walk away.

5.  Do I have someplace to wear it?
–If no, put it down and walk away.  It might be fabulous, but if only appropriate for very dressy occasions, or the beach, I won’t get my money’s worth.
–If yes, see #6.

6.  Does it fit?  Is it comfortable? 
–If no, and if it’s not just a matter of an alteration or two, then put it down and walk away.
–If yes, see #7.

7.  Is it the best quality I can afford?  Is the fabric, construction, styling commensurate with the price?
–If no, put it down and walk away.
–If yes, see #8.

8.  Do I feel fabulous in it?
–If no, put it down and walk away.
–If yes, BUY it!

Do you have a methodology that drives your purchasing decisions?  Or do you go with your gut and your heart?  Is your shopping strategy working for you?

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  1. I love this guideline. I’ve been shopping from a list of high quality basics that I hope to have in my closet, but it is so easy to get off track by a pretty color or great price. Put it down and walk away is what I need to hear!

  2. The list can be distilled to “put it down and walk away.” Sorry, I couldn’t resist. But seriously, that’s my mantra most of the time lately. With the exception of a fun splurge over the holidays, I’m not shopping that much lately, and when I do, I have something specific in mind.

  3. Not only am I going to print this out, I’m going to have it copied and laminated so that I can share it with others who will find it as useful as I do! (Full credit to you, natch, Pseu.)

  4. I love this list! Thank you for posting it.

    I always have difficulty spending money for dressy things–as they are so seldom worn. But, it is great to have them waiting in my closet when the need arises. Right now, I’m covered for dressy–but need longer jeans, black pants that fit well, and a wonderful casual dress for spring.

  5. Just a perfect checklist Femme. I went to the stores yesterday for the first time after the holidays. With similar thoughts of concise, focused shopping I came home with only a new foundation garment, and I felt good about it. No more half hearted spending for me! Thanks.

  6. At first I was all like ‘no way, as if, don’t tell me what to do!’ and ‘this biatch is all up in my grill about shit’, then I read your totally sensible guidelines and was like all ‘ YES!’. Thanks for reiterating the basic steps to how not to buy something completely ridiculous and uneccessary. xoxo

  7. Marguerite – glad it’s helpful! I hope after a while this type of focused assesment before buying will become second nature.

    Town and Country Mom – Thanks. And I must say that I’ve only rarely had non-buyer’s remorse. Those items would have passed the checklist.

    NancyDaQ – you’re right, actually. 🙂 It all boils down to just being more discriminating.

    Mary – LOL! The last thing I’d ever want to do is get up in anyone’s grill. 😉

    Kalee – thanks! I’m going to figure out how to get this down to wallet size and get it laminated to carry with me!

  8. Rubiatonta – ha, great minds think alike! But thank you, and glad you find it helpful.

    Susan – I agree, it’s good to have at least one ensemble that can go dressy. Nothing worse than panic shopping for a fancy event!

    Tiffany – thank you! And that’s a great resolution, mind if I join you in that one?

    Lorena – thanks so much, and I agree, we need a wallet-sized version of this!

  9. This is an excellent checklist, I’m pretty sure I need to print it out and carry it around in my handbag for shopping excursions.

  10. Great checklist. I think I’ll take a copy 🙂 I think my New Year’s Resolution this year is to learn to shop.

  11. I try to go through my closet periodically – at least I used to! The weeding out and being pragmatic about it really lets you see what you need and also, when you need absolutely nothing!

    These days, I stay out of the stores. It’s so tempting when everything is marked down. You are very disciplined!

  12. I’m so printing this and tackling my wardrobe first and then I’m taking the list with me for shopping. Thank you so much!

  13. Thank you for this post. I just printed your directions and am seriously considering laminating it so I have it with me always. I have just begun some serious shopping to beef up a tired wardrobe and this list is the perfect shopping companion. I love reading your blog and have really enjoyed your advice on staying focused.

  14. Thank you for this post. I just printed your directions and am seriously considering laminating it so I have it with me always. I have just begun some serious shopping to beef up a tired wardrobe and this list is the perfect shopping companion. I love reading your blog and have really enjoyed your advice on staying focused.

  15. Well, a slight aside – when i go to the sales I now ask myself if I would have paid full price for the garment?’ and if i decide that i WOULD have paid full price only then will I buy it and then think to myself i got a true bargain! (In the past i would find myself buying marked-down items that I would never have bought normally – I only purchased them because they were marked down….thinking to myself – i can make use of that..without it being an actual requirement to my wardrobe

  16. I second these wise comments and also encourage you to show us what makes the cut!

    I also ask myself if “I” want it or if I was influenced by reading what one “must have” or even, I admit, what a GF raves over.

  17. wow, I am impressed! Did you make up this check list? I am loving it! So many good questions to ask yourself before carrying the bag out the shop door.