How to Shop More Intentionally

I often talk about “intentional shopping,” but what does that really mean? You can shop with an intention like “today I need to buy shoes,” but you can go a step further. You can shop for shoes that make you happy, work for your life, and fit your own, unique personal style. Here’s how:

Have an idea of what you want to look like

Really sit down with yourself and think about how you want to dress. Try to think beyond “looking put-together.” That by itself doesn’t really mean anything. What sort of outfits are you drawn to? What do you feel really good wearing? What parameters are you working within in terms of your job or lifestyle? This is where a personal styling session can be super helpful, as we can narrow down some basic cuts, necklines, and proportions that will work for you. If that’s not in the cards right now, it’s still helpful to think about what you enjoy. Pinterest can be an awesome inspiration tool if you’re feeling stuck.

Narrow down neutrals

I’ve mentioned before that figuring out your baseline neutrals is a huge benefit of color analysis. If you know that black, white, and flat gray all work for you, you can build a much more cohesive wardrobe than if you also had brown, khaki, and olive in the mix. This also goes for jewelry. Gravitating toward one color family (gold/bronze, silver/pewter, copper/rose gold, etc) makes accessorizing a snap. Essentially, if the “bones” of your wardrobe all work together, it gets so much easier to work in bolder colors and statement pieces. 

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From a few years ago, but working with a background of black, white, and silver means I can add red glasses and a teal skirt with minimal effort
Identify staples and holes in your wardrobe

“Staples” are things you wear often and feel great in – your favorite cut of jeans, shoes you wear frequently, dresses that get you all the compliments. If something works, go with it! Have several choices for things you really love, and you’ll spend much less time staring into your closet. “Holes” are things you often struggle with. Maybe you have a hard time figuring out cute, comfortable shoes in the winter months. Maybe you wear jeans all summer because you’ve never found shorts you like. Literally write down a list of things you need or want. Keep it current, and cross things off as you find them. We often don’t realize we’re missing something in our wardrobe until we’re standing in our bedroom half-dressed wishing we had it. 

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More recently – this short skirt/funky top/black shoes combo is still working for me, and I still love it!
Be on the lookout

It’s fine to go out shopping with a mission. I often find myself poking around online looking for something specific, or going to the thrift store with a mental (or literal) list. But oftentimes, it takes a while to find great pieces. Curating a wardrobe means looking often and buying rarely. Try on anything that looks interesting, and make a mental (or, again, literal) note of what you like about it and what you don’t. Be open to things you might not be “on the hunt” for at that moment – I once found an absolutely perfect summer dress while shopping for jeans. It’s not a wasted trip if you come home with something you love to wear. But above all…

Don’t settle

This is by far the hardest part of shopping intentionally, but it’s by far the most important. The fashion world presents clothing as an almost disposable commodity that we need to renew every season to stay “current.” I’m not on board with that. I would much rather spend $50 on one top that I truly love and know I’ll wear a hundred times than $10 on five tops that I wear once or not at all. By walking away from items that don’t bring you joy, you’re more likely to give yourself permission to buy the things that do. There is privilege here, of course. I certainly don’t always have the time and budget to shop as intentionally as I’d like, but the point is to make better choices, not perfect ones. I’m here to help, but at the end of the day, you know yourself best. Don’t settle for things that don’t make you feel like, well, you.

 

 

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