Hot Seams: Shopaholic

A guide to controlling your shopping sprees

| Scene Fashion Columnist

shop-1As the weather continues to transition from comfortable to cold, stores increase their stocks of things that keep us warm: fur, leather, snakeskin, cashmere, you name it. The biggest “animal” trends for this season seem to be the fur vest, leather pants and animal prints. Designers, marketing executives and department store buyers have been working hard to convince you that their items are exactly what you need. I’ll admit it; at some point in the past few weeks, I actually wanted all three of these items. With creative ad campaigns in magazines and faux fur alternatives available in discount retail stores such as H&M and Forever 21, consumers like you and me are left to make one decision: Buy, or don’t buy.

Have you ever walked into the mall, a boutique or a random street market and purchased something you didn’t have any desire for the day before? Ever experienced buyer’s remorse? If so, you’re not alone. The good thing is that you’ve just made a sales executive’s commission go up, increased revenues for a company and paid someone’s wages for producing the purchased item in the first place. Good for you! But now you’re stuck with something you don’t need—or, because you’ve spent money on this extra item, you have less to spend on other, perhaps more important, things.

So who’s to blame? It is the designer’s job to create something eye-catching, breathtaking and magnificent. It’s the marketing executive’s job to present said item in a way that intrigues shoppers, speaks to them and maybe even whispers something in their ears. And it is your job to shop. If people didn’t shop, unemployment would rise, since seamstresses and many other people in the retail world could lose their jobs. So what’s the solution? Let’s start by making a plan. Consider three things when preparing a shopping list: What’s in your closet? What do you think you need, and how much are you willing to pay for these items? Next, try to prioritize your list. Are there some items that you can buy on your next shopping trip? Obviously you don’t know exactly what you’ll find when you get to the mall, but equipped with a ranked shopping list and an idea of what you’re looking for, you should be in good shape and in the position to return home content with your purchases.

By planning ahead and thinking before you act, you’ll make wiser purchasing decisions and won’t get swayed or tricked into doing something you didn’t mean to do. If it helps, try on the piece and try to come up with five solid reasons you need that item. If you do end up buying something and discover that you don’t really like or need it, return it before the receipt expires. In this season of economic unrest, it’s time for shoppers to shop smartly. But every now and then, it’s OK to splurge!

-Stay Stylish!