It might seem absurd to suggest that buying more may lead to buying less, but I’ve been testing this minimalism theory for a few years now, so hear me out. Most people I know, myself included, spend most of our time wearing our wardrobe staples; the jeans, sweater, or shoes that made up our every day clothes. These have ended up being the pieces that I am most careful about with regards to fit, fabric, and quality. If it is the sweater you are going to wear all winter, or the shoes you’ll walk the dog in six months a year, they need to look good, last long, and feel good.
These wardrobe foundation items can sometimes be quite difficult to find, so when I do find one, I tend to buy them in multiples. I started this a few years ago, when I had bought an item I loved, knew it was perfect, and then was scared to wear it because I didn’t want to ruin it. That completely defeated the purpose of buying it, because I ended up “saving it.” (Saving things is kind of my pet peeve, totally anti-minimalism, but I am guilty of it sometimes and it is a habit I am trying to break.)
Now that I am so in tune with what I wear, how I like things to fit, and what kind of outfits I put together, it is usually quite easy to figure out straight away if something is going to be a staple. These days, if I spot something I know is going to be a winner, I sometimes just buy two. Maybe one will be on every day rotation, the other will be saved for times when you don’t want to wear something that has visibly been worn one hundred times.
This happened last week when I found a black skirt at the Gap (I think a remnant of the last Rebekka Bay collection – sob!) and I hesitated in store because I wasn’t sure to buy two, and buy the striped version as well. In the end, I only bought one, got home, wore it, and then panicked to buy a second because I knew this was an awesome skirt. (Good news – I found one online in Canada and purchased it.) I’ve done it with t-shirts, cashmere sweaters, jeans, and shoes. This new shopping concept has played a big role in achieving minimalism in my closet, since I tend to fill it with things I actually want to wear.
So how does buying multiples help you to buy less? For me, it means I know what works and I only buy the things that work. If I can go back to a company and buy the same jeans or underwear I always buy, I know for sure they will fit correctly and look good. I buy them when I need them and I know they will be worn. Or if it is something seasonal, I try and figure out very quickly if it is going ot be a popular piece for me, and I stock up. This way, I have what I need and I don’t have to try out new shapes that look good in store but end up being wrong later and then go to waste. I am quite sure that this system has saved me lots of money and time, as I now have six pairs of jeans in my wardrobe, instead of the fifteen I had before.
While minimalism advocates buying less, I think there is something to be said about buying more when you know it is just right. It takes the stress out of shopping and it means your wardrobe is full of clothes you know you will wear. And it means you don’t have to panic buy jeans or underwear or t-shirts when you run out, only to find that the pocket/waist/fabric/length is just not right.
Images from www.cosstores.com, www.uniqlo.com, and www.shopbop.com.