Do you feel overwhelmed when you look in your wardrobe?  Or even underwhelmed? Does your wardrobe inspire you to take on the day in style or does it leave you grabbing the first two pieces that you see in the hope that they will resemble some kind of an outfit?

With the rise of fast fashion, our purchases are more impulsive than ever before.  Seduced by the shiny and new, and constantly chasing trends, we continue to purchase items in the hope to create the perfect wardrobe, but instead find ourselves agonising over a wardrobe full of clothes saying “I have nothing to wear”.

By slowing down your shopping habits and learning to shop mindfully you can make smarter purchases that will not only save you time and money, but also help to reduce the impact fast fashion is having on the environment.  This will lead you to create a cohesive wardrobe, of pieces that you love, that will always give you something to wear.

Here are my top tips for shopping mindfully and turning a wardrobe of chaos in to calmness and creativity…

Be inspired, but not overwhelmed
Social media has revolutionised the way we see fashion and buy fashion. It can be a great platform to find inspiration, but don’t overdo it, too much can clutter the mind and have you chasing trends rather than developing your own unique style.

Shop your wardrobe first
Take some time to appreciate what you already have and shop your own wardrobe.  The opportunity to bring new life to the pieces you already own will inspire you to be more creative and help you to realise how much you do actually have.  It is also an ideal opportunity to rearrange your wardrobe and even say good bye to those pieces that are no longer working for you.  Clear out the clutter and send them to a new home to be appreciated.

Identify the gaps
Once you have a clear idea of what is in your wardrobe identify the gaps which need to be filled to make the current pieces’ work. It is highly likely that you will need to purchase the key essentials, neutral pieces that gel everything together; basic tee’s, jeans, black pants, a blazer or belt.  Have a goal to buy these pieces first before you buy anything else.  Bring it back to basics.

Set a shopping list and budget
Always set a list and budget before you hit the shops. This will help you to stay focused and ensure you come home with what you need.  Consider setting a budget for a season rather than an item as this will feel less restrictive and assist you to plan out the entire season’s wardrobe giving you the ability to prioritise what pieces to spend your money on.  Think cost per wear when purchasing timeless pieces as it’s ok to spend that little bit extra when you know you’ll wear them time and time again!

Shop like a stylist
When I’m working with clients I’ll always look for timeless pieces that have longevity.  These are the pieces that will work hard in your wardrobe and continue to look amazing after multiple wears.  Look for great craftmanship, quality fabric and fit. Sizes, shapes and cuts differ from store to store and even with pieces within the same store so always try things on and make sure you’re choosing the right piece for your shape and style.   Don’t compromise on fit and style just for the price.

Get to know your brands
Improve your environmental and ethical footprint by getting to know more about the brands you buy from and where and how your clothes are made and sourced.   After all, feeling good in what you wear is more than just about looking good.  Knowing you’re doing your bit to help the environment and ensure ethical work practices is sure to make you feel more special about the pieces you are wearing.

Someone else’s trash really is your treasure
Sometimes the best gems are often found at the op shops or vintage stores, where you can pick up a bargain or find something truly unique to add to your style.  Increase your chances of scoring the best pieces by getting to know your local op shops and the days they receive new donations.

Shop with a friend
Shopping with a friend you trust is a great idea. It’s not only helpful to have that second opinion but it also means someone else will be accountable for your spending.

Don’t be seduced by the red SALE sign
Do you feel like it’s a little win when you buy something at a cheaper price?  I’ll admit I have done a happy dance over many bargains in my lifetime.  However, it’s important to consider if you would have purchased the item had it have been at full price?  If the answer is no, maybe it’s not a win after all.  Stick to the classics at sales time and steer clear of trends that may not make it to the next season.

What if it’s not on your shopping list
Found something you love but it’s not on the shopping list?  Put it on hold and think about it for 24-48 hours.  In many cases, you’ll walk away and forget about it, however if you can’t stop thinking about it ask yourself these 6 questions:

What value is it adding to my existing wardrobe?
Will it still bring me joy long after today?
How will it work back with my lifestyle?
Is it a need or a want?
Does it truly represent my style?
Would I be happy to remove an item from my wardrobe to include this purchase?
If you can provide a valid answer to all of these questions maybe it’s worthy of that valuable space in your wardrobe.

So, the next time you hit the shops treat yourself to a ‘mindful moment’ in the fitting room. Remember your style should be unique to you and help present the best version of you, if a piece doesn’t make you feel amazing, it’s not worth the investment.


This article was published in MamaMag Oct/Nov 2017