A few years ago (maybe about 4 years ago?), I decided that even if my work is fashion-related, I won’t be too fashion conscious to the point of stressing over what to wear every day (and obsessing over not repeating clothes ever). I did not want to spend my life, or at least my mornings, looking through a closet full of clothes but still conclude that I have nothing to wear. This meant that every single piece I own should be intentional. So I told myself that I won’t buy trendy and flaky fashion on a whim, I’ll be more conscious of where I buy and why, and I’ll have clothes that I could repeat over and over again (and mix and match with each other) with pride and joy!
It was not easy.
It was not easy partly because I don’t like shopping. I usually know what I want in a store, I make a beeline to where it is, then buy it if I like it. I never liked browsing around. I do that in bookstores. Because shopping was (still is) such a chore for me, there were times when I got too lazy to fit clothes (which is a mistake!) and end up getting stuff that don’t fit well. So I do end up with a few pieces of clothes and shoes that I bought without much thought (or without fitting) or I got as gifts, but are not really my style (or don’t fit well too).
After a few years of trying (selling clothes, selecting only the pieces I love, sticking to a colour palette, etc.), I finally found a formula that works for me. I wrote this in my personal journal a while back and keep a copy of it in my Notes so I could use it as a guide every time I shop.
Before formulating my 5 questions, I identified the following first:
- Where do I spend the most time in my life? My answer: R2R office, events, meetings, family gatherings
- What styles of clothes will fit these appropriately? My answer: business casual, smart casual, casual, some dressy outfits but not a lot
- What’s my colour palette? My answer: neutrals, stripes, and a few pastels (I made a Pinterest board for this that I can refer to when I need to shop)
- Most recent question: Is there anything I would like to try or experience in the next few months that would need a few more items in my wardrobe or I should consider for my current capsule wardrobe? My answer: I’m pregnant and I would like to do pre-natal Pilates/Yoga! I won’t buy any maternity dresses so my wardrobe should fit me until after I give birth AND I also need some work-out clothes/shoes
So here are my 5 questions before buying that dress/top/bottom/shoes:
- Is it in my colour palette? If it’s not, will it fit my colour palette?
- Will it match at least 5 things I already own? – this is a tough one! I usually imagine 5 of my favorite tops or bottoms before buying another top or bottom to make sure that the one I’m about to buy will look great with most if not all of them. I also imagine the bags + shoes I already own with the whole configuration.
- Can it be dressed up or down? – a defining criteria for me because I need the clothes to be as flexible as possible!
- Is it of great quality and fabric? – I check the stitch count and quality of fabric
- Is it made in a sustainable way? – As much as possible, I choose brands that are known for more ethical practices and higher quality fabrics (so they are not disposable)
Bonus: Can I use it for the new experience I’m going through? In my case, pregnancy!
Do you have more tips and questions you ask yourselves before buying something? I would love to learn from you too! =)