How to

What You Need to Know about Shopping

What do you think about when buying a new pair of shoes? Or a bag? Do you invest, or are you a short term buyer? Or do you, like Monikh, have an instinctive sense of what you’ll buy now and wear forever?

Why all the questions? (That was the last one, I promise.) Well, with all this chat about sustainability - of which I am, admittedly, a prime suspect - I was thinking about how my own shopping habits have changed. First and foremost, and perhaps owing to years spent seeing endless stuff coming in and out of the fashion cupboard of a luxury fashion magazine, I now want for less. Truth is, the more stuff you see, the more you come to realise that you could never own it all - not least because it would cost more than a year’s rent at Buckingham Palace, but more so because it’s never ending. There’s a steady stream of clothing, bags, shoes, jewellery hitting a store near you everyday, and, if you’re not careful, hitting your bank account.

Let me take you down the sustainability route for just a second with shoes as our subject. They’re a necessity - I couldn’t possibly call that into question - but with so many affordable options around, it’s easy to forget that they take a minimum of fifty years to biodegrade. Even when they do, they release harmful chemicals from the leather and glues used in production, and some of the rubbers and plastics will never break down and are not recyclable. With billions of shoes produced each year, and hundreds of millions bought in the UK alone, I’ll leave the landfill maths to you.

But shopping well isn’t just about being eco friendly (though if that is your only reason, it’s a bloody good one.) Consider how much money you spend; or how long it takes you to get dressed; or how many times you’ve had to run around to complete an outfit an hour before you’re due to turn up to a big event. All of life’s smaller problems, but still considerations.

So, I thought I’d divulge my own shopping guidelines to help you think about your shopping in a more ‘long-term’ way, benefitting not only the planet but your wallet, your house and countless other things that I won’t bore you with now.

1. Do your research
Contrary to what we’re told, style isn’t ‘innate.’ It’s inherited, it’s learned, it’s researched. Start a Pinterest board, save instagram posts or screenshot if that’s your preference, but look around for inspiration. You’ll learn what you do and don’t like, and you can use outfits you like for inspiration and to help you identify the gaps in your wardrobe. For example, if Elsa Hosk is your style icon, you might realise that you’ve got the jeans and bomber jacket that she often wears, but you’re missing the baker boy cap which will complete that and many other outfits.

2. Use the old three looks rule
It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Ask yourself the question: can I wear this with at least three outfits that I can make up from my current wardrobe? If the answer is no, it’s not a great investment. If it’s not an investment - price point notwithstanding - then it’s probably not going to serve you all that well.

3. Consider Colour Palettes
It seems so simple, but do you know what colours do and don’t suit you? For example, blue is a colour I won’t wear because I know that it doesn’t suit my warm skin tone. I tend to stick to the colours that do: neutral hues, warm red tones and, if I’m going for a colour, pink.

4. Banish the Impulse Satisfaction
Personally, I find infinitely more joy from saving up for something I really adore, as opposed to aimlessly strolling around buying things that I hadn’t actually been after. The satisfaction from acquiring something that you’re going to love and wear with more things (and more times) than one outfit equals stronger and longer lasting happiness.

5. Know How to Sale Buy
It’s a trap - unless you know what you’re looking for. My tip? Don’t head to the sales just because they’re on. Store up a list of things that you want, or are missing, but either couldn’t afford or didn’t want to splurge on full price, and go out into the sales and find them. Satisfaction level 100.