When I buy something, I ask myself:
Where is it made?
This is my own personal quirk, I refuse to buy anything made in China as much as I can.
How much does it cost?
It depends on what it is. If it’s $500 for a t-shirt, it goes back on the shelf. If it’s $500 for a coat, I keep touching it.
What’s the fabric makeup?
I avoid polyester, acrylic, nylon, etc.
I prefer silk, cashmere, wool, cotton, hemp…. anything natural, or AS natural as possible. If the item has a majority of natural fabrics in it, then I can bend my rule and allow a little spandex or acrylic in there, but it can’t be 90% polyester.
Am I comfortable in it and does it fit well?
After I check those three above criterion of make, cost and fabric makeup, THEN I deign to put it on my arm and head to a changing room to try it on.
I find that I need to buy a size bigger if it’s a top, dress or jacket (to accommodate my larger shoulders), but I need a size smaller for my bottom half.
Do I just like the brand name?
This one doesn’t affect me as much, although I have a penchant for the following designers:
- Rag & Bone for the cool factor
- Vince for comfortable, cuddly sweaters (although they’re mostly made in China, so I have to be careful)
- Smythe Les Vestes for coats
- Burberry for trench-style coats
- Equipment for silk tops although since 2009 they’re now all made in China
- All Saints for their cool factor although their leather coats are very heavy to me
Other than those above brand names I tend to gravitate towards, I like independent designers better.
Just look at this stunning Burberry cashmere and wool trench!
Do I want it just because it’s cheap(er) or does it come with a free gift?
This really kicks in if I am in a thrift or a consignment store. I hate regrets. I hate leaving something, coming back a week later to buy it after dreaming about it, and realizing it has already been snatched up by someone else. GAH!
Know how stores get you to buy things? They offer you a free gift.
Know how else stores get you to buy things? They put signs like: 40% off!
What would I wear with it?
I have the whole gamut in my wardrobe, I could wear anything with almost anything I buy.
Where would I wear it?
This one stops me from giving in and buying gorgeous silk cocktail dresses and more than 3″ heels, because I don’t go to galas or events and I would never reach for super sky high heels if I can help it.
Do I have to dry clean or hand wash it?
This is a factor but not really. I only really dry clean coats, and I tend to carefully hand wash other items, even though they say dry clean only.
Do I have to get it tailored?
Sometimes it fits in the shoulders but I need to nip in the waist. Or it’s too long for my 5’5″ frame.
I have to factor this tailoring cost into the purchase price.
Am I trying to convince myself it’s a good purchase?
If I feel myself hesitating, it’s an immediate sign that I shouldn’t buy it. If I love it, I LOVE IT and I impulse buy it because I know I can’t leave the store without it.
If I put it on and think: … if only it were _________ … I put it back immediately.
What’s the refund/return policy?
I tend to return about 40% of what I buy. If I can’t return it, I am less apt to buy it on a whim.
Is this going to become a wardrobe orphan or will it fill a wardrobe gap?
I am never going to be the girl who wears a strapless dress or top, or long maxi dresses (I hate how they get caught amongst my legs).
Unless it fills my wardrobe gap (e.g. I do NOT already have a black leather jacket in my wardrobe), or I have been looking for something like it for years (like this navy blue Smythe peacoat that flares at the waist), then I shouldn’t buy it.
Is this my style?
I’ve realized that I can describe my style in 3 words:
Clean. Modern. Timeless.
Obviously Hawaiian shirts will never make it into my wardrobe, nor will ruffled skirts or super trendy things like harem pants.
This is my style — a classic, timeless, OMG amazing, perfect Smythe Reefer Camel Coat
Will I be able to wear it until the age of 90?
I prefer timeless, classic pieces. For me, that even includes a leather-sleeved top because leather sleeves on a black sweater will always look timeless.
What I do, is imagine an older woman with white hair (I have plenty of role models here I conjure up), and think: What would she look like in it?
If I can’t imagine her wearing it without looking too trendy or ridiculous, I think long and hard before buying it.
(This is why leather leggings have still not made it in my wardrobe. I can’t fork over $1000 for a pair of leather leggings that I think would look ridiculous at 90.)
How much do I really want it?
If I get to this point after going through all that? I buy it and am done with it.
It usually ends up being a rather expensive item at the end because nice fabrics do not come cheap. Polyester comes cheap but never lasts and looks as nice for a longer period of time.