You see it draped luxuriously on a model or sparkling under the lights at the boutique.
It’s calling out to you. It’s on sale! You MUST have this garment before it gets away!
The urge to splurge the minute we find a suitable piece is a natural instinct; one that is fostered by marketers who create a sense of urgency with promotional offers.
I’m all for splurging on pieces you’re deeply excited about, but I want that loving feeling to last. Often we’re so excited to have hunted down a cute match that we lose sight of the long-term relationship.
Your wardrobe challenge this week is to wait 24 hours between finding your next garment and buying it.
How will this challenge help your personal style?
Shopping is a deeply psychological exercise. In the immediate shopping environment, be it in-store or on-line, our perception of a garment is generally driven by our short-term reward system. The short-term reward system likes the thrill of the hunt. It wants to score an item at a great sale, leave the mall with a shiny new package, and enjoy the rush of buying from a trendy store. Try as we might, it’s often difficult – perhaps even anti-instinctual – to objectively weigh the emotional thrill of shopping against the long-term rewards of owning a specific garment.
In the long run, however, it’s the rewards of a perfect fit, lovely material and compatibility with the rest of our wardrobe that determine if a garment is right for us – not how buying it made us feel.
A classic example is the temptation to buy a stunning pair of designer shoes that almost fit because the markdown is exceptional. The adrenaline rush of leaving the store with this luxury steal is overwhelmingly rewarding. Leaving the store without them can even be psychologically painful. A month later, however, too small shoes, gorgeous as they may be, won’t be coming out of our closet for anything other than selfie shots! What you’re really paying for, in a case like this, is the joy of carrying the shoes home,
If you PBP (pause before purchase) by giving yourself 24 hours between your wardrobe discovery and pulling the trigger, you force yourself out of the shopping frenzy mindset. The pause changes your cognition to a more objective mindset.
Use this time to evaluate how likely you are to wear the garment once you own it. I recommend looking up the item on your phone and bringing it right into your closet, asking yourself the following questions as you hold the image up to your existing wardrobe:
- How well does it pair with what you already own?
- Do you already have very similar items that you like just as much or better?
- Is it exactly what you need or would a similar item in a different colour/shape/texture serve you better?
- How often are you likely to wear it?
You can also take my Should You Buy It? quiz to help decide if it’s a good wardrobe investment.
If you’re still excited about the purchase after 24 hours, you can buy it with full confidence. Odds are you’ve found a great match!
See previous wardrobe challenge