How You Shop May Define You

A post on social media displayed two images that supposedly highlight the difference in how men and women shop. The post sparked a gender to and fro with the women accusing the men of purchasing the wrong item quickly. The men pointed to the criss-crossing of aisles that women need to “just pick up something.”

That discussion inspired a deeper review of non-gender-specific shopping styles. How we shop has much to say about our mind-set and strategic outlook.

Which of these shopping styles best matches your approach?

Let’s move the context from routine supermarket shopping to the more intentional and thoughtful purchase of clothes. 

This will shed some light on how you make decisions and approach tasks.


Dawn gets invited to an event. She decides to get a new outfit. That registers in her consciousness. Little by little pieces of the puzzle fall in place during fleeting reflections on the event over the next days.

Soon Dawn gets a clear picture of what she is looking for and a fair idea where she can get it. During a break in her schedule, Dawn dashes to the outlet she had in mind and shares what she needs. If something close is available it is purchased immediately. Dawn is also willing to purchase a viable alternative.


Decisiveness. Time is precious. Trusts own decision-making. Accepts workable options.


Irene also gets the invitation. Irene immediately thinks about who else will be at the event. This will play an important role in her selection. 

Irene’s personal branding is to avoid being “typical”. She is keen to constantly bring a unique touch to whatever she does.

For this event, finding the unique touch may require some amount of time. Also, Irene will not know what it is until she sees it.

Until then, Irene checks online for ideas and bounces options around with friends. Irene shares selfies.


We are unique souls – why hide our individuality in mediocrity and sameness? Add flavour. Be creative. Explore. Boxes are for goods not people. Place high value on relationships. 


Sue receives the invitation with mixed feelings. She does not really mind going but she ponders the pressure of choosing what to wear and the thoughts of having to go and mingle with strangers for hours.

The event and its challenges occupies Sue’s mind for extended periods. She searches her wardrobe for a suitable option.  After consultations with family, the consensus is that something new is required. 

Sue starts early to short-list viable options. Fittings are a part of the process and images might be shared for feedback. 

Sue wants to find something that is moderately priced and elegant but not overstated.

Ultimately, Sue gets consensus and makes the purchase.  However, Sue still wonders if the other option was not the better choice.


Be thoughtful. Seeking consensus is smart and leads to better decision-making. Don’t be over-confident – that is one source of costly mistakes.  Blending in deflects unwanted attention. Getting it right is not a sprint.


Carla checks her schedule immediately. She then conducts her pros and cons review of whether to accept the invitation. Unless there is real value in attending, Carla will decline.

Carla identifies benefits of attending and works on a strategic plan. A new outfit is indicated. 

She puts a cap on the budget and schedules time in her calendar to visit the three outlets that she has shortlisted. 

Carla is careful to choose an outfit that is multi-functional and presents a professional image.  She makes the purchase on schedule and proceeds with her other plans for the event.


Systems and structure are keys to success. Time lost can never be recovered. Take a strategic approach to whatever you do. Seek a worthwhile return on the investment of personal time. Be practical. Plan!

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