Embrace Mindful Shopping to Say No to Seasonal Impulse Buys

It’s time to take control of your spending habits and embrace a more intentional and mindful shopping approach.

Fall is almost here, and I’m super excited after a crazy hot summer here in Texas. Many of you may be planning some new wardrobe items or looking at some of the trends online. Today I’m going to share with you how to avoid some of those seasonal impulse buys that you’ll probably regret long before pumpkin spice returns next year.

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Today I’m super excited to talk about seasonal wardrobe changes. This is something that for me, I always end up craving long before this season officially starts. I believe fall officially starts sometime around the 21st, 22nd, 23rd. I can’t keep up. The truth is that my birthday is on September 20th, and I know that fall is usually a few days after that. 

Many of you probably are like me and you have been ready to dawn those fall clothes for at least a few weeks. I know that I am ready for the leopard print and some of the deeper colors. I’m ready to shed these summer-type styles and summer clothes and just embrace all the fun that comes with fall.

Now, once upon a time, you would see new seasonal items come out in correlation with the calendar seasons, but fast fashion has changed so much, and wardrobe turnover is really quick. Now, I think the biggest fast fashion brands turnover new items in less than two weeks. It’s nothing now to see a constant stream of new clothing in stores and to be constantly bombarded by new styles. However, if you’ve been out and you’ve been shopping, I’m sure you’ve been seeing some new fall items.

You may have been looking around on the internet, reading blogs, checking out Pinterest, looking at fall trends.  Maybe you feel like you need to update your wardrobe to stay on trend, to stay up to date, to be like the cool kids wearing the cool clothes. I really want to talk about trying to avoid those seasonal impulse buys because the truth of the matter is a wardrobe that is timeless for you is built upon essentials that work for you and your lifestyle, your best colors, your best styles with only small hints of seasonal trends.

These trends typically don’t last very long. Very soon your clothes will look dated and out of touch. For example, Chevron, we can definitely peg to 2013-2015. Definitely a pattern that had its moment and it just hasn’t been in fashion as often. For those o f us who bought some of those patterns, we may be holding onto them or we may have still liked them, but unfortunately, they’re just really kind of dated.

While there are some trends that last several years at a time, there are others that come and go really quickly. Today I’d really just like to share with you four big tips to avoid those seasonal impulse buys, those purchases that you may later regret quicker than you think you will.

Let’s talk a little bit more about mindful shopping, which of course I’ve talked about before. Let’s jump right on in and talk about how to avoid those impulse buys, those seasonal purchases that don’t really serve us, don’t really serve our wardrobe and don’t really give us the timeless, authentic wardrobe that we really crave.

Mindful Shopping Tip #1: Stay Out of Shops and Stay Off the Internet

The first tip I have for you, which may be harder to do for some people, is to stay out of the shops and to stay off the internet. I mean don’t put yourself in a position or in a place where you’re tempted to shop. Don’t go to the mall, don’t go to outlet malls, don’t go to shopping centers, and don’t go to the thrift store.

Just stay away from them and don’t go because then you definitely will not be tempted to buy those things that grab your eye. Along with that comes staying off of online shopping, which I find really hard because it’s one of the things that I used to love to do. I actually have broken the habit in the last year, and I’m going to be talking about that in the future.

I used to scroll my favorite online retailers when I was bored, needed a dopamine hit, or was feeling down. I wanted to feel happy. I would go scroll and see what they had. The truth is that every time you look online at shopping, you’re tempted more and more to buy those items. I am one of those people who tends to cart things a whole bunch of times before I finally commit.

However, the more often you’re on there, the more often you’re looking at those things and your resistance weakens to buying them. One of the best things you can do to avoid this impulse buying, impulse shopping, and seasonal trend temptation is to remove yourself from the picture. 

Mindful Shopping Tip #2: Avoid Cheap Items by Choosing Quality

The second thing that you can do to avoid seasonal impulse shopping is to avoid cheaply made items. This is one of those areas where when it comes to trends, there is always a high-end version and there are always tons of low-end versions. This is just the reality that happens because the trends are created on the runway for the most part in the high fashion world, and they trickle down to the retail stores and the fast fashion market.

These clothes are typically very poorly made. They are made in conditions that don’t really support ethical practices or sustainable practices. They’re bad for the environment and are not made to last. They’re made to last a few months and then to be thrown away, which of course ends up on the shores of third-world countries, impacts their economies, and has long-lasting ramifications for social issues and environmental issues.

They’re throwaway clothes. If you do see a trend that you absolutely love, I would love for you to ask yourself this question, do I love this trend enough to buy it in a quality item and spend the money, maybe a hundred dollars an item to buy it in a quality piece? Or is this something that I would not want to keep long enough to spend that kind of money?

When you ask yourself this question, it really highlights whether this is something that is true to you and authentic to you, or whether it’s just you jumping on a trend train for the moment. Knowing that this piece is not going to be long-term in your wardrobe, is not going to serve you for the long haul, and isn’t going to be a focal piece in an overall cohesive wardrobe that’s true to who you are. 


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Mindful Shopping Tip #3: Create a Shopping List

The third tip I have for you today is to create a shopping list. I still love and swear by the five-piece French wardrobe method where you make a list of five items that you’re buying twice a year. If that seems really overwhelming to you, I’m totally cool with you doing this four times a year, making a list of five items that you know you need. You recognize you have holes in your wardrobe, you’ve been thinking about them for a while.

You’re planning to buy them, you’re planning to buy them in quality pieces that are going to last you for a long time. When you take the time to mindfully make a list, it helps you cut through all the noise, cut through all the trends, the fashion clutter, all of these things to help you find the things that you actually want to buy. It’s one of the best mindful shopping practices that I have ever found.

I have been doing this for about a year now, and it has been incredible to really help me focus in each season, updating my wardrobe with the things that I really want and I really need that are so authentic to who I am, the wardrobe that I’m building, the lifestyle that I’m living, the day to day ins and outs of my life and what I really want.

I challenge you to create a list of five things that you really want to buy. Then go ahead and rank it if you want the thing that you want most, the thing that you want second, etc. See how those things align with the trends that you’re seeing, the wardrobe that you have, and the life that you’re actually living. Does your list make sense?

Once you get used to doing this, you also have the benefit of being able to save money between seasons to really get the most bang for your buck, to be able to buy higher quality pieces. Because you’re not constantly spending $20 here and $20 there on throwaway clothes. You’re able to save that money, really spend it mindfully, and get pieces for your wardrobe that are going to be great quality, suit you properly, and really make you feel happy and content with the things that you’ve bought and what you’re wearing.

Mindful Shopping Tip #4: Know Thyself

My final piece of advice for avoiding those seasonal impulse buys is one that is at the heart of all of our wardrobe struggles, all of our style journey, and everything that I talk about. It’s to know yourself because the truth is that trends come and trends go. It cracks me up right now to see that some of the styles that we wore as teenagers are now back in fashion. I am not going to wear them because I am 42 years old and I don’t want to wear those things anymore.

Sometimes we look around and we feel the pull to be youthful. We feel the urge to be accepted, and we think that buying into trends or looking like the cool kids, even if the cool kids are 40 or 50, or looking like an Instagram influencer or some Pinterest inspiration that you found is going to help us fit in or help us solve some of those problems that we’re having.

It just contributes more to the confusion, to the overwhelm that we feel because we still just don’t know who we are. We don’t know which trends we can say yes to, and we don’t know which trends we should definitely say no to. If this is you and you really don’t know your style, and you don’t know who you are in fashion, what you like, or what your wardrobe is supposed to look like, then I so strongly urge you not to do any seasonal shopping.

It’s just a bandaid for the discontent you have inside for the uncertainty and the insecurity that you’re feeling. It’s not going to solve your problems long term. It’s only going to give you a quick semi-halfway fix to your wardrobe struggles. 

Final Thoughts on Mindful Shopping

Those are my four tips. I don’t talk about trends anymore as far as sharing trend reports or telling people what’s in style, because I just really don’t believe in it from the perspective of creating an authentic wardrobe that represents you and your lifestyle and promotes sustainability and ethical practices and helps you simplify your life.

I do understand that many of you like some of the things you’re seeing and want to try some of these trends. I urge you to be really mindful and specific about the trends that you’re trying. If you feel curious about trends, a great thing that you can always do is just go. I know I told you to stay out of the shops, but now I’m going to tell you to go. Go to the mall and try stuff on with a commitment to yourself that you’re not going to buy a thing.

That’s the important part. You go in with a commitment not to buy anything, only an exploratory expedition to try on things and see if you actually like them. Take pictures, take notes, go home, and then spend some time thinking about whether or not those things are really part of who you are, authentic to who you want to be, and represent the style and the person that you want to communicate to the world.

Everything we wear is communication, whether we intend to or not. Every time we put clothes on, we’re saying something to the world about who we are. My goal for you, my dream for you is to be intentional and authentic and truthful with what you’re communicating and what you’re saying to the outside world.

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Say goodbye to those seasonal impulse buys and hello to a wardrobe that truly reflects your style with mindful shopping.

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