Start “slow shopping” to cut back and make the most of the clothes you already have.
Slow Shopping is a term I’m using to describe a way of building a small, perfectly functioning wardrobe that will have you living well within your means, loving what you have, and having what you need.
Here are three tips for how to practice Slow Shopping:
1. Try to wear everything in your closet in a three-month period. If you find you never reach for a certain item, you need to pass it on or throw it out.
2. Hone in on your style for 2013. Are you going for a structured, clean look? Or a maximal look with accessories and patterns galore? What’s your color palette? If you decide you’re focusing on black and cream plus a bright like red or cobalt blue, you’ll shop smarter.
3. Buy only things that you love and that fit the style you just defined. You might have to search for a while. Don’t settle. Pay more for quality on items that will last, like a structured handbag, riding boots or a long, tailored military-style overcoat.
Slow Shopping means carefully considering purchases and savoring a purchase when you make one. No impulse grabs off the sale rack. No settling for poor quality, sort-of-okay items that don’t satisfy. You need control over your financial life and a little breathing space in your closet more than you need another polyester blend sweater made in China.
How about this: Start your Slow Shopping efforts by seeing what you actually wear. You can keep track of this easily with organizing guru Peter Walsh’s reverse clothes hanger trick where you turn every hanger in your closet backwards, and flip each hanger around the right way once you’ve worn the item.
Use “wear everything” to make a luscious, savory list of the items you really want. You might discover a wardrobe hole—say you have a fab python print skirt that, when paired with your pointy-toed flats only needs a top to become a wardrobe workhorse—and there you have an item that’s worth buying. Heck, maybe you’ll even decide to try sewing the item instead, since sewing has become a trendy symbol of self-reliance and independence.
Want daily inspiration for how to wear everything and the finer points of Slow Shopping? My Seattle-based fashion stylist and blogger friend Angie Cox shouts from the rooftops that instead of focusing on the thrill of the hunt, we need to make sure to wear the heck out of the clothes we already own.
Laura Tiebert writes for Make It Better and blogs about her experiences as a homeowner and then renter, and how it changed her family for the better at The Houseover.