Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Paradox of Choice

You've heard it said that less is more. But have you heard about how more is less? That is the topic of Barry Schwartz's excellent book The Paradox of Choice. In it he discusses how, even though the luxury of many choices is an indicator of progress and affluence, we have found that we are in a double bind: for that wonderful freedom to choose amongst many options leads to doubt, indecision, stress, and regret. And so it is in our closets, ladies and gentlemen! Over the next several days I will show how we can work to solve the paradox of choice in the area of wardrobe management.

Today I'll start with:
#1 Choose When to Choose
One thing we can all do to keep ourselves from being overwhelmed is to make a decsion about exactly WHEN we will go shopping for clothes. So many of us shop as a pastime and so it is no wonder that we are continually tempted with the prospect of buying something new and wonderful. I counsel my clients to seasonally go through their closets, remove what no longer is suitable, record what they will need to replace, and THEN go looking for the items that they need. If you are a pre-season shopper, then that is when you go shopping for the season. If you like to take advantage of all the post-season bargains, then wait until the end of the season to shop.

If you feel that this takes all the fun out of shopping, then allow yourself to window shop...go with some friends, see what is out there. But don't buy. Discipline yourself. Wait until your chosen time.

"Aaargh!", you may be saying to yourself. "How can I pass up such great deals when I see them? What if I see something that I really, really want?" Tomorrow I will share with you the idea of adaptation, and how anticipation of this psychological process can help mitigate some of these fears. So, fear not--I'll be back tomorrow! See you then...same blog time...same blog channel...

(Oh, by the way...if I haven't told you are welcome to vist my website on wardrobe planning for more articles and information!)


davidmcmillen said...

Interesting ideas on wardrobe minimalism. I had no idea this was what you were up to these days. How does the practice of such minimalism and "freedom from choice" really support self expression though? Seems to be a paradox to me. I am interested in understanding this further ....

Jennifer Skinner said...

Hi David!
Welcome to my blog. Yes, I'm up to this, as well as teaching and performing (and collaborating on a musical!). Busy girl,am I! :-)
I look at the issue like this: how many clothes do you actually need to dress well, and in a style that supports self expression. I'd say the answer is far fewer than most people think, but more than you might fear when you hear "minimalism".

April Braswell said...

Hi Jennifer,

As usual, you are spot on. Indeed, when we have SO many friggin choices, we go into cognitive dissonance.

This is why with my clients in Online Personals, Online Dating, Romance Coach I recommend they focus MOST of their efforts in a given metro area rather than thinking MY SOUL MATE could be living in Africa while poor me, I'm here in N County!

Keep up the excellent work!

April Braswell

Scott said...

What fun in shopping? I am a buyer not a shopper.

Scott A Bell

The Road Warrior

lisa said...

I don't even know where to begin with this stuff. I think I should just throw it all away, read your posts, and start from scratch!

Jennifer Skinner said...

A good and necessary distinction. If you already see yourself as a buyer and not a shopper, you are ahead of the game! Pat yourself on the back, my friend!

Susan said...

Great idea Jennifer. I know people who are definitely in the 'arrgggh' category on this one. It's not whether they need the item, want the item, or particularly like the item -- it's 'how much they SAVED on the item'. It's a very strange philosophy that I've not yet grasped.

Romance Coach, Online Dating Coach said...

Choice and choosing, whether it is in wardrobe, clothing and style or with dating, romantic sex relationships, and online dating, having choices we then feel FREE.

having LOADS of choices, we just shut down and retain the status quo.

As a Dating Expert and Online Dating Coach, THAT is precisely one of the things I help my single gals and single guys to MOVE out of and get more dates to be successful in creating great romantic relationships.

All the best,

April Braswell

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

Online Dating Sites Review, Internet Dating Sites Guide