A reader asked:
Hello, thank you for running this blog. I was wondering if you have any ideas on how to make shopping for clothes less overwhelming? I almost never buy new clothes until mine are full of holes because of a few reasons, but mostly because I get stressed out in clothing stores and even while shopping online because of how many things there are. Thank you!
Shopping for clothing is hard, particularly for women. I don’t have a complete solution, but I do have some ideas:
Pay attention to sensory overload:
- Most stores that sell clothing are also very overloading on a number of levels
- It might be helpful to listen to music on headphones while you shop
- Pay attention to which stores are more overloading, and try to shop at the ones that are easier to deal with
- When you get overloaded or overwhelmed, it can be really helpful to stop and hold onto something solid (eg: a clothing rack, a shopping cart) for a couple of minutes until you feel more grounded
It might be helpful to have someone shop with you:
- Some people get distracted and overloaded alone, but not with other people
- Sometimes another person can help you narrow down decisions
- Sometimes another person can notice signs of overload and help you come out of it
- Sometimes just having someone else there can make it easier to have perspective
- This doesn’t work for everyone, and for some people having someone else can make it worse. But it works really well for some people
When you find something you like, buy more than one of it:
- Then when it wears out or is in the wash or whatever, you’ll still have one
- If you want one, you probably want more than one
- Clothing is easier when a lot of it is the same
- If you are a woman and will be socially penalized for wearing the same shirts style all the time, you can sometimes fix this by having a lot of scarves and wearing a different one every day.
Notice brands you like:
- If you like a particular brand, it’s likely that you’ll keep liking stuff from that brand even as they change it
- The same brands are usually in the same places in the store
- And if not, you can look for them on purpose instead of being completely overwhelmed by all the options
Different kinds of stores are different, and some might be more or less overloading:
- For instance, The Burlington Coat Factory has racks where all the skirts in a particular range of sizes are. And then you can flip through.
- Most other stores have racks with one particular thing in several different sizes, organized by designer and loosely organized be levels of fanciness
- Depending on how you think, one or the other style of store might be dramatically easier for you to deal with
- For instance, if I know that I want a shirt, I usually find it easier to go to a store that has all the shirts in my size in one place.
- If I need various different pieces of clothing, I often find it easier to go to a store that’s organized by brand, so I can get various things in a brand I know I like
Some stores also have people who can help you shop.