5 More Questions to Ask When Shopping - The Closet Conundrum Part IV

... or what Discworld has to do with investing in quality and saving money.

Inspired by my dear readers who suggested three more questions that can help with the buying process in the comments on "5 Questions to ask yourself while Shopping", here are another five questions you can ask yourself while shopping for clothing. 

With some of them also being applicable and valid for things other than clothing, they will help you with the purchase process and minimise wasting money on items that won't ever be or won't be worn/used enough.

It may sound bad, like urgh, I have to remember 10 things everytime I consider an item? How boring and tedious is that? Don't fear, once you've done it a couple of times, most of these 10 questions are answered automatically within 15 seconds of looking at the item. You will only notice yourself shaking your head and putting it back on the rack.

5 More Questions to ask yourself while Shopping

1. What are the washing / care instructions?

This is a valid question. For one, I dislike washing clothes by hand. Second, as I said in part one, I am on a budget so bringing lots of things to the dry cleaners regularly is not an option. Nowadays my washing machine has a program for hand wash but even before then I would end up putting in some clothing that hadn't been too expensive with the delicate washing program. I only advocate this if you are really sure that you won't end up in a sobbing heap if it comes out less beautiful.

2. How does it look when sitting down / bending over?

Another very valid question. There are some dresses or pants that only look good when standing. And personally I am on the conservative side when it comes to underwear peeking out. I do not wish to display certain visuals when sitting down and my pants end up too low on the backside. Having to pull up my pants every 5 minutes is a big "NO" in capital letters for me. Likewise, I prefer my skirts a certain length so I don't feel like having to pull them down all the time. Now, that is my personal preference, you'll have your very own, perfectly fine one, the important part is whether you feel comfortable all around. Which means it is important to know yourself in that regard and be honest when assessing a garment. Point is, if you aren't feeling comfortable wearing it, you'll sub- or not so subconsciously avoid wearing it.

3. How much is it? (Jan)

How much does it cost? Can I afford it without having to resort to eating bread and water for the rest of the month? And if I can afford it, is it really worth spending or even splurging on? Will I still love it tomorrow?

If you can answer positively to the majority of these, by all means, go ahead. There's said to be people that rather have an It-Bag instead of proper food, but it's not something I comprehend or advocate. However, each of us has to make their own choices.

On the other hand, if you can afford it because it is really cheap, please ask yourself if you need another XY or if you are just adding for the sake of adding and if not per chance, you'd rather save up to splurge on that one thing you've always wanted to have. I am doing just that at the moment because I've set my eyes higher.

4. Can I find this product in a local / small brand / Made in X version?

For a variety of reasons I love supporting smaller brands, local stores and Made in X (not being native to where I live, I have more than one country I like to support that way, pick your very own favorite here). For example when I want a new bag, I will always check the small stores here in town first and prioritise merchandise which is Made in Italy even if it costs a bit more, because from my experience it also will hold more. Ehr longer. Which means in the end I will save. There is something I always remember in that context. In one of Pratchett's Discworld Novels, *Men At Arms*, Sam Vimes notes accurately:

“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

So thank you Sir Terry Pratchett, for teaching us to invest in quality products! 

I have some other reasons as well, like the carbon footprint and keeping people in my immediate or almost immediate community employed, but elaborating on these would turn this post into a novel.

5. Are you being intentional?

I've touched on this already in last weeks "5 Tips for Thrifting". Being intentional is important to not end up with things you don't need, important for not wasting money. Intentional means: Are you shopping with a purpose, that is for example to replace a broken item or fill a gap? Or are you just mindlessly buying for the sake of having something new? Being intentional means not buying something that doesn't fit you, your style, the rest of your wardrobe and isn't really worth the rulebreaking either. Being intentional means knowing exactly where your money is going, what you are doing with it, in what you are investing it. Being intentional means doing what you can to minimise regret, clutter and wastefulness. 

Right now, my intention is directed versus:

- a new black bag / purse with ample room, to replace current one that is starting to lose it.
- a black full midi skirt, preferibly with some texture
- the perfect dressy but flowy top

No rush on any of that so.

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