Sunday, April 27, 2008

Opportunity Costs and Your Closet

Yesterday's post was about making your decisions nonreversible. Today the topic of discussion is, as Barry Schwartz labels it, the "opportunity costs of opportunity costs".

So just what exactly is an opportunity cost? Simply put, it is the cost of choosing one item over another. Let's say that you have two hours of free time to spend. You decide to go to see a movie. That time is now cannot also be used to go grocery shopping. Not being able to shop for groceries is one opportunity cost of going to the movie. But choosing the movie has opportunity costs other than the groceries, as fact, it may never be possible to know for certain the sum total of opportunity costs for this decision or any decision.

Examining opportunity costs is often a valid thing to do. If you have money to invest, you want to know which investment is the wisest. If you are choosing a college, you want to make sure you choose one that will provide you with a good education but will also be a good match for you socially. Very large and very important decisions warrant a thorough thinking through.

But what about smaller decisions, like with your closet, for instance? You can choose to buy one shirt over another. You can choose to buy or not to buy. Here is where we run into the opportunity costs of opportunity costs. For smaller decisions like these, it pays to avoid using excess mental energy, as it only leads to stress and indecision.

Here are some ways to avoid the oportunity costs of opportunity costs:

1) Don't be tempted by every new fad and every new trend. Stick with what you know looks good and is flattering on you until it doesn't any longer.

2) I recommend that my clients find out which stores and brands they can consider their "fail-safes", and that they try to stick with these. It makes shopping so much easier!

3) Don't buy clothes unless you need them.

4) Don't worry about all that you might be missing out on. There will be plenty of opportunities left when it is your time to go shopping.

Next time I will talk about the idea of "good enough" and why it is often better than "best". (And yes, it all ties in with everything we've been talking about!) See you tomorrow...same blog time...same blog channel....

(My website has more information on wardrobe planning. I encourage you to stop by!)


Scott said...

Don't buy clothes unless you need them. Very good advice. I hate shopping for clothes so this one is easy for me to follow.

Scott A Bell

April Braswell said...

Hi Jenn,

I LOVE your blog SO much, naturally I just subscribed to your RSS feed so I don't miss out on any goodies!

And I have about 7 more items to go to Goodwill when I return from Philly. Hmmm, maybe I can get them over to them tomorrow evening before my date......

2 skirts. REALLY great quality (why I held onto them) which were given to me in conjunction with my weight loss surgery. with that I get a LOT of clothes which might work out while I am passing thru sizes. Sometimes I fly by a size so fast I have a winter blazer for it and I hit that size for about 3 wks in the summer. Have to let it go!

Oh! Which reminds me, another item to add to The Bag. Hmm, that's 8 items!

I'm feeling lighter already!

All the best, lady!

April Braswell - Online Personals, Online Dating, Romance Coach

Jennifer Skinner said...

First, congrats on dropping sizes! Way to go!
Figuring out what to wear in-between sizes is always a challenge. You want to look your very best at all times, but you don't want to buy a new wardrobe every month. Focusing on less structured items can be handy (usually sized s-m-l rather than numbers)is one way to go, as these can encompass a small range of sizes. Reward yourself with a few key structured pieces that really show off your new figure...realizing that you will let these go once you've reached your next size.
Again, April - congrats on the WLS and all that's come off since. :-)


S Chambers said...

The opening story of "Paradox of Choice", where he shops for blue jeans describes Opportunity costs best for me. Who wants to spend time trying to find what you want when you can do something else more interesting. The older I get, the less a slave to fashion and fad I become. Now I buy more online.

Same with buying the dummy. I look at how the dummy is dressed in the store. If it's good I just buy the dummy.

Matthew Shields said...

Great advice Jenn
I like how you broke that down While I am a typical guy and I usually won't take the oppertunaty to go shopping for clothes This mindset can be used other places in life
contractor marketing

Susan said...

I have finally found a few stores where the styles suit and fit me and it is a pleasure to shop there (when I shop). The shopping bug is near death at this house. I've made a couple of 'deals' with myself to fend of the bug. (1)No shopping until I clean out what I have ... that could be years in baby steps of 15 minute intervals! I'll keep you posted ... I'm in almost 2 hours from last week and there's no noticeable progress (to others. I know I'm getting somewhere). To the closet ... tadah!!
Sue Crutcher

lisa said...

I can't only buy clothes when I need them, because that's when I can't find anything I like. I'm waiting for you to tackle the issue of finding everything you need or want in your size when you don't have any money. Then, when you have some money to spend on clothes, you can't find a thing you like or at lest not in your size. I hear this all the time and I experience it constantly myself.

Aaron said...

You have a very interesting approach Jennifer, I think that it's spectacular that you are focusing on maximizing your clients value for their dollar and not just the number of outfits that they have.


drpeter said...

Great tips.


Paul said...

Great advice again Jenn,
Life is full of choices and making the right clothes selections is one of the most difficult.

Yann Vernier said...

Don't worry about all that you might be missing out on. This is just so true for so many decisions we need to make every day.
I must start thinking this way when I buy clothes too!
Excellent advice Jenn. Thank you.

Yann Vernier, Personal Coach

April Braswell said...

Put all the clothes to be let go of in a bag.

Left it by the door.

Put it in my car this morning.

Dropped it off at Goodwill on my way home tonight.

8 really GOOD quality clothes that simply did NOT qualify for "These make me look MY most fabulous!"

So, I let go of them.

Thanks for the encouragement, Jennifer.

Your bloggin along just beautifully!

All the best,

April Braswell - Online Dating Coach, Romance Coach

Romance Coach, Online Dating Coach said...

DOn't buy clothes unless you need them.

Wardrobe wise words if I ever heard and read them.

As part of my work with one-on-one coaching which I provide to my Online Dating Coach clients as a dating expert is we go over their wardrobe. In some cases, we even update their image and go shopping together.

Naturally, I leverage your less is more Choose Quality principles.

Because indeed in romantic relationships, Choose Quality is best as well!

All the best,

April Braswell

Online Dating Coach, Dating Expert, Relationship Coach, Romance Coaching

Online Dating Sites Review, Internet Dating Sites Guide