Sunday, September 14, 2014

Buyers' Regrets

4:53 AM

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Everybody has a certain trigger for that indescribable rush of adrenaline and awe. For some, it's winning a competition; others, creating something new; still others, discovering the solution to a difficult problem. For me, it's entering an amazing store.

When that rush takes over, my mind and body float. I don't know about you guys, but I just seem to swim through the area in a daze, feeling the material of the items and admiring their intricate designs. Like every high, it's difficult to comprehend what I'm actually doing until after it dies down.

Like Rebecca Bloomwood from Confessions of a Shopaholic, I think we've all experienced buying an item we regret sooner or later. At the time, it seemed like a great idea because the item was just so attractive and I just had to have it somehow. I start to put it down, but then I reason with myself: What if it's the last one in my size? What if the next time I come, it won't be here anymore? What if I find something else that would be perfect with it? The list goes on and on.

Yet when it hit the laundry after a single use, that ultra awesome piece that I thought I needed so much would sit in my closet for months, maybe even years, until I fish it out for either the exact same outfit or a donation. It pains me to see it so underused, and yet I know it’s my fault for buying it so thoughtlessly.

To address this problem, I’ve come up with five golden guidelines for myself and all my fellow impulse buyers that want to break the habit (and make your wallet breathe a sigh of relief).

This is the first question you need to ask yourselves since it's important to consider if the item would either be used on a regular basis, only for specific occasions, or once and never again. This way you can decide whether it’s worth getting and simultaneously visualize the possibilities with just one key piece.

For example, you find a drop-dead gorgeous laser cut top that you know you would look good in, but would it go with any other bottom you have in your closet? Maybe you’ve got a pair of ripped jeans you could pair it with for an urban vibe, or maybe a flowy skirt to contrast its sharp silhouettes. Maybe it matches your well-loved shoes perfectly, or complements that bag that you’ve had for ages but never got around to using. Knowledge of what you already have is essential, in addition to a bit of creativity.

In this rapid, waste-ridden capitalist world, it would be good to try and extinguish the possibility of disposing of it early. Aside from minimizing waste, you should also consider the total utility (wherein every use is divided by the price you initially paid for). It's a highly economic principle that sounds like too much to think about, but it's good practice for financial discipline.

Remember that pretty accessory you thought would be your new best friend, yet broke after a few uses? Or maybe that pair of leggings that washed out and bled onto the rest of your clothes after one spin through the dryer? Determining whether something is worth the cost not only helps your sense of responsibility, but also awards you with a purchase that presents good quality.

In relation to the previous criterion, it's a well-known fact that brands often charge more than what it cost to manufacture either based on name, design, or country of origin (with regard to the company). In the Philippines, it's very easy to find products worth a third of the price you see at high-end malls because manufacturing happens in Asia. Don't settle for a piece that you know can be replicated (such as a cap from Topman that could be found in Divisoria).

On the flip side, items of higher quality (such as valuable fabric or a design by a particular person) are worth the hefty price tag. Although we all love a good bargain, investing in an item you know is of superior substance will pay off in the long run, as illustrated in the previous guideline.

Know when to differentiate cost and value - it’s a life skill that will reward you in more ways than you can imagine.

How many shoes are in the same color or style? How many tops do I have that look like this? How many pairs of jeans do I own? How many skirts of the same type have I bought recently? It’s easy to overlook the fact that you already own something similar either because the shopping rush has you too distracted or because this one has detail that makes it “different”.

No matter what, you should know your closet well so it wouldn’t be such a waste when you come home to see that you’ve got stock of the same design, unless that was your intention. Allow variety in your closet; this unlocks more outfit combinations without the repetition.

This would be the breaking point if the product has passed all of the above. Some items seem great at first glance, but once you take a good look, it doesn't actually appeal to you as much as you first thought. Attractive things often blind us temporarily with infatuation, but when that wears off and you realize you have grown tired of it, all that thinking would be for naught.

If you’re really not sure of something, ask for someone else’s opinion. If you don’t have anyone with you, ask the sales people for input. If you still doubt the feedback, take the item to the dressing room or to a mirror and imagine yourself wearing it. Do you see yourself truly enjoying the piece, or is it just something you thought was nice?

Choose well, dear readers. Impulse buying is a difficult habit to break (and a very detrimental one if it gets out of hand), but with a little discernment, you can save yourself the disappointment that would creep up on you had you chosen otherwise.

Article and Art by Nikki
Nikki is a girl who sometimes feels like a boy, and is also an all-around art enthusiast and a linguist that likes the mysterious sounds words make. She likes wearing round spectacles of any sort, playing with her makeup when she’s bored, and envisioning outfits for various kinds of occasions. She has a style diary here and maintains a twitter that experiences extreme lows and highs of activity.  


  1. Now I have something to send people when they ask why I take so long deciding on stuff to buy! Gotta be practical when it comes to spending on clothes =))