In Praise of In-Person Shopping
I did a lot of online shopping after my kids were born, and I admit there were some major perks. No lines, open twenty-four-seven, and no listening to my toddler scream to get out of the stroller so they could try to escape out from under the dressing room door.
You have access to more inventory, more price-comparisons, and you can try things on in the privacy of your own home.
But I’ve recently fallen back in love with in-person shopping.
I’M MORE LIKELY TO BUY CLOTHES I LOVE WHEN I SHOP IN PERSON
Being able to touch fabrics and try things on in the store means I’m more likely to buy items I love, not just clothes I like or that aren’t worth the hassle of returning. That means I’m more satisfied when I open my closet door to get dressed for the day or for an event, which means I’m less likely to go shopping again soon. (This is good because I would rather spend free time elsewhere.)
I DON’T HAVE TO BREAK DOWN BOXES AND THROW AWAY BAGS
I bring a large tote bag to carry around my purchases, and when I get home all that I have to throw away are the tags. (And yes, the paper part is recyclable.) Beyond the environmental impact of having items shipped to my house in plastic packaging (that Wellesley no longer recycles), it’s also less hassle.
SPEAKING OF HASSLE — I MAKE FEWER RETURNS
Because I’ve tried things on! How magical. I’m not being facetious, processing returns was my least favorite part of online shopping. Going home with only things that fit well and look good is amazing.
IT’S EASIER TO BUY IN OUTFITS
If I’m looking for shirts that will go with a specific pair of dress pants, I’ll wear those pants to the store. If I wonder how something would look with jeans, I can grab a pair in the store to try on with the item I might purchase. Buying with outfits in mind helps me build a functional wardrobe which helps me buy less overall, saving money and reducing my environmental impact at the same time.
IT’S A GOOD LESSON FOR THE KIDS
I usually don’t bring my 6 and 7 year old, but I try to sometimes, because I think it helps build their patience. (Ok, maybe mine too.) And I’m bringing them more and more to select their own clothing. I want them to have agency in choosing their own clothes so they can have smaller wardrobes filled just with clothes they love, too.
BUYING QUALITY SECOND HAND IS EASIEST IN PERSON
I’m not great at buying second-hand yet, but the best way to do that is in person where you can see a garment, inspect it for signs of wear, and make sure it fits. Buying vintage is one of the most environmental things you can do, but even if you’re not quite there yet, buying just clothes you love and wearing them for a long time can have a great impact on your clothes’ footprint!