These days, due to the fact that I kept triaging, selecting, and throwing away – from clothes to books, old magazines, expired drugs and cosmetics, bent coat-hangers, including hair rollers and bags filled with… other bags – I asked myself: do we really need all the things we end up buying? Why are we so tempted to collect, to have duplicates, to keep things “just in case”? Why do we find it so hard to hold back, which makes non-shopping appear like a task that is at least as difficult as the one received by Sisyphus?
Jumping from one question to another, from one answer to another, I also reflected over the attitude we have when it comes to the action (or gesture?) of shopping: some of us opt for the planned shopping, while others are more spontaneous. The first is disciplined and calculated, while the second march on impulse, emotions, and momentary joy. Summing up things in a less sober register, I came to the conclusion that everything comes to the way we take risks. And how does this happen in reality, in January, when temptations steal our eyes with their orange or red price tags?
The pragmatics see the sales season as a great opportunity to invest in classic pieces, of high quality, which they knew they’re going to wear for a very long time.
The impulsive, on the other hand, approach this period as the ideal occasion to get all those decadent things, the out-of-the-ordinary that they can’t buy at a full price.
Others, a third category, display multiple personalities when shopping: they will hand onto any pretext (which they will turn into a valid argument) to buy anything. Or almost anything.
But, regardless of camp, each of us has something to learn from the other. So, let’s see…
What can we learn from the shopping philosophy of the pragmatic?
Although a disciplined woman at shopping knows how to appreciate a consistent price adjustment, she will never be interested in bargains and won’t spend her budget on “rags”. On the contrary, she sees the sales season as the occasion to buy premium pieces, unique accessories, and items made with excellence and carefulness, which, eventually, wears the signature of a designer or artisan. But before she heads out for shopping, she will browse through her current wardrobe, establish a budget (offering herself a 10 to 15% margin for additional expenses), check her cards, and write her wishes down on a list.
On the shopping list of a pragmatic, you will find:
- An amazing mantle or coat. Impeccable fabrics (like mixes of wool and cashmere) and cuts are essential, and a coat with a straight cut, with an under-the-knee length, made out of a navy blue or camel-colored cloth will always occupy the top of her list.
- High-quality knitted items. Cashmere turtlenecks and high neck pullovers, ¾ cardigans that can be used 9 months per year, and any other knitted item that will not lose its shape and style after a few seasons of wearing. She will be careful to buy neutral colors, but some pleasant colors as well, which can be easily assorted. One of the main criteria of a pragmatic when choosing knitted items is their softness.
- Premium sunglasses. Large, with a glam aspect, with trendy or elegant shapes, but always with lenses that provide real eye protection. This is probably one of the smartest investments for the rest of the year because the pragmatic will use them while driving, when skiing, or when enjoying time at the beach (in Tenerife, or whatever…)
- Gorgeous underwear. A pragmatic will know that bras and briefs never go out of fashion, but they do get worn out. Now is the time when it’s worth buying a few sets of underwear that are both practical and beautiful, from brands that are trusted by the pragmatic: Triumph, Oysho, Marks & Spencer, Intimissimi, and so on. But if she plans to seduce as well, she will order some pieces from Coco De Mer, Ludique, I.D. Sarrieri, Agent Provocateur, Pure Lingerie or Chantal Thomas as well.
- A spencer (or deux-piece suit). With modern lines, a minimalistic but sophisticated allure, and flawless cut, because even a mere pair of jeans can be totally transformed by simply adding this wonder-spencer. The pragmatic knows that this spencer will save her in those days when she doesn’t have a clue what to wear. Additionally, the deux-piece suit will be used when attending a conference, cocktail party, or other formal events where she will be, undoubtedly, invited.
- A pair of jeans. Just because, as it is one of the clothing items she wears the most. Even if she will opt for a cut she already has (because she knows what suits her), the pragmatic will choose a different color or length for the new pair of jeans.
What can be we learn from the shopping philosophy of an impulsive?
The way toward stylistic Nirvana is scattered with all the wrongfully chosen pieces, giddy, or just bought in a haste. Although many women are cautious when it comes to clothing-related caprices and frivolous shopping, the impulsive knows that sometimes it is better to take a risk. Otherwise, how will you come out of your comfort zone? How will you discover that something novel and trendy actually fits you? How can you translate, from a stylistic point of view, the expression “Carpe Diem”? The impulsive sees the sales season as Universe’s permission to update her wardrobe, to find clothes and accessories she never knew she needed, to caress her senses through seeing (the colors, the prints), feeling (textures and fabrics), or smelling (perfumes, or the smell of genuine leather).
The impulse buyer doesn’t have a list, but if she would, this is how it may look:
- Handbags and shoes in the trends. From her point of view, highly modern accessories, non-mainstream, are the least intimidating manner for updating her attires and style. She will fall in love with an animal print bag or one with a multi-colored embroidery, with a pair of silver or golden boots with a bulky heel, with a pair of red sock-boots, or with a pair of scarpins with pearls. Her reasonable part will whisper to her that all of these will fit her black dresses and pants.
- Clothing items in the strongest fashionable color, or with the most interesting print. The impulsive will allow the trends to inspire her, so she tries a new color, an unexpected print, or an inventive chromatic association each season. She learned, in time, which colors flatter her skin and how to juggle with print mixes. Also, she knows that when a print mix doesn’t come out as desired, she can tame it with dark-colored piece or accessories that have a metallic finish.
- Evening pieces for wearing during the daytime. When she sets her eyes on an evening piece, the impulsive will not wonder where and how she will wear it. She will wear a sequined scarf to wear with her office spencer, a chiffon skirt will be assorted with her weekend riding boots, a blouse with feathers on the shoulders will be paired with a leather skirt and high heels used for a night in the club, and her dress made out of gold lurex will overlap a pair of skinny jeans for a brunch with the girls.
- A dress, a spencer, or wide-leg pants made out of velvet. If she will fall in love with something, then it must be the star fabric of the season. The impulse shopper loves the fabrics that feel nice at the touch, and velvet makes her babble, cares herself, feel sensual and languishing. And since she wants to feel this way at any time of the day (or night) and anywhere, she will get a velvet spencer for daytime (which she will assort with cloth pants, cool jogger pants, or folded-up skirts), a velvet dress for cocktails (the drapes and fluidity of the velvet will help her slide in the femme fatale role), and a pair of velvet wide-leg pants, which she will wear indoors (together with a cotton sweater and satin tank-top).
- A faux fur collar or coat. The impulse shopper can develop a striking passion for furs, but she will have a conscience. This winter’s tendencies offers her the perfect excuse for this supreme spoil. Thus, she will buy a colored faux fur coat, and also a faux fur collar, but in a more natural color. Because, after all, why spend the winter in a cheerless manner by wearing a boring black coat, like the rest of the female population?
Hoping that you did learn from one another, until the next article, I will leave you with the question: in which of these categories you fit? What attitude you have toward the sales shopping season? And what do you plan on buying?