Pretend To Shop

January 29, 2015

As I mentioned in my last post, the stores are moving the seasonal merchandise faster than the weather in my area.  So instead of shopping for real, I pretend to shop as practice for what I will purchase once the time is closer for me to actually sport the item.

If I tried doing this a few years ago, I would get into a lot of trouble because my “pretend” items would somehow magically make their way home to me.  But now I am farther along the road to recovery and can handle touching new items, without having to actually purchase them.

Here’s how I pretend to shop:

  1. To pretend shop I do not log into a store website with my account, I remain as a Guest.
  2. I ‘shop’ for items that I like.  For the first wave, I just add what catches me eye.
  3. I review my shopping cart with a critical eye, and try to make a capsule from my new purchases.  Outliers are removed (often I see a trend with the items).
  4. I review my shopping cart again, this time eliminating all repeat items (ie. two blazers, only keep one, 3 pairs of jeans, again keep 1)
  5. Once my cart has been streamlined to a small collection of new pieces, I ask myself what I already own that can fulfill the same function.
  6. I review my cart, one last time, this time asking myself what I would remove from my wardrobe to make room for the new purchase, often I end up purging a few more items from my cart.
  7. Most important, I log out and do not save the session.

My pretend shopping let’s me practice creating a capsule as well as reviewing potential purchases with a critical eye.  Usually by the time I’ve reviewed by potential items for step 4, I’m already tired of thinking about them critically and need a break from shopping.

Have you ever shopped without making a purchase?


  1. What a wonderful idea! I’m going to give it a try. I agree that such a practice could be risky during the earlier stages of recovery, but both you and I have come a long way and can start to trust ourselves more. I often do a variation of what you recommend here. I add things to my cart but don’t let myself buy them until at least the next day, or else I just leave the browser tab open and come back and look at the items in question later. I often find that I don’t really want to buy them later. I haven’t tried doing this type of thing for seasonal additions, but I think it could work well. Our summer weather doesn’t start until July here and I’d like to buy warm-weather clothing before that time so I don’t end up with slim pickings (not good when one is a bit harder to fit like I am). But if I do what you recommend and hone it over a couple of weeks, I will likely end up making better purchases that will still serve me when the warm weather arrives.

    1. You’ll have to let me know how this works for you Debbie! I could never have done this style of shopping earlier on, but now, it’s been really helpful. I’m able to assemble capsules easier than ever before, and I find that I am getting rather picky with my purchases. I often end up not even liking ANYTHING in my cart by the end of my shopping sessions now.

  2. I do this! I have found that the instant I find an exciting keeper I add it to my cart. When I get to “my checkout,” I go back through and see if the keeper is still exciting and realistic for my life. Most of the time not only are the items not exciting, but also not realistic. I find I “cart” pieces that are so different from my style when I am bored with what I have or don’t really know what needs I have in my wardrobe. Also, I will save my shopping sessions and go back days later to see what I have in there. The reviewing process can also tire me and I realize I am done with the article. A virtual purge! Lol~ Julie

    1. I find virtual shopping very helpful. I’ve been able to better understand my style this way and also work on preparing mini capsule wardrobes. As long as I don’t hit the buy button it’s a safe way for me to ‘shop.’ Thanks for stopping by!

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