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  • Lori Thomas

How to create a smart shopping mindset



How does shopping make you feel?


I've worked with a lot of clients, and I've learned that shopping doesn't bring a smile to everyone's face.


I know it's technically not a sport. But, for me, it's always been an enjoyable pastime (kind of like a form of urban hiking - just with different views).


Because I happen to be in shops frequently (with clients or on my own - as I said, I enjoy browsing as a pastime), I rarely purchase a lot at one time. I always have a good handle of what is in my closet and what wardrobe gaps are on my radar. Also, in theory, I am trying to streamline my wardrobe so I am much more deliberate and thoughtful when considering how a new piece will fit amongst what's already there. It's an investment.


For many, shopping (or browsing in shops) isn't an enjoyable pastime. They'd rather be doing something else. I get it. So, for those people rather than pick up a piece here and there; they would prefer powering through and shopping as infrequently as possible.


I get it. Kind of like me and hiking.


Whichever category you fall in (or somewhere in between), here are a few things that I always ask myself when shopping to keep on track when it comes to building a cohesive wardrobe and sticking to a reasonable budget:


Top 5 things that are on my radar when considering a new garment:


Fit: Does it fit and flatter? Does it suit me and my lifestyle? How does it make me feel?


Current Wardrobe Inventory: Do I have anything similar to it in my closet that I would wear for the same purpose (note: often we end up with a closet full of the same types of pieces). Or, will this fill a gap or hole in my wardrobe? It’s alway good to be aware of what is lacking, so you can shop or acquire new pieces with intention. That’s why I love the closet edit before a big shopping excursion!


Versatility: Will it go pieces already in my wardrobe? Can I style it at least 3 ways? If I think about styling options ahead of time, the likelihood of me wearing a new garment often increases dramatically.


Cost-Per-Wear: Do I have occasion to wear it? How frequently do I see myself wearing this, will it earn its cost-per-wear...


$$ - Cost and my Budget: What do I feel is a reasonable price for this garment? I love to try something on, see if it checks all the above criteria, and then figure out what I think it is worth. I then, check the price and that helps me decide if it is a reasonable purchase that I will feel good about.


The 5 points listed above are always part of my decision making process. Which is why, more often than not, I end up walking away - it's hard to find clothing that meets all the criteria. Which is a good thing, if it passes the test, it should serve us well over time. That's the goal.


Sometimes I find a piece that I absolutely fall in love with. It brings me instant joy. It may not tick all the boxes above, but that excitement can occasionally justify a purchase. I like to say those pieces earn their love-per-wear. Because, the goal is to feel happy with and in our clothing.


I often end up purchasing some gems while on holiday as they are unique and always have a memory attached (like the dress I am wearing in this photo - a gem found in Mexico a couple of years ago and has far surpassed its cost-per-wear).


Regardless of how you feel about shopping, if you have a well-edited closet and keep these questions in mind when out and about in stores, you'll make good decisions. It will benefit your wallet and you'll end up loving the wardrobe you own. Don't forget, it's an investment - how we spend our money matters.


For my clients (many of who don't enjoy shopping), I curate an entire fitting room prior to our shopping appointment based on what I've learned about them and their needs. Always adhering to the above criteria. We chat, browse, and my goal is to make it a pleasant (even fun!) experience. They can just power through and then get on with their day, or to one of their favourite pastimes. While still ending up with a wardrobe they love!


So no matter your shopping style or preferences: frequent browser or short and sweet - if you start to embed this mindset into the experience, your closet and your bank account will thank you. I promise. No more impulse purchases and closets full of clothes with nothing to wear.






  • Style Smarts Personal Styling
  • Style Smarts Personal Styling

2019 • LORI THOMAS • STYLESMARTS • VANCOUVER BC