The Most Important Shopping Lesson from 2016

Although it’s tempting to create a list of “dos” and “don’ts,” when it comes to shopping, only you can know what works for you. And what works for you will heavily depend on your own style, size and shape, as well as your seasonal environment.

In 2016, I learned that if I buy clothes in-store, those items are much more likely to turn into neglected or orphan items in my wardrobe than if I purchase online.

Shopping online has many benefits, besides the obvious of being able to shop in your PJs in bed. Size and colour availability, special promotions, accessibility–these are all factors that have led to online commerce dwarfing brick and mortar sales.

For me, however, the most important aspect of online shopping is having the luxury of time of being able to decide whether to keep an item. When you buy something new, there’s the initial excitement, the dopamine hit of novelty and pleasure. That might feel good in the moment, but it doesn’t help you think rationally and critically about whether an item really deserves a place in your wardrobe.

Putting an item in a holding zone for a few days without wearing it allows the novelty factor to wear off, and helps you make a more informed decision. And with so many stores offering free shipping and free returns, and generous return windows, it’s often much easier to return an item via post, then it is to trek out to the store within a 7-14 day period.

Your biggest lesson might be something else, though. Maybe the sales rack does too much damage to your wallet. Maybe you buy things for an imaginary lifestyle that you don’t live. Or maybe you realized that many of the things that you like, you’d rather see on others, than on yourself.

What was the most important shopping lessons you learned about yourself in 2016?

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