You know the drill. You walk into Target/H&M/Forever 21/Zara (take your pick of any mass produced big name box store) and you go through the five stages of box store shopping. 1. Guilt: “I should be buying local and not buying mass produced stuff!” 2. Elation: “OH MY GOSH THIS SWEATER IS SO CUUUUUUTE!” 3. Trepidation: “Okay, but doesn’t EVERYONE ELSE have this top??” 4. Mad Rush of Emotions: “BUT DO YOU SEE HOW CHEAP IT IS???” 5. Succombing To The Sweet Scent of Deals: “I’m buying it. ALL.”
You guys, I started a clothing line, so I have my own feelings about fast fashion. Now that I know how much time, effort, and money goes into making real clothing, it is frustrating how quickly Zara can pump out zillions of things before I can even get half a piece of clothing done. That being said though, I go through all the five stages just like everyone else. And yes, I usually cave in, and buy all the deals. And nope, I don’t regret it. So let’s talk about how to sort of…make it all better somehow.
How do you buy something at a box store and NOT look like every other blogger/mom/girl who loves shopping out there? I’m just gonna throw out some ideas that might help you look at things differently and encourage a healthy mix of small batch AND big box store shopping. Because let’s face it. Almost no one can steer completely clear of the biggies.
- Choose wisely. When shopping at one of the mass produced places, you must try and avoid the strong magnetic allure of “It’s 75% off so I HAVE TO BUY IT!” Just because it’s uber cheap, doesn’t mean you NEED it. Stop, breathe, and ask yourself if it’s as good as what you already have OR if it meets a need in your wardrobe. I know the madness is easy to get into. But do a “final edit” when you get to the register and lose whatever you have doubts about.
- Think about how you’ll wear it. This is when you get to distinguish yourself from the hundreds of other people who are currently buying that exact same piece of clothing (because, you’ve got great taste, so of course other people will want it!). This is the FUN part. Plus, it’ll help you decide whether or not you will actually wear what you’re gonna buy. Think about pairing this top or dress (or whatever it is) with vintage accessories. Or maybe take a handmade item or unique pair of shoes and put them with it…basically mix in your piece that EVERYONE may have with pieces that NO ONE ELSE has. No way on earth you’re gonna look like everyone else now, is there? :)
- Weigh your options. Let’s be honest. Sometimes, Target and Zara have great on trend pieces at a fraction of the price, and a fraction of the price is really what is most affordable and practical for that particular thing. However, there are also times when it really makes more sense to get something REAL instead. This is really dependent on what it is you’re looking at. For example, say you’ve been eying a handmade pair of bell bottoms on Instagram or Etsy that are just stunning. They are custom fit, hand dyed, and exactly what you’ve been looking at. Plus, you have been following the maker on social media and you know her dog’s name and what kind of coffee she likes and a lot of little endearing details about her life. Then you walk into Target and you see a somewhat similar pair of bell bottoms. They don’t fit quite as well, but they’re cute and about one quarter of the cost of the others. Okay, I can firmly say (within reason, like really without knowing what your budget is, so please don’t get into debt or something because of me!) that this is one of those scenarios where it’s better to spend the dough. You get what you’ve been drooling over, you support the maker, and also, you get pants that will LAST. When people buy things from me, I literally almost cry. That’s how much it means to me. So when you buy from a maker, you are MAKING THEIR WEEK.
- Buy sparingly. I am consistently drawn to the clothing section at Target. And Zara? Get out of town…I would be in TROUBLE if I had one anywhere near me. But no matter how insanely much I want to just buy buy buy clothes when I get to Target, I force myself to only buy occasionally. Because to be quite honest, the things I buy from Target often end up being my least favorite things…the things that end up going to the thrift store. With the exception of the things I have chosen wisely and put more thought into my purchase. This helps me to curb my appetite when I get there and just want to binge.
That being said, I have made a few Target clothing purchases recently, and those are the first I’ve made in close to a year!
I tried on this jumpsuit and I had to have it. It’s just so lovely and spring-y and I think it looks way nicer than the average Target pieces. I decided however to pair it with this vintage denim duster I got from a friend’s second hand store, Revamped The Collection, and some vintage jewelry and boots. That way, it looks way different from the way I’ve seen it worn on Instagram already! So you see? You CAN have your cake and eat it too!! Unless, however you’re on a low carb diet like me, in which case you cannot either have cake or eat it.
You catch my drift.