To Buy or Not to Buy: How I Make Online Shopping Decisions

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I love online shopping.

I get to browse in the comfort of my pajamas, locate my size immediately, checkout whenever I’m ready, and have the option to shop at any point in the day and year because the internet never sleeps. But with this 24/7 access, I find myself browsing to see what’s out there every single day. Is this normal? Please tell me I’m not the only one.

I find myself being tricked into thinking that I need this top/dress/shoe/bag even though I am perfectly content with the things I already own. And I don’t like being tricked.

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I want to start being more mindful about my online shopping decisions in the hopes that it will 1) save me money and 2) avoid clutter in my closet and my headspace. This is important because I do 99% of my shopping online. I also don’t need a million different options, I just need the ones that will come through for me day in and day out.

Let me just say that this may seem pretty counterintuitive for someone who writes about personal style. I struggle with this too. I think about how boring it could be for people to see the same thing over and over again. But I also wonder, if some people will be just as intrigued to see how I make the same things look a little bit different every now and then? I’m trying to take a creative spin on the fact that I simply cannot afford to buy new things all the time, nor would I want to.

So I took a moment to reflect on my current browsing process in the hopes that I will be more intentional and less indecisive with the things I buy. Maybe this will be helpful for you too or you’ll at least find it entertaining to see what goes on in the inner workings of my brain.

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So it turns out I do a lot of thinking and analyzing. It could take a few minutes, a few days, or even a few months before I decide to take the plunge and checkout.

Here’s how it usually goes.

Something catches my eyes. These days, it’s something pink, striped, or ruffled. But this changes with the season and my mood.

I also don’t look at sites with exchange only or final sale policies. We should always have the option to change our mind about something.

I look at the price. Does this make sense for the brand reputation, item, and how often I will wear it? Usually if it’s something I know I will wear often, I will consider paying a bit more than usual. If it’s something I’ll wear once or twice…I probably wouldn’t want to pay more than $100. If the item survives the price part then I move on.

I then examine the pictures and the item description.

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What is it made of? This will help me determine if something’s comfortable. When it comes to clothes, I prefer basics to be made of mostly cotton. Tencel/Lyocell is a great alternative to cotton. It’s just as soft and more environmentally friendly (Business Insider).

But I also understand that everything can’t be made of cotton/cotton-alternatives, especially when you need something a bit more structured and less prone to wrinkles. For example, a dress for a special event will probably be made of some kind of polyester because the shape will be maintained with wear. And for times like that, synthetic fabrics like polyester and viscose get a pass.

Will it be hard to clean? No dry-clean only things for basic pieces…I reserve that luxury for dresses/occasion wear. If there is a hand wash option, that works for me too since I usually wash everything on the delicate cycle…which has not failed me so far.

Will it be complicated to wear? By that I mean, are there unnecessary details like zippers, ties, and buttons that will make it hard to put on and take off. Will my movement be restricted? Will I be able to eat comfortably in this?

If it’s made of something I’m comfortable wearing, is easy to clean, and is easy to wear then the item passes on to the final stage.

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I determine how well the item will fit into my closet by doing a mental scan of everything I own.

-Do I already own something like this? (I get real with myself here because there was a time when I owned too many white/cream sweaters).

-Is it something I’ve been looking for?

-Does it go with the things I have?

-Is it something I will actually wear time and time again?

If it’s something I don’t already own, will go with things in my closet, and is something I will actually wear then it gets the green light and I hand over my digits.

I know that was a lot of information.

Here’s a consolidated checklist you can use the next time you ask yourself to buy or not to buy…I know I definitely will.

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How do you decide to buy or not to buy? I would love to know. Is there anything you think I might have missed? Leave me a comment 🙂

What I wore in the pics above that’s still available:

White Skirt: Avec Les Filles
Sneakers: Vans
Bag: Clare V.

Hopefully this was helpful.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you in my next post.

Sophie 🙂