Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Shopping - Caveman Style

Most people know me as a fashion expert. And for some reason, they always seem to want to tell me what they don’t like about shopping. I hear a lot of the same laments again and again:

“There’s so much stuff in the stores. I get overwhelmed.”
“I go right to the clearance rack so I can buy more!”
“I have a lot of clothes with the tags still on them.”
“I’ve wasted so much money on clothes over the years.”
“I bought a (top, dress,
skirt, pair of pants, etc…), but it never looked right on me. But I never got rid of it.”

Do you see yourself above? I bet you do. Once upon a time, that was me too.

That is, until I learned to shop like a caveman.

I know what you’re thinking….last year, Kristen was a rum-swigging fashion pirate (arrrgh matey!) and a CSI solving style crimes, and she has those imaginary (but very pesky) monkeys living in her closet. Now she’s a shopping caveman. Am I crazy? Well, maybe. But hear me out!!

I’m working with a nutrition doctor, who told me that I should only be eating what I would find if I lived in the Metroparks - or if I was a caveman. It goes along with the sage advice I read a couple of years ago in a book called The Origin Diet. The message is that our bodies have not evolved to be able to eat what we find in the grocery store these days. We’re still programmed exactly like our ancestors who lived millions of years ago were – to eat fish and wild game, plants and fruit. Not sugar, processed foods, hormone-infused cattle, pigs and chickens, or even grains. There were times of feast and times of famine. And the only sugar found in the caveman diet was when they would find honey on occasion – and they had to fight the bees to get to it!

It doesn’t help our cause that we don’t have to canvass miles and miles of forest to forage for food – too many of us are couch potatoes, and it explains why so many people in our modern world are so overweight.

We have access to too much food – and it’s too easy to get to – we just drive to the supermarket. You can find food in thousands of varieties, and it comes to us from all over the world.

Now just replace the word “food” above with the word “clothes” and the word “supermarket” with the word “mall,” and you have the reason why most of us have far more clothes than we will ever need – and why most of us make a lot of poor choices in what we buy.

Junk food looks yummy in the package, doesn’t it? But if we eat enough of it….it definitely doesn’t look good on us. Likewise, “junk clothes” are just that - clothes that may look great on the hanger – but not so great on us. Or they’re clothes we like and plan to make an outfit with “someday,” but we don’t. Or we buy them because they’re on sale or just plain cheap. 

Whatever way they get into our closet, they’re just adding extra weight – and no substance.
Other times we buy clothes just because we’re momentarily “starving” – we may be thrown into a panic because we have to go somewhere special and we need an outfit. We normally end up settling, don’t we? It’s rarely an outfit we love and want to wear again and again.

Cavemen didn’t have options like going to the cupboard for a bag of Cheetos. And if they were starving, they looked for the most nutrition-packed food they could get their hands, spears or clubs on – whether they found a patch of berries or a mastodon.

It can be so easy to gorge ourselves – filling our closets and sometimes spending way too much – because there are thousands of items to buy at any given department store or discount store smorgasbord.

But realistically, how many clothes do we really need? Let’s learn from the cavemen!

1. Go hunting for Mammoths!
A caveman would innately conserve his resources – mainly time and energy - looking for the “big kill.” He would pass up a rodent for a mammoth because it provided greater sustenance for a longer period of time. Likewise, if you can learn to identify a “mammoth” (an item of clothing that is classic, high quality, and looks great on you), you will be happy to wear it again and again. Twenty rodents (or twenty pieces of “junk clothing”) will never equal one mammoth.

If you learn how to only “slay mammoths,” you will conserve your precious resources too – your valuable time, energy and money!
Go ahead. Slay a mammoth!
These are two of my mammoths – and no I am NOT talking about LisaMarie (left) or Wendy! If you know me for long enough, you will see me wear my teal BCBG sweater set with the ruffled collar and my

white casual jacket with yellow, red and orange flowers. Year after year, they are my trusted go-to pieces. They look great and make me feel amazing.

2. Stay away from the Bees!
Research tells us that most people living in western societies are truly addicted to sugar. We use it as a form of self-medication to temporarily boost our mood and make us feel better. Isn’t this how a lot of us would explain our need for “retail therapy?” Hey, we feel great briefly – until the momentary high is gone - or until we get our credit card bill. Or in the long-term, when we clean out our closet and realize just how much we spent on stuff we don’t even like. If we can learn to control the desire to buy clothes mindlessly (i.e., not putting sugary “junk food” into our wardrobe), we will only raid the hive on those rare occasions when we know exactly what we need - and when we have a plan to outsmart the bees :) 

3. Remember, Cavemen are the Best Shoppers
To shop for clothes wisely means that you look first for Colors that look great on you. If the color works, next check to see if the item of clothing looks good on your Body. Wear clothes that flatter you – the size doesn’t matter! And if your item passes the first two checkpoints, the Style should fit your fashion personality. And if it does, then you’ll know you have a mammoth cornered in the cave, er, I mean in the dressing room!

So go ahead, my fellow cavemen, indulge your primal instincts. Grab your spear and hunt for the right pieces for your wardrobe. Go to several stores if you need to. Get out of your comfort zone, but don’t outspend your budget. And definitely don’t settle for rodents!

P.S. Leave your fur pelt at home – or hope you don’t run into a member of PETA!

1 comment:

Mel said...

Wow. I wish I would have read this two weeks ago when I splurged and bought three dresses on UrbanOutfitters.com. Only one of them fits right. The other two I LOVE, but do not look right.

I need to stay away from internet shopping.