Five Tips to Shop more Mindfully

tips for shopping mindfully minimal wardrobe

I think we’ve – almost – all been there; that moment when you realise that your shopping has gotten a little out of control, and somehow in the last month you’ve come home with more things that you could realistically hope to wear for the next season, or two. This has been so true of my own story, and it wasn’t until I realised just how swept up in this vortex of continuously shopping, yet still never having anything to wear, that I started to make a change to how I shopped. I’m still always going to be the girl who loves the buzz of bringing home a new pair of shoes, and while I won’t let myself feel guilty over splurging on a dress I’ve had my eye on for two months, I try to follow a few simple steps to make sure that what I’m adding to my wardrobe will still be a strong staple six months later.

ONE IN, ONE OUT
There’s nothing quite like the threat of having to get rid of something you already own and love, to make you think twice about a new wardrobe addition. Aside from the fact that this helps to keep your wardrobe free from clutter, this is also a great way to keep your closet streamlined and filled only with the things that you love, plus it adds a little layer to the shopping process which can be a real dealbreaker, particularly if you’re buying something just because it’s on sale.

KEEP A SHOPPING JOURNAL
Something that I still do, even to this day, is keep an itemised shopping journal which lists each new addition to my closet, and just how much I spent on it. This takes a little bit of additional effort, but it helps me to stay accountable and also identify when I’m starting to add a few too many new things to my wardrobe. The most important point here is to be honest, and include everything, even if it’s just a $0.99 pair of vintage denim shorts from eBay.

BE PATIENT
There’s that old saying, ‘good things come to those who wait’, and as cliche as it is, I typically like to wait at least two weeks before pulling the trigger on a purchase. There’s always the odd exception, but giving yourself the time to really think about a possible new purchase speaks volumes as to whether a new piece is going to be a keeper, or something that will be relegated to the back of your wardrobe within a few month’s time. A lot of the time, I’ll come to the conclusion that as shiny and pretty and new as it is, it’s not something that I really need, or something that I foresee myself getting a lot of use out of.

ASK YOURSELF, IS IT VERSATILE?
I figure that there’s no point buying something if it doesn’t go with the rest of your wardrobe, and you have to buy something else for it to go with. While there’s always the odd exception, like a fancy cocktail dress, I use the rule of thumb that any new addition needs to work with at least three other items in my already existing closet. Versatility is absolutely key, and if it can do double duty for the office and for play, that’s even better.

TRY A CAPSULE WARDROBE
I was first drawn to the capsule wardrobe movement in large part due to my desire to shop smarter, and really take hold of my wardrobe’s destiny (as corny as that sounds). I’ve since moved on after three years of capsule wardrobes, but I took away so much from the learning experience and have found that I hit the shops a lot less frequently than I used to, and when I do, I’m much more measured when it comes to ringing up a new purchase at the shop till. If you’re new to this concept, or are thinking about dipping your toe into the capsule wardrobe pool, then I’d recommend checking out some of my previous posts on how to build a capsule wardrobe and whether a capsule wardrobe is right for you, as I think they’re both pretty good starting points.

A couple of the other things that I’ve found have really helped me, when it comes to shopping smarter, and shopping more mindfully, is to keep a full list of all the items you have in your current wardrobe on you at all times, as well as a concrete shopping list of things that you’re looking for. I find that these two ‘mini-steps’ work in unison together, functioning as a reminder of what you already own (and don’t need multiples of…), allow you to identify in one glance whether a piece would work with your existing wardrobe, and also allow you to pin point just what your wardrobe is missing.

Overall, my general approach to shopping is quality over quantity, so when I do invest in a new item, I want it to be something that trascends trends, and will last the test of time. There’s nothing more satisfying that adding something to your wardrobe that you still love six years later (my Helmut Lang blazer and Proenza Schouler PS11 are proof of that in action!), and sometimes saving up and spending a little more, or waiting for the perfect piece within your budget to roll around, is much more rewarding than an easy pick-me-up.

Do you have any tips for shopping more mindfully?

Meet Winston

rag doll kitten
rag doll kitten

It feels like only yesterday that Luke and I drove the hour and a half to pick up Charlotte. Fast forward two years now (!!), and we’re adding a third little furry companion into the mix. If you already follow my Instagram, then there’s no doubt that you’ve already had the pleasure of meeting this little ball of fluff, but I wanted to introduce you all to Winston. He is turning out to be the snuggliest little lovebug – you’ll get no complaints from me! – and I don’t think we’ve wasted any time in showering him with our affections. He’s around the three-and-a-half month mark now, and is still finding his way in our crazy animal house, but I’ve been loving watching his personality flourish as he’s gained confidence in the weeks since we have brought him home. I think it’s safe to say there’s no shortage of love in our home!

01.02

lover the label wiccan lace midi dress
lover the label wiccan lace midi dress
lover the label wiccan lace midi dress
lover the label wiccan lace midi dress
lover the label wiccan lace midi dress
lover the label wiccan lace midi dress

Lover wiccan lace midi dress (old but I LOVE this option, and this is gorgeous too!), Dior marble patent heels (these are a cute alternative), Kate of Arcadia leather clutch (similar), Kate Spade earrings

Celebrating becoming a year older in one of my favourite labels – Lover. I managed to stumble across this beauty on eBay just a couple weeks ago, after being on the hunt for it for seven (!!) years, and there was no way that I could pass it up. Besides, is there any other way to celebrate a special occasion than in Lover? While this beauty might be no longer available, I’ve had a ‘shop’ around for some of my favourite lace dresses which you’ll find below; can you guess which ones I have my eye on? x

The slip dress

minimal slip dress outfit mademoiselle
minimal slip dress outfit mademoiselle

ASOS dungaree slip dress (also love this one), Proenza Schouler PS11 satchel (also available here), Paul Hewitt watch (similar option here), ASOS sunglasses (old but I love these), Truffle black mules (not pictured)

A perennial favourite of mine over the last few summer months has undoubtedly been a slinky slip dress – it’s easy dressing in its simplest form, and has been a saviour on those 30+ degree days. This one from ASOS has been my current go-to for its casual vibes; the v-cut neckline is universally flattering and I love the subtle detail of the side slits (plus they’re ideal for all the hot weather we’ve been having lately!). Given that I’ve basically been living in denim shorts and singlets every weekend, this swishy number has been the perfect throw on piece when we’re heading out for a weekend brunch, and I want to make it look like I tried… a little. I’m always on the lookout for wardrobe staples that can be worn almost year round, and as we start to get closer to Autumn, I’ll definitely be pairing this worn over a white tee – so very 90s of me – or a black skivvy, as I transition my wardrobe for those cooler months. I’ve picked out a few of my favourite slip dresses from around the web which you can shop below, with everything from velvet minis to slinky silk midis (Grana has a great luxe option!) – have you had your eye on the slip dress? x

Tips for shopping on eBay and buying secondhand

tips for shopping eBay and secondhand

As much as I love bringing home something shiny and new, nothing quite beats the thrill of stumbling across something you’ve love had your eye on for an absolute steal on eBay. I’ve been shopping the online marketplace for the last 12 years or so now, and some of my best bargains have included a much-loved grey wool flannel skirt from Karen Walker that I took home for a mere $10, a pair of brand new pebbled leather ‘jensen’ boots from Acne Studios for half the price, and some vintage denim shorts that I managed to nab for less than a dollar.

My secondhand shopping successes have come with their fair share of misses, so today I wanted to share some of my tips on how to successfully navigate eBay and online consignment stores to come away with a new wardrobe addition that you absolutely l-o-v-e.

KNOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR
Whether you are buying brand new or second hand, you should always make a point of shopping with purpose. Maybe you’re after a sleek black blazer to round out your work wardrobe, a buttery leather skirt for model off-duty vibes, or perhaps you’re trying to track down a pair of YSL caged heels from six years ago; knowing what it is that you are after will help you to narrow down your search, and also serve as a guide to navigate you towards making a purchase that you actually want, rather than buying something that is an absolute steal, but that isn’t going to stand the test of time in your wardrobe.

SET UP YOUR SEARCHES
Particularly if you are looking for an archival piece, as I often am, one of the most useful tools to have on hand is the eBay (or consignment store’s) app. I set up searches for specific designers (I love to browse through listings for Karen Walker and Lover), and specific items from designers – like Chloe shoes in a size EU40. The search function filters through only the listings you haven’t seen, so every couple of days or so, I’ll drop into the app to take a peek at what new listings have popped up. I think it’s also worth noting here that patience is absolutely key. Because you’re relying on other people the world over to sell something you want, it can take time – one of my most recent eBay finds is a dress I’ve been trying to track down for seven years!

PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS
What condition is the item in? What size is it? What are the measurements? Pay attention to all these details as unlike shopping in a real store, unless the seller accepts returns, you often don’t have the luxury of changing your mind if you don’t really like the item when it arrives. Make sure you use the website’s zoom function to get a close up of the material to look closely for any marks or wear to the fabric, and have a tape measure on hand to check that the item is going to fit you.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS
Listing descriptiongs for items are completely a mixed bag; some are extensive, offering up measurements, clear condition of the item, as well as ample photographs, whereas others will use stock imagery of the item up for sale with only the size listed in the description. For that reason, I like to touch base with the seller and ask them questions, like specific measurements or for additional photographs, just to get a better overall picture of what exactly it is that I’m considering buying. Also, given that sizing does vary from season to season, and from label to label, I typically tend to gravitate more towards brands that I’m familiar with – it helps to reduce the chances of ending up with something that doesn’t fit quite right, and it also gives me a good idea of the type of quality I can expect from the item I’m buying. It’s also a great way to see whether the seller would consider a slightly lower price – particularly if you’ve noticed that the item has been relisted a few times.

KNOW YOUR BUDGET
I’ve definitely gotten caught up in the excitement of bidding on an item, and it never ends well. For that reason, I think it’s always important to set a defined budget, and stick to it. Figure out what you think something is worth, and don’t spare a penny more – I’ve found that even when I have missed out on an auction, the same item usually pops up a little later down the track and if you’re lucky, you may manage to nab it for a better price than the original listing.

SNIPE THOSE AUCTIONS
My secret weapon when is comes to winning auctions, is Bidnip. I’ve been using this service for about ten years now, and essentially it allows you to program in the amount you are willing to pay (ie. the top end of your budget), as well as the number of seconds that you’d like to place your bid before the auction ends. Aside from the fact that this stops me from checking my phone every five seconds in the minutes leading up to an auction ending, it also gives me the freedom to bid on auctions originating in the United States or Europe, that typically end during the middle of the night.

While I’m yet to buy a designer handbag second hand (a single flap classic Chanel is high on my list!), there’s a few additional tips I wanted to mention. I couldn’t recommend watching YouTube reviews enough – this should help to frame the expectation of what you should be receiving, as well as the importance of getting the item authenticated before and after you have the bag in your hot little hands. There are definitely certain items which are more likely to spawn knock offs than others, so use your better judgement, and make sure that you are always buying via Paypal as it offers buyer protection, in the instance that what you receive isn’t actually what was advertised – whether that be as a result of authenticity, markings, and the overall condition of the item.

In addition to shopping on eBay, I have a huge love for second hand consignment stores such as The Real Real (my personal favourite) and Vestiare Collective, both of which offer comprehensive returns – perfect if the item doesn’t fit quite the way you’d expect. Generally speaking, I apply a lot of the same principles, and I’ve come away with some really incredible new additions to my wardrobe over the last couple of years.

What I love most about shopping second hand, aside from the ability to find sought after archival pieces or current season items for a fraction of the price, is that you can build up a core wardrobe of quality essentials, without breaking the bank. Do you like to shop secondhand? x