The Driving Factor Behind Shopping Decisions: FEAR!
What I have realized is that each of us have a number- how many times we shop per week, month, year.
What I have also realized is the frequency depends not on how empty a woman’s closet is, but on emotion.
It is a rush, isn’t it? Deep down, we know that after a shopping trip, we will be back in 4-6 weeks to spend more money…for the rush. Is that a revelation to you? Does that thought frustrate you? (It may be even more frustrating for your husband, wink)
No worries…l have the solution for your frustration.
Over the years, I have wondered how to help women create an experience that serves them for months ahead.
Is this even possible? Is there any way to spend money on your wardrobe and keep getting a return on that a year from now?
Be honest with yourself… unless you are at work right now, go to your closet and look through- honestly, is there anything you bought a year ago that you wear on a semi- regular basis? For me, the answer is often times no. I consider an item a great investment if I am still wearing it 6 months from now. There have been very few items over the years that fit that criteria.
What if it didn’t have to be this way??
What if each purchase was intentional, measurable with a set of guidelines that fit you, and frustration-free. What if instead of throwing money at a possibility, you can intentionally purchase pieces that last?
What if you could invest in your wardrobe to pay dividends weeks, months, a year from now?
While I would certainly love you shopping at Ali J every week (I am a store owner after all) I am also a wife and a mom, like many of you, and it is not realistic with either schedule or budget to do this. We are all trying to create an outfit that is a statement and versatile within the parameters of lifestyle.
What i have found is the best way to maximize your budget is not the quantity of your wardrobe, it is the quality of your style.
The most stylish people i know (my stylists here at the shop, colleagues who work at boutiques across the country, the fashion bloggers I creep on…) don’t always have the largest wardrobes. In fact, they don’t focus on constantly acquiring new outfits or items, instead, they focus relentlessly on maintaining their personal edge.
A woman’s style is a lot like a company’s brand. Sure, you can always spend more money on a clothing item, but is it consistent with the look? For many women, the answer is no. And that is why you have piled up such a diverse wardrobe, but you don’t wear an item a month past the date you bought it. There is not a clear strategy, just tactics.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if your wardrobe was half the size, you spent less money on clothing, but you got twice the compliments from those people who know you best???
Sidenote- I know this sounds crazy coming from a store owner! Stay with me here! I mean, seriously, twice the compliments with half the wardrobe?? If you spent half the money on clothes, you may even get a compliment from your camo-loving husband!!
Okay, okay. Let’s not get carried away….hehe! But seriously! It is possible to spend less on clothes and have a fabulous wardrobe! Here’s my theory:
Most women try to substitute their fashion knowledge with their credit card.
LADIES! Stop using your credit card as an excuse to avoid confronting your fear of fashion!
Because, let’s be honest, fear is what drives most fashion decisions.
Fear is why you come to downtown New London at the various shops here in town, rather than courageously taking your own wardrobe and rocking it!
I know, I know- as a shop owner, it sure seems like I would want you to keep coming to the store and buying stuff… but I think i am on to something deeper here!! Sometimes, the truth is uncomfortable, no? But I want to tell you the truth.
What i have found is that many women use shopping as a substitute for confidence. It is like the companies that change their marketing campaigns every year based on what is cool. Their brand isn’t timeless. Their company has no soul. We don’t think to compliment our friends based on short term trends. Compare this to brands that have stood the test of time. Burberry. Coca-Cola. Tiffany’s. Classic. Personal. Timeless.
So here’s the question…what if your wardrobe was as timeless as Audrey Hepburn? What if the outfits that you wore today were just as elegant 10 years from now as they are today? Here is a quick test to find out:
Since Facebook hasn’t been around for 10 years, you will have to grab some old 4x6’s … Check yourself out- yes, go ahead, the cringe-worthy feeling will serve a purpose! What do you notice?
Let me guess…confusion, humor, embarrassment perhaps?? Why do you think TBT (Throw-back Thursday) is so popular?? Because of the ridiculous style trends we put out to the world without admitting they weren’t a true representation of our style! Many of us are so captive to short term trends, and what is currently “on sale” that we never think to invest in outfits that will stand the test of time!
Really, it comes down to basic 4th grade math:
Is it better to invest $800 on a wardrobe that might last you 5-10 years or $300 on a weekend shopping spree that will last you 6 months??
Of course, when you look at it from a financial perspective, the answer is obvious. However, reality is more complicated than that. (And that is my way of saying, most husbands won’t let their wives spend $800 on a wardrobe) As women, we understand that we should invest in timeless pieces. We get it, in theory. But when there is a hot sale item on the clearance rack, it is so tempting to add it to the bag: even if we only wear it once!
Okay, okay, enough with the small talk. I want to be really transparent with you: it’s time to get raw! I know this might sound uncomfortable, but let’s be brutally honest. The truth is that while most ladies understand how to build AN outfit, they don’t know how to build THEIR outfit. Most ladies have a sense of style, but they don’t have a sense of THEIR style.
It’s one thing to buy your favorite print at an art store, it’s another thing entirely to become the artist ant paint your own masterpiece.
As i mentioned earilier, it comes down to one word: FEAR. Taking ownership of your own style creates the possibility that you might fail, specifically that you might commit a fashion faux pas that you are not aware of. It’s the fear of the unknown. It’s not the fear of the fashion crimes that they know of, but the ones they may not know! It’s the fact that you don’t know….what you don’t know. Most women are afraid of identifying and owning their own style because that invites the possibility of judgement and criticism.
Fortunately, there is a solution!
Perhaps I could reword this very bluntly to say: “Be who you are, and wear what you want.”
But it all comes back to the question I asked earlier:
What if you could spend less money on clothes, and get twice as many compliments??
And of course, the answer to that is another question:
What if fashion wasn’t scary?? What if you didn’t have to be afraid any more??
Many ladies come to Ali J Boutique and I can tell they are secretly hoping that nobody watches them, because deep down, they don’t know what they are doing.
They fear someone may watch them and think, “what is she thinking?”
I see it all the time in the stores- a shopper eyes an item for 10 minutes, and keeps their eye on another shopper until they leave so she can grab the item.
Of course, she is thinking that the other shopper would judge her… “How dare she grab that? She couldn’t pull that off.”
Chances are, I am describing you. How do I know? Because i have done it too- in fact, i relive this traumatic experience when we take pics for the Facebook page. Don’t think i don’t get scared when i put out items on social media that will be seen by many people.
Sometimes, i get really scared! But, I suppose, since I am the boss, I have to put on my big girl pants and act super confident about what i am wearing. The truth is that style is art. And all art requires risk.
So…does this describe you? Stop reading and think about that for 10 seconds… How often does a primal sense of fear secretly influence your shopping decisions??
Maybe you wanted to buy a sassy black dress, but you bought black pants and a basic top because you thought you couldn’t pull off the LBD. Maybe you wanted to buy a pair of leopard pumps but you bought black instead, to be “practical” Maybe you wanted to wear a statement necklace but chose your simple set of pearls because you are humble and “not too flashy”.
So what is the common denominator here?? Is there anything “wrong” with any of these items? No. The common denominator here is: FEAR.
Fear is the enemy of art.
Intimidation is the enemy of expression.
What if you didn’t have to be afraid anymore?? What if you were so confident in your style that you made Audrey Hepburn look like an insecure…
What if your friends “gossiped” about you…in a good way? What if they said things like, “Haley always has the perfect outfit!” “Everything she wears is so timeless.” “I love Haley’s style.”
The truth is that most women don’t have bad style. They also don’t have good style. They have no style at all.
Most ladies chaotically throw random pieces together and call it an outfit. To compensate for the fact they don’t know what they are doing, they just buy more…and more….and more. It’s like the stereotypical suburban family that never spends any time with each other, but keeps accumulating more stuff.
Want proof? Four foot deep walk in closets used to be a status symbol for the ultra wealthy. it was a luxury for elite families who could afford to fill the closet with clothes. Today, almost everyone has a walk- in closet full of clothes they never wear. Little do they know…they are full of fashion fear.
Are you ready to face your fear? Are you ready to own your unique God-granted style??
Are you ready to embrace you who really are?
If this article is a resounding "THAT'S ME" then, there's your sign M'dear.
I would love to get on a discovery phone call with you (just you and me, Ali, - chatting about how I can best serve you). Sound good? What do you have to lose??
Go ahead and CLICK HERE and we will get it set up.