Four tips to curb your clothing and Kylie shopping addiction

by | Dec 29, 2016 | Personal Finance |

Ladies, just when you thought the gender pay gap couldn’t get more complicated, it did. Recent studies highlight that the more attractive you are, the more likely you are to get hired. So what make to of the most valued investments women pour into themselves when thinking of work? Clothes and makeup.

The United States is the world’s largest cosmetics market and its total revenue is expected to exceed $62 billion in 2016, according to MarketingResearch.com. By comparison, more than $250 billion is spent annually on fashion in the United States. One study reviewed in the Washington Post suggested that grooming—practices such as applying makeup and styling hair and clothing—was actually what accounted for nearly all of the salary differences for women of varying attractiveness. Another study reviewed by the New York Times showed wearing makeup could earn a woman more respect, trust and affection from her co-workers.

The pressure is on.

The clothing fanatics

Zoe Baker, 23, recently started working at an office in Manhattan and says she goes shopping one to three times a week after work. She frequents fast fashion stores such as Zara and H&M, usually buying clothes she she’ll later think through and return to save money, but doesn’t when push comes to shove.

“People say you should dress for the job you want and not the one you have, so I always try to look nice and get new stuff,” Baker said. “Socially, dressing for work is a totally new thing for me so I feel a lot of pressure to look nice. I’m also the youngest person in my office so I’ve felt the need to be constantly refreshing my wardrobe in an effort to look older and most confident/established.”

The makeup fanatics

Earlier this year, CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” co-anchor Jim Cramer named makeup as one of the top areas millennials would spend on, along with cellphones and Uber. Boy, did Cramer call us out on that one.

In 2016, Kylie Jenner, the youngest in the Kardashian/Jenner clan, continued expanding on the product that took the makeup world by storm: the Kylie Lip Kit. In the past year, the same trick has fared well for Jenner’s business: announce the next product re-stock several days in advance through the Kylie Jenner Official App, then stock limited amounts of web-exclusive products only available starting at a certain time until it’s sold out.

“To me, a Kylie Lip Kit is more than just having a brand name,” writes journalist Kenya Pineda for SAC Media. “It’s the confidence I need to wear a bright red shade, or a warm nude, and not constantly worry about how everyone is secretly laughing at me and that has to do with Jenner’s own confidence and how well she holds up despite the constant public pressures.”

There is a lot of pressure to look great at work and keep up with trends, especially as a young woman starting out in her field, but it doesn’t have to be painful (or stressful). Since many of the same deal-spotting tricks transfer easily between makeup and clothing shopping, here are five tips to avoid breaking the bank to get a look you love.

Find similar products that are just as good

Prior to Kylie Cosmetics, there were plenty of other brands on the market known for their matte liquid lipsticks—Jeffree Star, ColourPop, NYX, Anastasia Beverly Hills. These range from $6 to $20 a pop, before sales or discounts (which Kylie Cosmetics rarely has, given it is such a new company). Compare that to the lip kit’s price tag of $29 plus shipping and you’ve got a better deal. Fast fashion, department-store options like Forever 21, Target, JCPenny’s, to name a few, and outlet stores make finding a variety of professional, fashionable looks-for-less more obtainable.

Rewards, rewards, rewards

A study by POPSUGAR Insights shows 79 percent of women strive to look their best every single day and 59 percent of women spend over $150 per year on cosmetics. If you know you’ll still spend this much, at least try to earn back some of the money you spend on back in points. Stores such as Sephora, Ulta and Macy’s have their own rewards systems that not only let you rack up points to apply to future purchases, but also throw in a few freebies with purchase every now and then. Department stores such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, Lord and Taylor may offer a one-stop-shop for makeup and clothing, but you will probably spend more money that way instead of searching for deals.

If it sells out, it will come back

In the book “Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much,” Harvard scholars Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir explain scarcity, the phenomena behind the popularity of the Kylie Lip Kits. Although it has yet to be confirmed, it is believed that Jenner releases limited amounts of product in order to create a false sense of scarcity to drive up demand and create more opportunities for sales. Ask yourself if you really need this product right at that moment, because odds are, this product will be marked down on sale down in a not-too-distant future or it will be restocked by popular demand.

Make a list and check it twice

“There are so many YouTubers that I absolutely love, but create in me a sense that I need to shop,” says YouTube beauty and lifestyle blogger Jacquelyn Lovene, who has found herself trading YouTube bloggers’ general overindulgence for a minimalistic lifestyle. “Something that has helped me is shopping my stash. I cleaned out I got organized, and it never fails. I always come across something, whether it’s in my makeup collection or clothing or shoes, it’s like oh I love this, why haven’t I been wearing this?”

Organizing your clothes can be a reminder of what you already own and what you may or may not have space for in your closet. For those who find themselves overspending on makeup, Lovene created a Google Doc to serve as a personal makeup inventory. Keeping a list won’t only prevent you from buying more products than you need, but it also keeps you in check as you attempt to impulse shop. Make a copy of your own to keep track of your spending: http://bit.ly/2i4a8Zp.