Promise me something. Cross your heart and hope to eat pie; wrap thai noodles around your thighs…I can’t remember the exact wording of that childhood pact, but it was something along those lines. Promise me that you will never, ever go shopping for new clothing clad in athleisure wear. Anything belonging to the world of bedtime or yoga should be avoided at all costs when you embark on your shopping escapades if you want to be a highly effective shopper.
Upon reading this, you may be wondering what kind of deprived childhood I had that would compel me to make such a cold-hearted demand, but I assure you, you will thank me. I adore comfort, not showering, and occasionally masking my bodily transgressions with a tube of male-grade Old Spice deodorant as much as the next dame, but when it comes to shopping you must cease and desist your comfort-above-all-else ways.
“But why?!” you politely ask.
Have you ever gone grocery shopping while starving? Somehow in your hunger, four boxes of double-stuffed Oreos, queso dip of the neon orange variety, and a cauldron of Sour Patch Kids seemed like sensible grocery options. You purchase things out of frantic hunger that you would otherwise never purchase on a full belly, and the same is true when it comes to your shopping habits. If you are dressed in comfort wear, the second you catch a glimpse of your yoga-pant-toting ways in the mirror you are inclined to conclude you must purchase everything in sight to make up for your slothful state.
Let’s end this bad habit right now with these 3 habits of a highly effective shopper:
Habit #1: Shop Like You’re On A First Date
Go shopping in what you would wear to a classy first date. When it comes to shopping, my weapons of choice are always a fitted blazer, graphic tee, and a pair of dark skinny jeans. This look always makes me feel like the queen of my domain, and the clothing items at hand are my royal subjects toiling to impress me instead of the other way around. When you take a glance in the store mirror and see that your current attire is already effortlessly adorable, you are less likely to binge on frivolous purchases. A polished outfit helps you make a sober assessment of what you need and resist poor purchases accordingly. Something along the lines of “I’m cute already; I don’t need that second pair of identical beige khakis” will be part of your natural experience as a highly effective shopper.
Habit #2: Make A List, Check It Twice
Let’s face it: you don’t have a lot of time before the shopping experience feels tiring. After about 25 minutes of staring into a pool of patterns and prints, my soul begins to atrophy. Okay that was dramatic, but I do begin to lose motivation. To fight this, come prepared with a list of top three things that you are looking for. Prioritize the list by ranking them, one being most important and three being the least.
Everyone is different, but a highly effective shopper needs to think about their burnout time. How long can you shop before you start muttering nonsensical things to yourself and accusing mannequins of giving you some flagrant side-eye? My personal burnout time clocks in at an hour and a half. Knowing that I have an average 90-minute time cap, I allocate a set amount of time to locating the items on my list like this:
- Wrap dress: 40 Minutes
- Funky fun, off-the-shoulder top: 30 Minutes
- Black pants: 20 Minutes
Creating a list and giving yourself a time cap prevents shopping burnout and sets a healthy boundary around your time. Making a strategic list with your burnout time in mind will also keep you in the shopping game before the crazies set in.
Habit #3: If At First You Don’t Succeed, Go Home
If your designated burnout time cap has elapsed and you did not find what you are looking for, dear woman, for the love of clearance items, go home! Trust me, going home empty-handed will be better for your soul than toiling away at the sale racks and being escorted out by security at closing. Sometimes, it is not meant to be. It’s better you go home and nuzzle up next to loved ones than stay longer and grow wearier of shopping. You’ll live to try again another day.
With your three shopping habits now in place, remember your promise to me. The day of becoming a highly effective shopper is now here: go in peace, and may your closet go forth and sensibly multiply!