People shop for all kinds of reasons. As a professional personal stylist and shopper, I’ve seen a lot of strategies that just don’t pay off.

Maybe you’ve experienced one or more of these at some point yourself; emotional shopping, compulsive shopping, shopping out of boredom and more. 

Here are some some common shopping patterns, and their potential downfalls. 


You experience a loss.
Whether it’s a divorce, breakup, the death of a loved one, or redundancy, you may have an impulse to go shopping. It's totally understandable. Shopping gives you something to do when you don’t know what to do with yourself. When everything feels bad, shopping seems like an easy fix, at least temporarily. 

What can go wrong?
You can waste a lot of money! What often lies underneath the impulse to shop is a desire to redefine oneself. If you shop unfocused, trying to reinvent yourself, or trying to fill a void you can end up with clothes that look like costumes and not you. All those items just end up in your wardrobe with the tags still on, and that’s a waste. Seeing them hanging there in time to come will make you feel worse! If you do want to redefine yourself, great. But make sure you take it slow and think about what you want to achieve.


You shop socially with friends or family.
For some people their time spent with friends and family is spent shopping together. It's great to be catching up while doing something else and wandering round the shops with a bit of lunch thrown in.

What can go wrong?
Yes, being with your friends can be fun, but the results aren’t much fun for your wardrobe or your bank account.  You love them, but when it comes to shopping, their opinions and taste may not be in synch with your personal style, colouring, lifestyle needs, or budget. You can end up with clothes, shoes, or accessories that aren’t really you. If the items come from shops that don’t have good return policies, and many more now have ‘credit note only’ policies, you’re really wasting money. 


You have a lot of free time and you love clothes.
If you have a lot of unstructured time, it’s so easy to spend it shopping in your local high street boutiques. You may pick up an item or two every time you go out. Although you don’t overspend on each shopping trip, it really does add up over time. Your closet gets stuffed but you still want to shop. The other downfall is that these boutiques often have owner - managers who are great sales people, and may have a very different personal style to you!

What can go wrong?
In this shopping pattern, you tend to shop for ‘wants’ and ignore ‘needs’. You’ll enjoy buying eye catching character pieces, shoes or bags, jewellery or tops, but there will be big holes in your wardrobe, and you miss out the basics required to hang it all together. While you have lots of things, you’ll still feel unsatisfied. You go shopping again before taking the time to analyse your needs and wants. It’s a cycle that will never have a satisfying end. 


You love the prestige of designer clothes.
In your mind, wearing a designer label makes you feel better about yourself. You assume a designer label ensures good taste, guarantees quality, and will give you a self-worth boost that you feel isn’t possible from less expensive clothing. Sales assistants in high-end stores call you frequently to entice you with the newest designer items. It makes you feel special. 

What can go wrong?
It’s easy to assume that if you’re paying a lot for something, it must be good. But there’s so much more to consider, as it might not be good for you or your lifestyle. As Yves Saint Laurent said, “Fashion fades. Style is eternal.” These clothes may not meet your lifestyle and personal style needs. You have a collection of clothes in your closet that aren’t being seen by anyone but you. A good wardrobe contains outfits that you can actually live your life in.


You shop late at night.
You have no time for shopping because your job is so demanding and stressful. The way you unwind is to get on the computer at night and shop online. You have no ‘me’ time and you try to make up for it in these late night hours. You tell yourself that you deserve some fun and relaxation. 

What can go wrong?
Packages arrive, but you don’t get around to trying things on. Or if you do try them on and they’re ill fitting or don’t match the way they looked online. You contend with another step, which isn’t, much fun at all: making the returns. Since you’re already too busy to shop properly- in a store, trying things before you buy, this doesn’t get done. Now you have nothing to show for those late night online shopping sprees, and have wasted time and money.


You can see what goes bad in these shopping patterns. While you might recognise them it’s still hard to break old habits. 

Are you ready to try something new? I can promise you much better results. I have clients that used to shop these ways and it eroded their self-esteem. When I started working with them, we had a list of items and objectives before we ever walked into a store. The results? My clients love the way clothes enhance their personal style, and have found a whole new enjoyment in getting dressed. These old shopping patterns are a thing of the past.

I can teach you new strategies that will have you feeling great about yourself and your wardrobe. Let’s take the first step together. Call me and we’ll make a plan! 


Lizzie Edwards is a Personal Stylist and Image Consultant based in London, UK.