Purchase guilt, we’ve all been there. The candy coloured kitchen aid, the cream wool coat, the designer shoes or even just the perfect shade of red lipstick. I happen to think that a little bit of wanting something is good for you. It gives you something to work towards and, if you are anything like me, you get a little flurry of excitement just from imagining owning. But what happens when you get that coveted item and instead of sparking joy, it fills you with a sense of guilt?
Take as an example these items:
I bought both while I was on maternity leave. I was going through the biggest change of my life, adjusting to being a mum, the changes to my body and I’ll be honest my self-esteem was pretty low.
I started to focus on this image of a yummy mummy lifestyle where I would rock up to drop my Son off at school in my heeled boots and my cream coat, immaculate hair and make-up. I shopped with this future vision I mind, but I was shopping for an imaginary life I did not, do not and will not live.
Although they are beautiful items in their own right, I’ve worn the coat twice, the boots have never been worn. I tried to put them on about 2 months after having the baby and cried when I couldn’t get them over my still swollen calves. They were shoved in to the cupboard.
Now when I look at them I get a bitter taste in my mouth, I regret buying them, I regret the money I spent and that they reduced me to tears when they were supposed to make me feel fantastic.
While going through my belongings KonMari style, I have been forced to confront the items that I have shoved to the back of the wardrobe with an empty promise of wearing them “someday”. So why after lusting for these things, stalking them on EBay, hunting them down in the sales have I seldom or sometimes never worn them? Because I wasn’t shopping for me, I wasn’t shopping for the life I live now.
So here are my tips to shop for the life you live and avoid purchase guilt.
- Try everything on – even if you shop online try it on and immediately send back anything that isn’t 100% perfect. Beware EBay if you aren’t sure an item will fit.
- That’ll do, won’t do – Only buy pieces that you love. If you are pulling at it in the fitting room and it doesn’t fit right. It isn’t right. Put it back.
- Would I pay full price for this? – This will help you avoid the lure of the sale tag. Do you really love it or do you love the price. Have you ever noticed that the staple classics (skinny jeans, white shirts) are never in the end of season sale in your size? Sales of this kind are designed to tempt you buy what no-one else wanted. How’s that bargain looking now?
- Can I afford this? – this is a yes or no question people! If you can’t afford it you will only regret it when you check your bank balance.
- Can I wear this tomorrow? – This is the big question for me. Does this fit into my current wardrobe. If you need to buy another piece to make an outfit. Put it back!
- Can I wear this tomorrow? – So important ask yourself again. Is your average day spent in the office, by the side of a freezing football pitch, crawling around with your toddler? Maybe those cream suede stilettos aren’t the right choice for you?
But what if I am; going to a wedding/ have a job interview?
There are exceptions to every rule. Outfits you only pull out for special occasions might not fit the would I wear this tomorrow question very well but the other rules above apply all the same. It should fit your body and your budget! Try to choose something classic and off trend. That peplum shift dress might look fantastic, but are peplums a trend that will stay around forever?
So now I invest my money in staple items that will last me for years and won’t date. I feel great in my minimalist wardrobe and I don’t feel guilty spending more money on really fantastic staple wardrobe items.
And I am having a lot of fun window shopping knowing a lot of the impulse buying temptation has gone away.