Having a capsule wardrobe isn’t about never shopping again, however when you do shop you have to be a little bit savvier. There is no point in planning a capsule wardrobe if you then go out and spend hundreds of pounds on things you’ll never wear. Even if you aren’t creating a capsule wardrobe being a little bit more sensible when shopping will help save you money. I wanted to share some of the tips I’ve picked up to help you become a more savvy shopper. If you’re trying to cut back on your shopping read my post on overcoming the desire to shop,
6 Steps to Becoming a Savvy Shopper
Make a List (and stick to it)
If you’re working on creating a capsule wardrobe your list should be items which will help fill in the gaps in your wardrobe. For example, you may need some new knitwear for the cold weather or maybe some new boots. Add these to your list and only look for them. I know it’s very tempting to look through the sales rails (especially at this time of year), but you don’t need that sparkly mini dress (even if it is 75% off). Make up your shopping list before you hit the shops and make sure you stick to it.
Set a Budget
Once you have your shopping list the next step is to a budget. You need to think carefully about how much you can afford to spend. Remember to take into account all the bills you need to pay as well as leaving some fun money (for meals out, cinema etc). You don’t want to spend all your wages on clothes at the start of the month and have to leave of beans and toast until payday – no new dress is worth that. Once you have set your budget, make sure you stick to it. One technique to help is to only pay using cash (having taken out what you plan to spend). When you pay with cash you tend to make more considered purchases. Once you have spent it all, that’s it no more shopping.
Quality Over Quantity
Savvy shoppers have focused on quality rather than quantity. You should focus on buying classic pieces which will be in your wardrobe for years to come. This means avoiding fast fashion and cheap clothing stores. Buy the best quality pieces you can afford, although remember that quality doesn’t always have to be the most expensive. The best way to test quality is to hold the item in your hands – feel the fabric, look at the stitching, look for the little details which make the piece special. It’s far better to have one good quality dress which will last years than 20 poor quality ones which will only last one wash.
Try Things On
Make sure you try everything on when you’re out shopping. This stops you buying things that don’t fit right or don’t suit you (because let’s face it when you bother to return those maybe items). A savvy shopper only buys things which fit well (or can be easily tailored) and look good on her (or him). Trying things on also helps you to test the quality of an item. If you shop online, try things on with your existing wardrobe to see if things go together. There is no point in buying a top if it doesn’t go with anything else in your wardrobe.
Wait – 24hr rule
If you see something you love in store, it’s on your list, within budget, great quality and looks great on you don’t buy it! This step may seem a little counter productive but if you have a history of making impulse purchases then don’t make purchases straight away. Go home and if you still want to buy it after 24 hours go back and make the purchase. Often you’ll find you forget about it and don’t go back to make the purchase. Remember shops are designed to take our money and it’s easy to get caught up in the moment (especially if somethings on sale)
If if you follow all the steps above there’ll still be occasions when you don’t make the perfect purchase. Don’t be afraid to return things which aren’t perfect. Check each shop’s individual return policy – here in the UK most shops (especially on the high street) give you 28 days to make returns. This is plenty of time to work out whether or not the piece is a good addition to your wardrobe.
*Just in case anyone is confused the £10 note in the image is a Scottish note