Shopping Logic

It’s a tale as old as time. We purchase emotionally. We’re driven by desire when it comes to dropping some dollars on an exceptional item that we just have to add to our wardrobe!

But is there a logic to our driven humanity?

Emotions influence and shape our reactions to certain things; this is inarguable. Over time, with each experience you go through, you build up a tower of emotions that take bits and pieces with each new thing you’re exposed to. Adding a brick of preference here and there. For example, lace detailing could make you feel romantic, and you’re likely to purchase items like this for a date night. A trio of stripes can instil a competitive, sporty feeling in your bones, and you purchase it for your next gym rat day.

Motifs, mnemonics and themes are not foreign concepts in the fashion realm — that’s typically why seasons are influenced by overarching similarities. The overlords of Vogue know us.

Emotions create preferences which direct our ka-ching purchasing choice.

It’s the rational of the preference, that we’re going to contribute to the logic throughout this post.

Antonio Damasio, professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, wrote Descartes Error, which studies person’s connections between the “thinking” and “emotional” areas of the brain and focused on participants who had a damage between the two. These people were capable of rationally processing information about alternative choices; but were unable to reach any conclusions because they were void of predetermined feelings toward the options.

When we’re storming Nordstrom’s, Artizia, Hills of Kerrisdale, or any other fashion retailer — we’ve already predetermined our preference. Our recognition of brands shapes our drive, and pushes us to have an element of preference when pulling at price tags and pursing our lips in contemplation.

To add logic to our already established preference (RE: Brand), let’s take a few steps back and defend our stance:

Eval criteria 1 — Social Media Obsessions:

Are we here because @fashionistablogger was wearing Item A in an unrealistic scenario, and we immediately began our eyeball affair?

This is where we might want to step in and ask ourselves questions that remove the obsessive emotion from our cognitive decision making:

  • Is this an item I’ll wear day-to-day?
  • Is this a purchase I’m comfortable seeing on my credit card statement? (Remember, a lot of bloggers receive the clothes they’re wearing for publicity!)
  • Is this something I’ll be confident wearing?
  • Is this something that goes with my style? Or is it a trend purchase, a one-off purchase?

Eval Criteria 2 — Brand love:

This is the perfect scenario for that predetermined preference that was mentioned earlier in this post. So often we pay more for the big brands — when in reality, the manufacturers that create that $xxxx.xx (Item A) are adjacent to the manufacturers that create that $xx.xx (Item B). You’re rarely paying for quality, but rather, for name. So, to prevent this pitfall, shop around some more. Remove the emotive attachment to brand names and look at it with the critical eyes of your accountant (or boyfriend).

Typically, the only difference between Item A and Item B are a small detail that you justify that everybody will notice and ogle and appreciate when in reality only you noticed that double cross stitch.

  • Can I get this item at a lower priced retailer? (Pro-tip — Commonly, Joe Fresh, Old Navy and H&M follow trendy basics, and you can get quality pieces for less than half the price of brand names!)
  • If I walk away for an hour, will I still be as enamoured with Item A as I am right this second? (Try this out).

Eval Criteria 3— Is this emotion in my head?

Seriously. I love lace. Honestly, seeing it in action with Valentino’s Fall 2016 release had me head over heels. But really would lace evoke romance every time I spotted myself in a mirror?

Maybe. I mean, I could imagine myself strutting about a hamlet as Marie Antoinette with a baguette sticking out of my equally pastel purse.

Reality though, I’m not sure that much romance would carry over the in the day-to-day. During the day, I’m a project manager. By night, I’m not a lace person.

As you run your fingers over the fabric of the latest object of your desire, listen to the whine of your wallet and put it in practical scenarios. Could you confidently lead that production meeting while you have flecks of skin exposed, and getting part of your frock stuck in your chair? I’d have to move to France to have lace work for me in real life.

To summarize, when making a purchase don’t let your emotions take over! Remember the questions associated with each evaluation criteria

  1. Social Media Obsessions — is this driven by someone you don’t know?
  2. Brand love — Are you buying this simply for the name?
  3. Is this emotion in my head — Be realistic, does this purchase fit your lifestyle?
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