How to Face the Dreaded Dressing Room.
The Secret is…A Checklist.
I’m alone. It’s just me and the mirror. I’m staring blankly at the blouse I’ve chosen to try on. Should I buy this? Do I like how it fits? Is it worth the money? Will it work with my wardrobe? And just when I think the choice can’t get any more complex, the salesperson knocks on the door.
“Hey, just checking on you!” she says. “How’s it working out for you?”
“I don’t know,” I say tentatively as I open the door - “What do you think?”
(Big mistake. I’ve just invited another person into my already confused decision making process, and what’s worse, she’s a biased person. Her whole goal is to get me to buy, buy, buy!)
She says her well rehearsed go-to line - “You look great in that! It’s a perfect date night top! And you know what, that would look soooo great with this skirt we just got in, let me bring one to you, just to try…”
It’s not her fault, of course. She’s just doing her job. But over and over again, I found myself leaving the fitting room a little, well, unsure. If I bought the item, I often found myself regretting it as soon as I took the tags off. If I didn’t buy the item, I often found myself wishing I had!
One day, when my frustration had reached its peak, I asked myself - what if I could create a tool to help me with my indecision? What if I could pre-determine the criteria for whether I was going to buy something or not? What if I could make a checklist?
So that’s what I did, and literally overnight, it transformed my shopping. No more regrets. No more uncertainty. No more hemming and hawing. No more asking a salesperson to validate me. Now when it comes time to make a purchase decision - I have a tool that gives me the perspective and the confidence to make my own decisions, to make better decisions. And I have a feeling, it could help you too…
Why you need a Try On Checklist…
To force you to slow down when shopping: It’s so easy for the excitement to run away with us. I love it, it looks good, it’s on sale, I’m getting it! But keep in mind, excitement, while fun, is not the most conducive emotion to making great decisions. The focus should not be on acquiring new things, but acquiring the right things.
To help us see an item’s potential: I have a tendency to avoid buying basics, they just aren’t exciting to me. But if I try on a basic item and use my checklist, suddenly the potential of that item becomes clear in my mind. Suddenly I realize that this “boring basic” can work well for me and my overall wardrobe. And in my mind it becomes a “beautiful basic.”
To eliminate regret: I have NEVER regretted a purchase I made when using my checklist. The checklist helps take my emotion out of the equation when making the decision. This does not mean I think emotion is bad. In fact, I end up feeling better and more excited about my clothes in the long run, when I’m actually wearing them, which is so much more valuable than a momentary high I might get while doing some “retail therapy.”
How to shop with a Try On Checklist...
First Glance: Ok, you’re in the store...you are looking for a sweater, and you see one that catches your eye. Before you try it on, ask yourself, does the item satisfy my “first glance” requirements? For me, these are always 1) Do I love it? 2) Is it high-quality 3) Does this fit my color palette?
Head to The Fitting Room: You’ve deemed this sweater worthy to try on. Remember, a try on is not a commitment - you are just flirting with buying at this point. Here’s where the checklist reveals its real power - you pull out your checklist and ask yourself the questions. For me, here are my sweater criteria: 1) Is it comfortable? (That means absolutely no itchiness, and can I move my arms well?) 2) Is it the correct level of warmth? 3) Do I like how the neckline looks? How the sleeves look and fit? How the shoulders fit? And where the hemline hits on my body? And finally 4) I check the care instructions and ask am I ok with the care required? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, it’s time to buy!
Take it Home, But Don’t Take The Tags Off Yet: But I already bought it, why can’t I take the tags off?! Well, if you’re anything like me, the fitting room can only tell you so much, because when you were in the fitting room, you didn’t have all your pants and shoes and jackets with you, so you really aren’t 100% sure that this fits into your wardrobe.
In the At Home Try-On, I ask myself the toughest questions, the questions that take some real time and effort to answer. Questions like 1) Does this sweater fit under my blazers/coats? 2) Do my shirts fit well under it? (I’ve always loved a collar pop coming out from a sweater) 3) Does it go with 80% of my existing wardrobe? And finally 4) Do I STILL love it?
If the answer to all of these questions is yes, NOW I take the tags off! And I enjoy the moment! Taking the tags off is like a little party to celebrate the fact I’ve found an item that’s worthy of my wardrobe.
Imagine a Wardrobe where Every Item is Worthy.
Yes, I realize I sound like the pickiest shopper ever. You may think this all sounds like overkill. But I believe we can all use a little more pickiness when it comes to spending our hard-earned money. Why not raise the bar and only purchase items that truly fit our needs, so that we can love them AND wear them for years to come?
When I bought my latest sweater just a few weeks ago, I used my sweater checklist. It was at this awesome boutique I love in Austin, and I must have been taking my sweet time, cuz the saleswoman came by multiple times to check on me to see if I needed anything.
“I’m fine,” I said, “I’m just trying the sweater on with my blazer to make sure it fits well underneath.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that.” she said, “The sweater looks great, so you should get it!”
“Thank you.” I said, “But it’s not enough for it to look good. I have a checklist of criteria I’m going through before I decide to buy.”
“A checklist?!” she said, her eyes widening. I feared she was annoyed with me, but then suddenly she exclaimed, “That’s amazing! I need a checklist for when I’m shopping!”
I smiled. Suddenly she was no longer a salesperson trying to get me to buy something, but she was a woman trying to navigate a jillion decisions just like the rest of us.
Try the Try-On Checklists Now!
Below are a few checklists I made for you to use. Try them out! You can save them as an image in your phone, so you will have something to reference. Let me know how it goes!
Caveat: a checklist is highly personal, so you may want to lose some of these criteria or replace them with criteria that make more sense for you, your climate, and your lifestyle. No two people’s checklists will ever be exactly the same, but by starting with the broad items I have here you can begin to define your criteria. The point is to define your criteria BEFORE you go shopping. Remove the burden of the uncertainty, and let your checklist do the deciding for you!
Have any requests for the checklist I should make next? Message me on Instagram @day.ready or jot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org !