Welcome to (finally) Part 4 – list-making and shopping! Check out parts 1-3 here:
I’ve always made lists to go grocery shopping, but for some reason, the same had never occurred to me for clothes shopping. Clothes shopping always felt more spontaneous, more in the moment, and honestly – before I really sat down and tried to figure out my style – making a list more times than not made me really frustrated. Why? Because I would set out to buy something very specific, and wouldn’t be able to find it.
I think part of my error here was being almost too demanding – which sounds partially contradictory, given what I’m about to say. In the past, I would set out looking not just for (for example) a white button-down shirt, but rather a white button-down shirt from this particular store with this particular style of buttons and red stitching and….you get the idea. I was very focused on the specific look of the item, rather than the usage, and this led me to almost never make lists for shopping – rather, I would just go!
I’m trying to change that, though.
Here’s a look at a list I made at the beginning of the summer for a summer closet freshen-up shopping trip:
You’ll notice that while I’m specific about the uses of each item, I’m not very particular about things like the exact color or the perfect whatever it might be. I found that this approach has worked extraordinarily well. For example on this particular day I managed to get everything on my list except the Apple Watch strap and the shoes (purchased at a later date).
I think what was key here was indicating the use. This allowed me to be flexible in my shopping, while making sure that I still got useful pieces that fit my objectives (and you’ll notice, in one case I wrote what color not to buy – I know myself well enough now after studying my closet that I know I fall into the trap of buying the same colours over and over again!). For example, for the first item on the list: I found a beautiful white top that actually had the buttons down the back and a simple scoop neck in front. While it wasn’t what I imagined, it fit all my other characteristics – it works with shorts, skirts, and jeans, and hits at the top of my hips so can be easily tucked or worn out. It has become one of my most useful and favourite tops this summer – because it’s so versatile! And I think both versions of the old me shopper (both the too-strict and the too-whatever) would have passed it by.
As a side note, it was also helpful to have some outfits in mind for each article of clothing I wanted, outfits that I could make with pieces already in my closet.
Let me share the flip side of this as well. Since I’ve done this whole closet overhaul, I’ve been very attentive to Pinterest and to things I see people wearing that I want to try. I found myself on a recent Saturday travelling with my boyfriend for his work. While he was working, I wandered off to the city center to look at some shops. In the back of my mind, I knew I wanted a long cardigan, and a plaid button down. I found both for a reasonable price at a shop I went into on a whim, and was thrilled! But, when I got home and put them in my closet, I quickly realised that I had jumped too quickly on the cardigan – it’s beautiful and exactly what I was looking for, but I bought it in grey. When I opened my closet, I realised that I already have about 3 grey cardigans. Sigh. While it wasn’t a bad purchase, and I still wear it a lot, it would have been a much better purchase in another color – and if I had taken notes before going shopping, I would have bought it in another color. So, make lists, keep them updated, and keep them in your planner! 😉
For the time being, this concludes the closet overhaul series – I’m quite happy with my progress and feeling more on top of my style decisions at the moment. I’ll keep you updated with some short posts here and again, and do let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to hear about in more depth!
Check out parts 1-3 here: