Most of us shop for individual items. Even when we buy several items in one shopping session, they often don’t work together. While we (hopefully) do have outfits in mind, the pieces we will pair them with are in our closet at home. Sometimes we have a future plan for our new purchases, like when we introduce a new colour or silhouette and their support acts are a work in progress. This approach to creating outfits takes more discipline and time, but it can be effective. The search for the next fabulous piece is in itself a fun process, especially when you have a knack for putting together cohesive outfits. 

Shopping for complete outfits in a single session is less common. I have clients who prefer to work this way because they want to work efficiently, and they want to be certain that their purchases don’t become wardrobe orphans. To quote one of my clients, “outfits are outstanding, pieces are problematic”. With some of my clients we take this a step further and shop for an entire mix-and-match capsule in one session, making sure that all items we purchase can be combined in multiple ways to create several cohesive outfits.

Sometimes we shop for outfits or capsules that will work with my client’s existing footwear and accessories. In this case we bring along a few pairs of shoes and bags we have in mind as starting points, or we bring photos of my client’s current footwear and accessories. Sometimes we will shop separately for the footwear that will complete an outfit or capsule.

My clients who prefer to shop for complete outfits tend to shop less frequently, and their shopping trips are longer. More stamina and patience are required, and more money is spent in one go. When they do occasionally buy an individual item, they do so because they know exactly where it will fit into their existing outfits and capsules.

Shopping this way does restrict your options. First, you are limited to what you can find on shopping day, be it on sale or at full price. This means the best time to shop for complete outfits is near the beginning of mid-season offerings when assortments and sizes are abundant. Second, it’s hard to shop this way online because you need to be trying on the items together as you go.

These marathon shopping sessions are not for everyone. But they work well for my professional clients who want to work very efficiently and dedicate a small amount of time to shopping each season. Especially if my client does not want to spend too much time at home experimenting with outfit combinations.

Over to you. Do you purchase a few pieces at a time thereby completing the outfits at home, or do you purchase complete outfits in one shopping session?