As a commercial stylist, I spend countless hours in the stores buying numerous variations of an art director’s vision. If the client wants to see the model in a white blouse and black pants, it’s up to me to have every white blouse and pair of black pants the city has to offer. Basically, my job is to provide options so there’s enough to choose from when it’s time to dress the model for set.
That’s not how I shop for myself.
When it comes to creating my own wardrobe, I’m super particular about what I buy. It needs to be exactly right for my life + style so I feel really good when I’m in it. I’m usually pretty budget conscious so try to avoid paying full retail. Many of my best finds come from discounters like Century 21, or on sale. I also pay attention to fabrications. I no longer wear polyester (no matter how cute the item is) because it makes me hot. And it feels cheap. But most importantly, I use my wardrobe to make a statement about who I am.
Whether you realize it or not, your outfit says something about your personality. Just the other day in yoga, I had on a tee with the word LOVE scrolled across the chest. When the instructor (who I didn’t know) passed by, she gave me a double thumbs up. At first, I thought super friendly instructor (which she is), but then I remembered my shirt…she was responding to that.
Your style statement may not be as obvious as words scrolled across the chest. But by donning a specific dress, or hat, or whatever, you’re telling people something about yourself. So it’s good to choose clothes that best represent who you are, and you want this decision to come from a grounded place, connected to your true self.
Shopping can be fun. It’s exciting to buy new stuff!
But shopping can also be a little crazy. Getting caught up in the excitement of new stuff can pull you away from your center leading towards not so good choices that come from a place of desperation to buy, or be someone you’re not.
I’ve come up with a little technique to help encourage more mindful shopping. The goal is for you to get really clear on what you’re buying so you can be sure it’ll make your best expression. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you sit crossed legged and watch your breath while in the fitting room (though meditating before hitting the stores is a great idea!). It’s just a simple set of questions to ask yourself before reaching for your wallet.
Here’s the scene, I’m browsing through the boutique, and a pair of bright floral yoga pants pop out from a huge pile. I walk over to pull out the pair in question. The first thing I ask is:
What will these pants say about ME?
I take a good look, and come up with a few attributes to describe these pants — bright, lively, fun, colorful.
Are these words I’d use to describe myself? YES. I’d like these pants to make that particular style statement.
One more thing here…when ascribing the attributes to your personality, get clear about which version of yourself you are describing — is it an older version of yourself, like from 10 years ago? Or is it an aspirational version, someone you’d like to be more of.
Then I ask:
How will I BE wearing these pants?
It’s now that I fully examine the fit, price and fabrication of the item in question.
Will I be worried because they’re a little see-through and someone will see my butt? Will I be stressed because of their price? Will I be comfortable when taking deep stretches in class? I decide I can wear a pair of shorties underneath to cover my butt. The $58 price is fine. And I can definitely move freely. So another yes to these pants. Let’s keep going.
The last thing to ask is where do I SEE myself in these pants?
You want to make sure you’ve got somewhere to wear the item in question along with an idea of what you’d wear it with.
I see myself wearing these pants with a tank or tee. I’d wear them to yoga. On the running path. And at the gym. So again, another yes. These pants are keepers!
Next time you’re shopping, try it yourself.
It’s as easy as Me*Be*See.