What kind of shopper are you?

by Sylvia

What kind of shopper are you? | 40plusstyle.com

I personally like to spend money on clothing but I hardly ever splurge.

I tend to stick to affordable brands and prefer to buy more expensive items in the sales.  If I truly indulge in an expensive piece, I need a special occasion to justify it.

But I generally do tend to buy items I really like to have. Luckily for me I simple don’t have the need for expensive diamond rings or clothes and bags from designer labels like Prada. Or perhaps I would like to have some clothes from Prada, but I simple feel that the price of those clothes is too excessive for what they are.

However, what I consider not splurging, another person that mainly shops at thrift shops or only buys items a few times a year, may consider my spending quite excessive indeed. So it’s all quite subjective.

If I say I don’t splurge I compare myself to some friends or people I know that spend way more than I do on clothes. But I’m sure there are plenty of people (like my own husband) who spend considerably less on clothing and accessories.

I think each of us seems to have their own individual threshold. It has to do with our income level of course, but also with our own personal belief of how much we should spend on clothing.

Is it worth it to spend (a lot of) money on clothes? Will it make me feel happier? Or am I really just indulging and buying to satisfy another need?

One way that I try to control my spending is to closely examine everything in my closet before I decide on a new piece. Do I have similar items already? Do I really need this? How would this item enhance my wardrobe?

I also wear my nicest clothes whenever I go shopping and am only allowed to buy things that are nicer than what I have on.

As with everything in life, it comes down to finding the right balance.

As you know, I do think it’s very important that you spend on yourself and create a wardrobe with lots of wonderful things to wear. I believe that feeling good about yourself and the way you look will ultimately make you feel better as well.

But I also don’t believe in just spending for the sake of it. I think spending on clothing and fashion should be done with consideration and planning.

Sure there is a place and time for the spontaneous impulse buy. It should not become a habit, however.

As for myself, I probably buy more than I really need. I partly justify this as I am in the business of fashion with this blog and I spend comfortably within my means. I also know that clothes and the way I look are important to me. That’s just part of who I am. Always has been, always will be. I like to have something new and hip on a regular basis. That said, I do have to control myself as well. Just because I really like a certain unique design of a necklace does not mean I always have to have it. Sometimes, you can just admire it.

How do you feel about this topic?

  • What kind of spending type are you?
  • Do you save your pennies or are you happy to spend big?
  • Do you feel that it’s indulgent to spend too much on clothing?
  • Do you always buy the things that you really like?

I would love to read how you approach this topic. What kind of a shopper are you?


{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 chicatanyage

I try to plan each season and decide what I need to update my wardrobe. That said I do occasionally have a splurge and I also try to stock up on basics in the sales. I admit to having a few too many white shirts and black trousers in various styles.


2 Sylvia

When those are you go-to pieces I don’t think it’s so bad to have some variety!


3 Greetje Kamminga

Right…..” quite excessive “…. and … “will it make me feel happier? Or am I really just indulging and buying to satisfy another need?” You hit a nerve with me with these words.
I think we can safely say that I am overdoing things. I wonder when I will find my self control again….. Help!


4 Suzanne

Well you seemed to control yourself handsomely when I was there! I was waiting on some big spending spree that didn’t happen : )


5 Alice - Happiness at Mid Life

Greetje – I am in the same boat!! I have no idea how to control myself. I know I don’t anymore new clothes.



6 Sylvia

Well… that’s a tough one. I think learning on how to mix and match is a good start but you are already getting much better at that. You may like to reread some of Debbie’s tips https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-shop-less-and-get-a-better-wardrobe-a-style-interview-with-debbie/ She has now even published an ebook which is available at Amazon. Setting a monthly budget could help too (and stick to it like a diet!). Perhaps you should give lover budget shops like Zara a chance? That way you can buy the same amount for less money. Creating a good mix of high-end and lower end items often works really well.


7 Greetje

I know the theory, but there is a little voice in my head that says things like: who cares? What the h. “. That doesn’t help. And Suzanne: I have made up for that week of not spending, believe me. Why I did not buy anything while you were here? Because we did not really see that many shops.


8 Lisa

I have actually had to MAKE myself shop more. I hate it so much that I have waited until everything is falling apart or incredibly dated and then need to replace EVERYTHING. Which means laying out a lot of money all at once. Now I go a couple times a year and first replace staples that need replacing, and then things that are more unique or trendy. And I definitely shop sales. I like things that are discounted off the lowest ticketed price and have a $10 off coupon to boot. I suppose that means I miss out on some great clothes, but money is tight, so it works for me. My 15 year old has also become a bargain shopper so we have fun competing with who can get what for less. Of course if it doesn’t fit or flatter, no amount of money is a bargain.

I have to say I enjoy shopping more now than at any time in my history, but not that much more. I have a really hard time splurging on any one item and my wardrobe is definitely “remixable.”

Except scarves. I have way too many scarves. 😉


9 Sylvia

Great to read about the other extreme Lisa and good that you have found a better balance now.


10 Suzanne

I like to buy dramatic clothes. Pieces that are really unique. That means if I spot something unique that I really like I have to talk myself out of getting it. Often times I’m not successful. Especially if it is a vintage fit and flare dress like the one I found with you while shopping. Turns out it is made by a German designer from the 1950’s. What a steal I got on that piece since it was only 25 Euros.

I am quite stingy when it comes to buying expensive items though. Anything over $250 requires extra days to reflect on if I truly need it or not. It wasn’t always that way, but since my closet is very crowded now, I’m much more picky about what new pieces I will allow to take up valuable real estate inside those doors.

If I come across an item I’ve been searching for for a long time I’m more apt to buy it even if it is a bit over my price range if it is exactly what I wanted.



11 Sylvia

Yes, that’s why it’s so important to know exactly what we want! The point you make about a crowded closet is a good one. My rule is that if I buy something new, something else needs to get out of the closet. If I don’t want to lose something, I can’t buy something.


12 Aileen

What a great article Sylvia. I find myself buying clothes if I am going through an emotionally stressful time; it somehow helps soothe my soul! I don’t understand why it helps, but it does and I think it is fairly common. I don’t spend a huge amount on any one item, but lots of separates quickly blow a lot of money and I have to be wary of that.
I’ve been spending a lot over the past few weeks, so what does that say!
I had a good laugh when I read Greetje’s comments. What a girl, but don’t we love her to bits 🙂 She is a real sweetheart.


13 Sylvia

Yes I think we all recognise that feeling. I think it’s good to know this about yourself though so you can better prepare yourself. Well, it’s also the start of a new season with shops full of new clothes; that’s always very tempting….


14 Aileen

I agree with you Sylvia, a new season full of new clothes is very tempting and it is also so easy to buy almost exactly what we already own without realising it. Yesterday I heard a lady in a shop saying she’d recently bought the perfect scarf only to discover later that she already had it hanging in her wardrobe at home!
We need to dig out last winter’s clothes and check what we have before embarking on an expensive and possibly wasteful trip to the shops. But I’m also finding I don’t need to go to the shops to spend money. It’s far too easy to get carried away and click the button on line!
Managing our wardrobe is always going to be a challenge, but hopefully we can curb the urge to overspend and enjoy the fun of a few new items each season as well.


15 Greetje Kamminga

Thank you Aileen for your sweet words. The only thing that worries me, is that I have been dipping into my savings the past two years. Never did that before. My husband rescued me once already, but I do need to find the stop button.


16 Aileen

I don’t know where the stop button is Greetje, but if I find it I’ll let you know 🙂
It’s especially hard if you enjoy wearing good quality clothes, rather than be content with the cheaper end of the market. I’ve found that good quality lasts forever and sometimes it’s very hard to give these items away when you tire of them. And of course if you buy something very cheap and love the style it’s sad when it doesn’t last very long at all. Ah, I wonder what the answer is! Maybe stick to the middle price range.


17 Nicole

In the past, a special event – wedding, dinner party, formal reception – required a new special outfit. I ended up with a closet full of only-worn-once special outfits. Now I’m more inclined to buy a new jacket or pair of shoes that will jazz up an outfit I already have. I’m pretty good most of the time, unless I find a pencil skirt that fits – not too tight around the middle, just above the knees. Then I have to have it, no matter what!


18 Sylvia

Yes, only buying one item that will jazz up an outfit you already have is a great idea. It will still feel hip & new without all the expense!


19 Stephanie

This an excellent idea and one that I have pretty much used my entire life since buying pants and dresses for me has always been difficult because of my pear shape.

So once I find a brand of pants or style of dress I like I tend to buy them in pretty much every color / fabrication I like and keep things fresh with tops or jackets.


20 Ann

I tend to shop really for what I like but usually not far from home. I don’t spend a lot of time driving around looking. I also let thing “sit” for at least a week before I wear them to make sure I really like the item. Plus I work within a monthly budget and stick to it. Even with all this said I still have too much clothing. I sell things regularly at the consignment shop. My problem is that like most things in my my closet and hang on to things too long. I wish I had more room to store old favorites.

blue hue wonderland


21 Petra

I don’t really like shopping for clothes 🙁 because of the weight I’ve put on, plus I rarely see anything I really like anyway. Apart from bags 😉 My wardrobe is much sparser than it ever has been but I wear everything in it – they are mainly plain mix-&-match outfits but now I’m living in Melbourne I am finding I need more in my wardrobe for the in-between seasons. This will be a challenge as I’ve forgotten what it’s like to live in a place that has “seasons”! Wish me luck 😉


22 Sylvia

Good luck Petra! Do some planning and then have FUN with it!


23 Anja van der Vorst

There are a zillion things out there that I love and would like to wear. Fortunately, loving something on the hanger is not enough.

It has to fit (duh!), but also it has to look good on me and to make me look good or even better. AND it has to have ME written all over it. Last but not least it has to be quite cheap.

That narrows it down a lot and from 50 items in a shop that I might like, it leaves 1 or 2 potential buys. Or none at all.

So IF I come across something that has/is all of the above, then it’s hard for me not to buy it. I often feel like I should grab that chance, since it does not come along a lot.

I am glad that I am not picky about fabric and all, because then (combined with that low budget) that would narrow it down to around zero, I’m afraid.

Also: I do take into account that I do not need 3 white dresses or 7 pairs of jeans;-).

There is a stop-button, but I still buy stuff regularly. Weak, I know…..


24 Karen

The kind of shopper I am has changed over the years with my waistline 😉

When I was younger labels mattered to me a lot more and I did a lot of shopping at Century 21 (New Yorkers and Sex and The City fans will know it) and was able to get a lot of unique styles from a lot of European brands that weren’t overly popular in the US.

As I got older and heavier I got caught in the “I’m not going to buy myself anything nice until I lose weight” trap and bought a lot of cheap garbage from stores like Old Navy. Then one day it dawned on me that I probably wasn’t ever getting back to a Size 10 and even if I did I wasn’t that NOW and I wanted nicer quality things.

I don’t have a set shopping time now . . . every few weeks I check out what is new from the brands or sites I like and if something really jumps out at me I buy it. Being larger there aren’t many brands that I could fit into that charge out of sight pricing so there is less temptation for me because there are so few who do higher end, quality pieces in plus sizes. Lafayette 148 is really the only brand that fits me and I LOVE that is too spendy for me although I try to support them when I can because they put a lot of effort into their plus size line. It isn’t an afterthought as it is with many brands.


25 Sylvia

Lovely to read your story Karen and great to see that you found your style grove again.


26 Patricia

I used to be a bargain shopper; if something fit, looked great on me and was a great bargain, I bought it. Whether I needed it or not. Not surprisingly I wound up with an overstuffed closet. I had to downsize (for an upcoming move). In the past three months, I’ve gotten rid of 70% of my closet, sending stuff to consignment, Thredup, and vintage stores, giving a lot away to family and friends and have even more in the basement bagged up to give away.
I now have a capsule wardrobe I change out as seasons change, a dressy capsule for special occasions and a section of my closet I can “shop” from if I get bored with my capsule. I could almost pull an outfit in the dark (because my capsule nearly all coordinates well). I’ve never ever been this organized before and I’m loving it. I keep bringing friends in for tours of the closet showing off one completely empty clothes rail… and empty drawers in my dresser.
Since I’ve gotten rid of so much stuff, I’m very reluctant to buy anything because I remember all too well all the fashion mistakes (for me) I had stuffed in my closet for so long. I only shop if I really have identified a need and I spend a long time looking for just the right item. If it isn’t perfect, it goes right back to the store.


27 Sylvia

Congratulations Patricia. Sounds like you nailed the concept of the capsule wardrobe!


28 Greetje

Oh Patricia, I need a bit of this!!


29 Patricia

Greetje, it wasn’t easy getting to this point. I don’t even want to tell you how many pair of black pants I had (um, maybe 20?). I could claim they were all different and I needed all of them. No they weren’t (in some cases, clones or near to it) and no, I didn’t need them.
It took months of reading blogs and articles about capsule wardrobes before I worked up the courage to try it out last spring/summer. It didn’t kill me. Life was a little bit easier and I was certainly dressing better. More thoughtfully. As in I’d actually planned looks ahead of time.
It helped me to see I didn’t really NEED all the clothes in my closet(s). First, I got rid of all the stuff that didn’t fit and would never fit again, even if I magically lost all the weight because my style and self image had shifted.
Then I got to the point where I had a permanent pile for consignment of all the stuff that was really nice but not me. Things I liked enough to buy, but somehow never enough to wear. I took a ton of stuff to consignment and to vintage and gave to family and friends.
It wasn’t easy getting to here. But now that I am, I don’t want to go back. Good luck on your journey.


30 Greetje

Thank you Patricia for yout further explanation. And for wishing me luck. I will need that .


31 Sherry Edwards

Sorry, that’s an open ended question for a shopaholic!! I am also a firm believer in achieving clutter. The more the better. I have tried curtailing my spending habits, not with a lot of success I may add, however, still a work in progress. I can never have too many shoes, scarves, necklaces and earrings. Oh my!!!!


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