Help! I want to change the way I shop!

I am a total clearance/sale/bargain shopper. I have always been this way. I want to get the most for the least.

The problem is I am in this mood and I want some edgier pieces. A bit rocker/biker/pirate chick lol. Unfortunately you don't really find too much of this stuff on the clearance rack. To be honest, I haven't found too much at full price either and my full price would still have to be affordable.

How do I make myself pass on 5 or 6 great priced non edgy things to purchase one edgy piece for the same price. It's hard for me to wrap my head around paying full price.

I have a large wardrobe and don't really have any holes, just wants and I want some edge. Not a whole bunch but a small edgy capsule to start. I'm tired of my husband calling my dressing style "soccor mom" lol not that there is anything wrong with that at all but I want a little less sweet and a little more edge.

Thanks for letting me vent.

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25 Comments

  • velvetychocolate replied 5 years ago

    I have the same problem, where I buy too much "stuff" at the discount stores or at sales of some kind. Lately, I've simply stopped shopping at those stores, and have decided to shop at the stores where I am most likely to find the things I really want - and if I'm lucky, I'll happen up on a sale there too. I kept going to Kohl's and coming home with a whole bag full of 'stuff' - things that seemed like really great deals, but as I've been clearing out my closet recently, it's those sale/clearance things that I ending up donating or tossing. I tend to make mistakes when I shop the discount store.

    So, like I said - my new strategy is to stop going to those stores, and start shopping at stores that have the things I like, even if they are a bit more expensive.

    So my recommendation for you is to simply discontinue the practice of shopping in stores where you don't really like the clothes all that well, where you're just going there out of habit because the sales/deals are good. Don't go!

    That's my own strategy so far, until I get much better at knowing what's truly a good buy for me. I still have a bit of a tendency to just buy things because they're on sale, and months later, I end up rifling though my closet, wondering...."What was I thinking???"

    I realize this isn't exactly what you meant - it's not that you're making mistakes by shopping the discount stores, but rather - you'd like some other pieces. I still stand by my suggestion to simply stop shopping at the stores that *don't* have the things you like, no matter how great their prices might be. Go to the stores that have what you like, and browse as much as you like - find things you love, maybe buy *one thing* and carry on from there.

    Good luck with this!

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    A lot of us here have your problem. Or a similar one. In my case, it's not so much that I buy a lot of stuff. It's more that I mostly buy whatever I do buy on sale or at consignment. Then the situation's even worse. A SMALL wardrobe that doesn't say what I want it to!

    To be fair to myself, in the past year I've been trying to get myself to pay full price. I did manage to buy two winter coats at full price last year - a big investment for me!

    I still find myself, whenever I DO buy something at full price, checking to make sure there's not something else on sale that I also need. I guess that's not quite the same thing, but it's not so great, either.

    For me, I think having a wardrobe PLAN and a list (along with a budget) is going to be the way to go. If I know what holes I'm looking to fill, then this or that sale thing won't seem so appealing (unless it fills the hole, I mean!)

    In your case, how about making up an imaginary "tougher" capsule (or even just outfit) and then seeing what you already have that will be its building blocks. Then, what are you missing? Go to the stores that tend to sell those missing items. As VC says, just don't go to stores that don't sell it until you fill that particular capsule.

  • qfbrenda replied 5 years ago

    I have found that a list, like Suz mentioned, is a huge help. It helps me focus on what I'm really looking for, rather than just grabbing whatever good deal I happen to find.

  • Caro in Oz replied 5 years ago

    I don't/didn't have this problem exactly but I didn't have a focus & bought lots of "stuff" because I liked it at the time; not because it worked for the image I wanted to create. I put myself on a short spending freeze & every time I saw something I would have bought pre-freeze I noted it in my phone - I wrote a short description & the cost. The results were frightening. I realized I spent a lot of my budget on things I didn't need but worse still things I didn't love & didn't match my preferred style. I think everyone has given you great advice - I don't go shopping without a list now either:)

  • jayne replied 5 years ago

    Oh yes, I am so in this TEAM! What shall we call it, Team No-Plan? Team Impulse shopper?

    ANyway, I tried really hard to define a style, which you seem to have figured out. And then I did alot of inpiration searches on the net, found a set of pix that inspired me Then tried to find as much as possible in my closet and determine the missing piece that would give me the same feel as those pic.

    I went for a boho-western style that Isabel Marant was/is promoting. So casual with a slight edge. I needed a bit of fringe, a bit of ethnic pattern, and a necklace or two to emphasize the vibe. I assumed I could use jeans that I already had but add a Tshirt, not expensive, and also a leather jacket. (and then I had my daughter make me 'cool' one)

    The fringe, ethnic and necklaces, I managed to find, after an entire summer of searching for low prices. These pieces are not floating around, easy to find, in general. It seems to me, like you experience, that those really special pieces, what is shown in mags, does not really trickle down to mass media. Theory, the manufacturers stick to common as it appeals to more people. Sure, SOME special trends filter down, but not the ones I was interested in.

    Of course, There are very expensive versions of the statement pieces, but I didn't want to pay big bucks for the parts that make the outfit "have a specific trend/feel" that I might tire of next year.

    But the leather jacket I allowed myself to spend more on thinking that it will transcend this look and can be used in many others, like biker chic, or just general chic. So I budgetted for and spent my big money there.

    I have NOT bought allot, I put this in my weekend wardrobe which only has to cover the weekends in a month. over 4 months that is 12 wearings (many days are out in the forest gear for me). SO since all the logic says I won't need big wardrobe there, I allow myself to have few pieces and rather use more money on the one piece that SHOULD last many years and can be re-used.

    Conclusion for me, I found a good enabling excuse to use a chunk of money and broke out of impulse buying for ONE area of my dressing life.

    I am still struggling with wanting everything I see (like forest green and maroon now)...but since I haven't done this same planning for my general work wardrobe (which is the BIG one), I don't allow myself to shop for it. It may have helped that I was/am so distracted with finding the perfect pieces for this small, fun, weekend capsule, that I am able to keep myself under control. It certainly has been a whole NEW way of working with my clothes and my money. And I don't know if it has worked until the season is over. SO please take my example with a grain of salt.

  • Marley replied 5 years ago

    I'm just headed to bed - and my brain has basically already gone to bed, but one thing you might want to try is to get yourself something edgy that doesn't really cost that much money to begin with - like a pair of spiked earrings or an abstract shaped metallic bracelet or a skull patterned scarf. Just start small - without making a huge investment - see how those accessories fit into your current wardrobe - then, you'll get an idea of how "edgy" feels to you and hopefully it will help you decide what clothing items you'd like to get next - motivating you to save for them, rather than spending the money on a bunch of "soccer mom-type" wardrobe items!

  • Vildy replied 5 years ago

    I don't know where you live but is there any sort of hip street or district that attracts goth, rocker, emo, punk young people? They would have small boutique stores that sell what those kids wear. A store is a store, they have sales. Also, if you see someone young who is wearing a piece you like, compliment it and ask where they got that because your daughter wants one. :) Some resale shops will carry some edgier stuff, sometimes Buffalo Exchange. Even check out eBay and etsy for categories like Goth clothing, etc.

  • Zapotee replied 5 years ago

    I love a bargain but I stopped buying clothes from Marshalls, TJMaxx etc, for the same reasons. I still browse their shoe and bag sections, though.

    One way to save in our particular situation, since we don't need a closet full of showstoppers, is to find deals on the items we know we need every time, i.e. basics and essentials. For example, I know GAP will have my favorite turtlenecks on sale at some point, my favorite skinnies brand, American Eagle, will have a discount too. Brooks Brothers often has a 2 for $159 sale on the non iron shirts, you get my gist. However, I am more inclined to pay full price for uniqueness. Recent purchases at full price: Allsaints sweater and tee, Fluevog oxfords and a House of Harlow necklace.

    Once you find that unique item, you can always surf the net for a coupon code. I have good luck finding some sort of discount often. Flash sites like Rue La La have good deals from time to time as well. I also wait to see if the item will go on sale. For instance, I fell in love with a scarf Blake Lively was wearing here:
    http://bellemel.com/?p=12696
    I was able to locate it, but it was very expensive. I decided to wait and just bought it on sale for about 60% off. Worth the wait on a $250 scarf.

    I also find the suggestion to keep a list particularly useful. I keep a mental list of what I need. That way, I am not dissuaded to buy only bargains just because the price is good.

    ETA: You might want to also think about what edge means to you. My interpretation of edge is not the more literal meaning involving studs, distressing, skulls, leather etc. To me edge is taking a simple item, let's say a sweater, and altering it in some way as to infuse the design with some unique characteristic, that makes it stand out from the rest. To me, this simple v neck sweater is edgy.
    http://www.us.allsaints.com/wo.....n-jumper/? colour=107&category=26
    If you narrow it down to what you really crave, you'll be ahead of the shopping game.

  • Nova replied 5 years ago

    I tend to keep a running list of things I am hunting for and a maximum price I am willing to pay. I also have a list of things I won't pay as much for because I tend to go through them faster no matter what brand they are. As for unique (tougher) items you might have more luck online. Hope that helps.

  • Kim replied 5 years ago

    I too am a bargain shopper but just the other day had a little epiphany about that. After reading a thread here that talked about "enjoyment per wear" vs. "cost per wear" I've come to realize that if I *love* the piece enough that I am thrilled EVERY time I get to wear it it doesn't matter what it costs, as long as I stay within my budget.

    Think annual budget instead of weekly and you will be more likely to pick up a couple of very nice pieces that say what you want them to say. And you'll feel fab every time you wear them. (One caveat: They must be PERFECT. No settling for less cause it's cheaper or more expensive. If it's NOT PERFECT, leave it on the rack, no matter the cost.) You'll have to spend time stalking the perfect piece, but that's time well spent without blowing through your cash on less expensive less than perfect things.

    Do you have a black leather moto jacket? That would be my first purchase for this style. You won't regret it it goes with everything. You can see a lot of women here wearing it with dresses (and more) and I love the vibe it gives. Very subtly adds some "toughness" to your soccer mom outfit! LOL

    And a great pair of black boots with some buckles or straps would also go a long way.

    There you go, two items to stalk already! LOL

  • Mander replied 5 years ago

    Wait, are you my sister? ;-) I have this same problem. Mom is a serious bargain hunter, probably due to our relative poverty, and all my life the rule in shopping has been "ten dollars or less"! It has relaxed somewhat in recent years, but I have a serious hangup about not buying cheap "bargain" items and instead paying full price for one thing I really want. Hence I have a hugely overstuffed closet full of things that I don't really love but don't want to get rid of, either.

    Man, do I need therapy or what? ;-)

    I think Caro's method of noting down what I didn't buy and what the price was is an excellent idea. I will try and implement that myself. At some level I know that I am nickel-and-diming away enough money on mistakes that I could have spent on one nice thing, but I have never worked out just how much that is. Perhaps if I keep track in this way I can make better progress toward having a functional wardrobe that I feel good in.

  • Thistle replied 5 years ago

    There are so many great suggestions above, but I thought I would add this.

    It is really hard to change habits, and harder yet to deny yourself something you see and like. So, while you have your list of items that you would like to add to your wardrobe, and see items you like but would not convey this new image, I recommend you write them down like Caro said. If you would have bought it before, also note down the price. Put this much money aside. Seriously, put it aside. Then, when you find the edgy item you really want, offset the cost by all of the items you passed up. After you do this a few times, I think it will be easier to pass up items you like in favor of items you love.

  • Traci replied 5 years ago

    I'm a recovering bargain shopper. For years I would enter a store and head straight for the sale rack and straight back out. When I started shifting my mindset into buying nicer things, I spent way too much money because I was used to the volume and everything felt like a need.

    After a little while of having some nicer things I've noticed a shift in my pickiness, which helps keep me from bringing home tons of stuff.

    Do the stores you shop have good return policies? I think the most important habit I got into was only shopping places that would allow me to return- keeping tags on everything until I was absolutely certain about it - being diligent about keeping receipts and making my returns in a timely manner. As soon as I decide to return something I pack it up and put it in my car.

    I've also started putting more effort and money into alterations on items that are almost perfect. I think sometimes I buy and buy because I'm still trying to find something that is just right. Shifting my mindset to say "I have something that is almost just right in my closet right now, if I just had it taken in right here, I would wear it more." has really been a help to me buying tons of lesser quality.

    The last trick, I think, is to buy yourself one thing of very high quality that you are completely smitten with. It won't take long to get spoiled and become picky, patient and persistent.

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    These are such great suggestions! I'm noting down what Traci and Thistle said for myself.

  • qpswan replied 5 years ago

    I have a difficult time resisting a bargin as well; my favourite store marks down items 70% and then often adds another 25 -30% off. Yesterday I came home with another suit...a beautiful glen plaid black and white trouser suit!!

    The advice offered above is excellent (and I should take it!). I would also suggest that you do some closet editing and donate your most "soccer mom" pieces. That will help you become edgier instantly.

    One way to get an edgier look is accessories and shoes. Check out Zappos-they have an amazing return policy. If you purchase a few edgy pieces at the beginning of the season (before they hit clearance) and start wearing them right away, it may curb your shopping appetite...

    Good luck!

  • Mo replied 5 years ago

    I am exactly on your same page, down to the rocker chic capsule! I did the budget thing - but that still leads to hoarding more, smaller, cheaper items within those constraints if you have those tendencies. Yes, budgeting seasonally rather than monthly, allowed me to purchase my first big ticket - Frye Julia boots. And they just so happen to be an 'edgier' piece. Ditto my MuuBaa cropped leather jacket.
    One trick I would add is limiting number of items, rather than $$$ amount, for the year. This is what I am going to try next year. I figure I will naturally spend about the same amount, but will have fewer, better pieces. If I can only buy 2 things a month, I'm pretty sure I won't blow it on two $10 shirts!
    So, budget with a seasonal, or even yearly, amount in mind instead of month by month, and limit your total items allowed. That should take care of the nickel and diming!

    (And FWIW both my big ticket items were still purchased at large discounts. Boots were $235 instead of $400, and the jacket was $147 instead of $300. There is nothing inherently 'wrong' with a bargain, you just have to really think hard about the purchase.)

  • nicoleb replied 5 years ago

    I totally believe you can find edgy on a small budget (my budget is super small compared to some of you); i think you just have to look a bit harder and be more selective.

    Thrift and consignment are great places to do this. Do you have a Buffalo Exchange around you? Mine is pretty selective about what they accept and prices are great so this would be a super easy place to start.

  • Traci replied 5 years ago

    I just wanted to echo what mo said. Limiting the number of items instead of dollars spent has made a huge difference in how I shop. It just makes me think harder about each item because 1. I'm so limited in how many items I can buy, 2. I've blabbed about my limit, so I have to feel pretty passionate about an item to risk it being the "one" that puts me over my goal. Even if I don't make my 12x12, I know it will only be because I bought items I love, and that's my real goal anyway.

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    There is great info on this thread! Good job, ladies.

    Cheryl, personally I think it boils down to wardrobe discipline no matter how small your budget. Do not be seduced by sales, which does not mean don't shop the sales. It means don't be seduced by stuff *just because* it's discounted. Save up the money, and buy fewer items. And wear the heck out of those items.

  • texstyle replied 5 years ago

    I think those who said focus on accessories to change your look have good advice.

    You don't necessarily have to have a new pair of pants or a special top to show you are a "rocker" or whatever. Leather is expensive so if you want a rocker jacket, you can save up to buy it or buy used or faux. But in the meantime, you could wear a more affordable rugged jacket, even denim to pull off that look. Paired with an inexpensive studded bracelet, some black boots, heavier makeup and black top with jeans, and maybe a used handbag with some bold hardware, etc.

    Edit: If you go to polyvore and search for Collections of "rocker chic" there are some interesting examples.

    Same goes for a classic look, focus on the shoes like pumps or loafers, carry a classic handbag, wear simple jewelry or short scarf tied around the neck and all you need are a pair of good jeans with a basic button down or knit top tucked in with a nice belt. Or a Boho look with maybe a fringed or patchwork bag, floral or vintage inspired necklace (larger lockets and such), faded jeans, simple white or flowy top, sandals or mocs.

  • MNsara replied 5 years ago

    Such great advice and experience here - it always makes me smile to see the collective wisdom of YLFers :-)

    Caro's idea of noting what you might have bought sounds really helpful for seeing that you have 'earned' the bigger ticket item.

    I'm also a great fan of returning anything you develop any doubt about (and I wish I would listen to my own little nagging doubts better!) So, don't rip off tags or lose receipts until you're SURE.

    Have you identified a few stores that seem to carry what you think are the styles you are interested in? If their prices are high, everyone had good ideas about stalking sales, coupons, etc.

  • Henley replied 5 years ago

    Cheryl, I am the same way and am working on changing my habit. I love a bargain! I know I can pay full price, I just don't want to, I like the thrill of finding a deal too much. I'm always stopping in the discount stores (Marshalls, TJ Maxx, etc.). When I recently edited my closet, I noticed that most of the items that went out were things I bought mostly because they ware so cheap.

    So yesterday I tried a new strategy. I made a list of what I wanted to look for (jeans, striped tee) and asked myself: could I possibly find this at Marshalls? The answer was yes. I decided that I'd look in Marshalls first and if I didn't find what I like there I'd go to the department store (for which I had a coupon). It worked well. I found a tee and tried on some jeans. Didn't buy the jeans because the fit wasn't good enough. So I still look for deals, but only buy if the items is 1) on my list 2) is super flattering.

    As far as shopping in stores that are more likely to carry these edgier items. I'd start learning what their coupon offerings and sale cycles are. That way, you still feel like you're getting a deal but more likely to buy something that fits your style goals.

  • Gaylene replied 5 years ago

    Two suggestions that worked for me:

    Redefine "I want the most for the least" to NOT equating "least" with dollars. Some of my best buys have been full price items that I love and wear constantly. Some of my most expensive items have been sale items that sit in my closet.

    Ask yourself "Would I buy this item at full price?". If the answer is "no', then put it back and keep walking.

  • cheryl replied 5 years ago

    Such great advice from you all. I appreciate it.

    velvetychocolate, I really think you are right about avoiding the stores that I know have bargains I won't/can't pass up. Now I just have to figure out what stores have more of what i'm looking for.

    Suz, I never shop with a list so that would be a good thing to try. I always just buy what jumps at me.

    qfbrenda, that is exactly what I do, so a list should help me focus.

    caro, that is great advice. I bought 5 items yesterday for $30. Possibly 2 of the items could be used in an edgier capsule but the other two totally are no where near that look but the price just grabs me. I like the items but didnt need them and today I am having thoughts that I should have hunted around for one $30 piece that says edgy lol.

    jayne. I am definitely on both of those teams. I love how you took what you wanted and broke it down into manageable pieces and incorporated it with things you already had.

    Marley, that is a great idea. I do already have some types of those jewelry items so I should probably dig them out and put them front and center for some inspiration!

    Vildy, I'm in Michigan about 20 minutes outside of Detroit. Nearby we have a Hot Topic but i'm not sure what else is around here that caters to that. I don't have a Buffalo Exchange but wish I did. Maybe I need to take a drive to Royal Oak. Its a bit of a drive but I know they used to have those types of shops.

    Zapotee, great idea to use the sale craving on basics/essentials and spend a bit more for a signature item. I have to get into that mindset. Great sweater too!

    Thanks nova. I need to get started on that list!

    Kim, that is a great epiphany and makes so much sense. I don't have a leather jacket or boots that fit the bill so they will be at the top of the list.

  • cheryl replied 5 years ago

    Mander, we must be sisters in thought. I know for the $30 I spent yesterday I could have looked around and found one edgy piece to really get me started, instead I came home with things I like but arent heading in the direction I would like.

    Thistle, I will start doing that. When I want to buy some great deal item I will ask myself if it fits what I am looking for , if not i will jot it down with the cost and it should help make it eeasier to spend a bit more for the right item.

    Traci, I am that way. Yesterday I went straight to the clearance rack, tried onn a total of 27, yes 27 tops and narrowed it down to 5 and after all that I was too exhausted to go look at the full price stuff, lol. I need to find that item that I will be totally smitten with so I need to bypass the sale racks and start with the full price stuff to search it out.

    qpswan, I think I do need some edgy boots or shoes to tide me over and get me on the right track!

    Mo, I have to keep remembering you and your Frye's. I have to find my own version of that. I can't imagine limiting the pieces I bring in though. I might have to do something more like for every $25, $20 has to go for an edgy item and give myself $5 for some cheap thrills lol.

    nicoleb, I love your style and all your diy's. I don't have a Buffalo Exchange near me but I do have some thrift stores and I haven't been in them in quite a while. My daughter said she would try and do a diy project or two for me. So it's a start.

    Angie, the women on this board are brilliant! It is so hard not to be seduced by the sale but I will work on disciplining myself. Thank you.

    texstyle, I love how you have broken down the styles into doable components and accesories are easier to find that clothes so I will look for some.

    MNsara, I think that is a big part of my problem. I don't know where to shop for what I want. I am pretty good about keeping tags on and making returns if I change my mind. thankfully that doesn't happen to often.

    Henley, i'm glad the list worked for you. I will make one and see how it works for me. I love lists so it's kind of surprising that i don't clothes shop with a list in hand.

    Gaylene, that is such great advice. There are really so few items that I would pay full price for. That's a major change in thinking for me and I would be coming home empty handed very often. Not a bad thing, haha.

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