The TL;DR – walking out with tons of clothes is not the only definition of a successful shopping trip. Building a wardrobe you love is just as much about what you don’t buy as what you do.
I was on a coaching call and we got to talking about the last time this client went shopping and bought clothes from a physical store (🙀 I know). She’s struggling with “nothing to wear” syndrome. This woman has a closet full of clothes – but only a very small percentage of her clothes actually feel like her. And an even smaller percentage are clothes she wears regularly.
Her goal when she started coaching was “…I would love to have some outfits that I know I can go to, to feel confident before appearing on video calls, interviews, photoshoots etc.”
So we worked through her style qualities, and outfit options, etc. etc. And we got to talking about how she goes shopping. To her, a successful shopping trip was one where she walked out of the store with lots of clothes.
That’s a common definition of a successful shopping trip, because the aim of going shopping for clothes is to buy clothes. Right?
Yes and no.
What do we mean when we say “a successful shopping trip?”
There are few times in our lives when “just buying clothes” is the aim. If it were, we would always have something to buy and a shopping would always be a success.
But more often, our goal is to “buy clothes we love” or “buy clothes that fit” or “replace this pair of pants” or “buy an outfit for an IG photo” or “buy something to wear to that wedding” or “buy something to wear with that sweater I never reach for.”
When you make your shopping goal specific, you also change the definition of a successful shopping trip.
If your goal is to buy clothes that fit, or clothes you love, or something for that wedding, then your trip is successful if you buy clothes that fit, or that you love, or for that wedding.
If your goal is to buy clothes that fit, and the store has nothing, then buying something out of a sense of obligation isn’t success – it’s just an obligation.
This client wanted outfits she felt confident in, but regularly bought clothes that didn’t make her feel confident. She bought them because her definition of a successful shopping trip was one where you bought something. We changed her definition of a successful shopping trip from a trip where she bought something, to a trip where she bought clothes she felt confident in (and would wear!).
This new definition of success means, if a store doesn’t have anything that makes her feel confident, then walking out of that store with nothing is a grand success.
Building a wardrobe you love is just as much about what is not hanging in your closet. You can’t build the wardrobe of your dreams if you clutter it up with clothes you bought (or kept) because you felt you should.
If you have trouble keeping focused while you’re shopping, try using a Pocket Shopping List to stay focused on buying just what you want to buy.