The Danger of the Must Have

must have

I have used this expression many times in the past. Must have items for fall, winter, now, the holidays. But what I’ve come to realize is, how dangerous it can be to actually use the term. Must have. Especially applied to a blog, a business or thrown into the public eye. Let me elaborate.

We live in a consumerist society, even more so here in the United States. There’s a culture surrounding brands, stores, clothes, accessories, furniture, or anything you consider consuming. In Portugal, you have allotted times for sales. Usually when a season is over, or after Christmas. Here, in New York, it’s hard to keep up with so many sales, and discounts and promotions. I sincerely started to comprehend the problem with credit card debts, even though I steer clear of it.

It’s so easy to get something at 25% off, and the psychology of it actually works (see this Friends excerpt for reference). All this premise to say that, more often than not, we buy things we don’t actually need. And some that we might actually already have. Just because it has an extra pocket, or is a slight variation from the 3 other white t-shirts you have. All arguments I’ve used to justify my purchases by the way.

You see a lot of posts with the must have of the season, based on whatever’s trending at the time. When they should actually be focusing on things you can wear over again, season after season. Must-haves should be our basics. Like a (instead of 5 you won’t be wearing next year). The perfect white shirt for any occasion. A pair of go-to jeans that make you feel like a million bucks. Basic pair of sneakers, boots flats and heels. You can build out your wardrobe with the basics and then add up pieces that go with your style. Maybe they are a little more trendy, but you can make sure that you’ll wear them past this season.

I actually started doing this every time I go shopping, or browsing online. For example, if I see this dress, this whole ensemble, or these tartan pants, and want to buy them, I think about their longevity. Will I be wearing them next year? In a couple of years? In 6 months? Probably not. So I refrain from buying something for the thrill of wearing it only a few times.

The trick is, if you’re still thinking about it a few days from now, maybe you should get it. If not, maybe you shouldn’t. It’s all in the exercises you make for yourself. Meanwhile, we can also think about becoming more sustainable shoppers. And freeing ourselves from the scary’s of Black Friday or sale season.

Shop my favorite basics: