Unique, deeply personal fashion style is what defines us and represents who we are to the world. But one’s style is also influenced by trends, influencers, and social media. The question then is, how can we stay true to ourselves without falling into expertly created traps?
Nowadays, it is getting harder and harder to stay true to my style. Social media, TV advertisements, magazines, and promotional emails — all are actively influencing my fashion choices. Brands are effectively implementing the latest marketing techniques to entice me to purchase their products. Very often, I catch myself checking out a brand because I saw an advertisement. And I am not alone.
According to the Deloitte Report,
“47 percent of millennials are influenced in their purchases by social media, compared to 19 percent for all other age groups. … Similarly, the study also noted that nearly one in three U.S. consumers are influenced by social media in their purchases.” BizJournals.com, How Social Media Influences Consumer Buying.
Can I resist the overpowering temptations and carefully crafted marketing messages?
Yes! But it requires work that includes critical thinking, questioning, and self-control.
Rule # 1
Resist the urge to purchase an item the second you see it.
I give myself a 72-hours waiting period to cool down. Very often, I notice that I am not as excited about a product as I used to be. The desperate urge to have a new pair of heels subsides to “these are just O.K.” sentiment.
“[In] his book “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, also appears to have given us this bit of insight: ‘Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.’” NY Times, One Secret To Cutting Spending.
In my case, the space is the 72-hours waiting period that I allow myself. And more often then not, I end up not buying an item because logical thinking prevails over the initial impulsive desire to buy.
Rule # 2
Question the reasons you want to buy an item.
Have you recently seen a TV or Youtube advertisement? Has an ad popped up while you were browsing the internet? You get the idea.
Realizing why a particular product is appealing to you is a big first step. From there, you can analyze whether you need the item for what it is or you want it because an ad made it look appealing. Being aware of outside influence might help you make a more informed decision about a new purchase.
“But advertising’s influence is subtle. … [E]ngaging and memorable ads slip ideas past our defenses and seed memories that influence our behavior. ” The Atlantic, Why Good Advertising Works Even When You Think It Does Not.
Rule # 3
Research brands to avoid buying inferior products.
If you want to buy an item from a new-to-you brand, research the brand. Read reviews about items’ quality and materials, as well as the brand’s message and goals. Knowing as much as you can before clicking order, might save you money and headache.
There are hundreds of brands popping up left and right. Many are legitimate, but many more are not. Some exist to make a quick bank selling inferior quality garments. Their products are cheap and look amazing online, but once you receive them, they are garbage. Due to high returns cost and original low prices, many people throw clothes out, contributing to a landfill crisis.
So become a conscious consumer. Fashion is the second polluter in the world. And we need to take responsibility for our actions by shopping consciously, thinking critically, and not wasting resources on undeserving items.
Rule # 4
Be aware of social influencers.
Unlike ads that are carefully crafted by marketers, social influencers share their experiences, reviews, and opinions about an array of products in a less formal way. The goal is to entice you to buy an item based on their advice.
“According to Gartner research, 84% of millennials are likely to be influenced to make a purchase based upon user generated content that is created by strangers.” Forbes, Four Ways Social Media Influences Millennials Purchasing Decisions.
Why do influencers take time to tell you about products?
Because they get paid to do it!
A micro-influencer with 10,000 to 50,000 followers can be paid up to a few thousand dollars per post. If you have more than a million followers, the bill can run up to 100,000 per post! (Vox.com, Influencer Marketing Social Media Engagement)
So please think before you click buy because your favorite Instagram account posted a favorable review of a product.
It is impossible to avoid social media and various marketing efforts, but it is possible to become conscious shoppers — not passive consumers.
Marketers and social influencers have the power to manipulate our emotions. But their power is limited if you give yourself time and space to research and think. You will be surprised how quickly their influence fades when we start questioning our shopping desires.