Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Shopping: The Danger of the Alluring Assortment

Hmmm, which one...?

I've seen it a hundred times, at least.  Hapless shopper wanders into store, without anything particular in mind.  And then... they see it.  The shelf of tee shirts in 19 colors.  The round rack of cardigans in 24 colors.  OR the wall of socks in every color of the rainbow (yes, I'm talking to you, Bon Marche!).

When this shopper came into the store, their feelings about buying were "Will I buy?".

But then they see this assortment, and they automatically start to evaluate the various colors, mentally sorting them into piles of "yuck", "nice but I couldn't wear it", "possible", and (this is the fatal one) "my colors".

And of course, when you see something in "my color", it should therefore become "my garment", right?

So "Will I buy?" becomes "Which will I buy?"

And the store gets a sale.

And the shopper now proudly owns their 9th red cardigan, or their 13th rose tee shirt, or their 22nd pair of black argyle socks...

Forewarned is forearmed. Limited


  1. This post is so timely as this was me yesterday at Barkins. Luckily for me, i've already made a list of all the things i want to purchase this year and that helped me from falling into temptation :)

    xo Stephanie

  2. I think this is so tempting: to buy the (insert clothing item) in the color everyone says I should wear.

    I learned a hard lesson one time by purchasing three different tops in a blueberry color. I received so many compliments on the color, but I caught myself in the mirror (after the shopping euphoria ceased) and saw what I really looked like. My face shone, being next to a great color, but everything else looked horrible.

    Color AND fit AND need. It is a formula, but few obey.

  3. As a sewer, this is my achilles heel! Thanks for the reminder.

  4. In the past, when I've been unable to decide between two items, I've often bought both.

    My new habit will be, if I can't decide, I'll buy none.


  5. LOL! Lands End are selling long sleeve t's that are sooo comfortable to wear with scarves. This is the perfect T for southern winters. I have black, charcoal and purple and was so tempted to check online to see if they were on sale. I am so glad I read your post because I was about to start adding more colors and an extra black:-)

    Thanks Vivienne for the tip on the TR shoes!


  6. So true!

    I'm one of those who loathes shopping in stores anyway (if I have to replace a time-served item, it's usually online) and know I always gravitate towards the colours I know suit me as the first foray into the racks. Pretty typical for someone who has been told their 'palette' and, surely, a cut above taking one in each colour you think suits you?

    However, your picture was expertly selected: the cut of those T shirts suits no-one but young (read: toned) men.

    Cut is so much harder to hazard a guess at: I suppose you just have to try it on ( another reason why I hate shopping!).

    By the way, I loved your December wardrobe selection - would you be able to/so kind as to put the provenance of your garments as you do for other wardrobe selections?

    I lack a well-cut pair of black jeans (thanks, Rebekah, for the reminder of colour plus fit plus need) and a casual fitted black jacket and would love a prompt to find something along the lines of the pictures you include for these two: I find shopping for staples so offputting (but not for accessories, hmmm) that I give up within half an hour of fruitlessly scouting via Google - try a search for 'black+bootleg+jeans' and you certainly don't find what you had in your mind's eye!

  7. This is a huge reason why I am cleaning out, overhauling my wardrobe. Cut is extremely important and I have one too many ill fitting tees. I see nothing wrong with owning several black tees you use for layering (as these can be a uniform of sort), but they should be quality and a few does not equal a dozen!

    I'm learning to pair down the wardrobe as I realize that I really only love a percentage of it. And life is too short to wear clothing that you don't love and look phenomenal in.

  8. I find it interesting how FEW clothes we actually need, but how many clothes we actually own. The zeal to acquire is in our genes, but it can be overcome with some thought. Love your thoughts and these posts.

  9. Very timely and very true - Benetton seems to have started this in the 80s, when their garments were so beautifully and colourfully presented... How I yearned for them, yet the sizes and cuts really didn't suit me and when you finally had one or two items, you only had the one colour and it wasn't the same at all - duh! I still find it hard to resist clothing, yarn or other items arranged in rainbow hues, it looks so gorgeous but at least I am now old enough to know that just one of them won't look nearly as good on its own!! As for cut, sometimes I wish we could "photoshop adjust" our eyes to just see black/white outlines instead of being distracted by colour and pattern and texture and buying a stack of stuff that is neither needed nor the best possible shape for ME! Still, with age comes wisdom, eh ;)

  10. Yep, just got an email from Nordstrom about the colorful assortment of cardigans they have!