Subliminal Style
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Catching Rae

My Inner Need for Outerwear (3 Steps to Create a Resolution Action Plan)

Occasion: Client Appointment
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Outdoor Temps: 50°F
Activity Level: Low
Wearing: Talbots denim dress (flea market), Karen Millen coat (Ebay), Brahmin saddlebag (Ebay), Uniqlo extra warm heattech tee (Uniqlo), Uniqlo heattech leggings (Uniqlo), Tsubo boots (Ebay), Kate Spade aviators (flea market)

About three years ago, I was HELL BENT on buying a Burberry trench coat. Even though I couldn't afford one, it was right there at the top of my list of resolutions. And today, I'm going to share the steps that helped me meet (and exceed!) my trench coat resolution.

My method is cobbled together from lots of different inspiration, but I can definitely recommend checking out Dave Ramsay and/or You Are a Badass for additional reading on step-by-step goal achievement.

Step 1: Make Your Resolution Meaningful

Why did I want a super-expensive trench coat I technically couldn't afford? Well, I'd always lusted after them. But in terms of the deeper why we talked about yesterday, I was just plain sick of my outerwear putting a damper on my time with my husband! It seemed like every time we'd go out in the Fall and Winter, I'd end up cutting the outing short because I'd picked a coat incompatible with our activities.

I got too cold to watch the sunset at the beach. Or I got too sweaty to take a long walk in the park. Or I got too soggy on an attempted romantic stroll in the rain. Or I felt gross and unattractive in a big, ugly rain slicker when we took a romantic stroll in the rain... to a chic shopping center. 

This was not OK! And I was willing to spend more money and energy on my coat goal because I wanted the Burberry in order to have more fun with my husband. "Indulgent coat shopping" suddenly turned into "a meaningful investment in one of my core values." I could get on board with that.

Step 2: Flesh It Out in Actionable Terms

The higher your aspiration, the tougher it is to see the specific actions you need to take. When I started out, buying a Burberry seemed kind of impossible. But! I knew there were measurable, controllable actions I could take that would greatly improve my chances of success:

  • Immediately start putting aside $ from each paycheck to use toward the future purchase. This can be as simple as skipping your usual Starbucks run.
  • Sell or consign the coats that disappointed me last season.
  • Research coats and find out which Burberry styles (if any) will actually fulfill the needs for warmth, breathability, rain-resistance, and figure flattery. I ultimately needed to stick to the Burberry London line (e.g. not the less-expensive Burberry Brit) to ensure a breathable lining.
  • Try on the styles that best meet that criteria.
  • Note the most attractive options - like colors, sizes, and length - for each compatible style (not all garments will fit the same, even within the same brand). 
  • Keep an open mind regarding other brands that might fit the criteria. I allllmost went with a Brooks Brothers style but ultimately liked the Burberry fit best.
  • Sign up for sale alerts from sites like Shopstyle and Ebay to help get a more affordable price.
  • Ask for help from salespeople at stores like Nordstrom and Saks - associates are often happy to let you know when an item goes on sale. 
  • Bookmark links to the preferred styles and check them periodically for price reductions, coupon codes, or special offers.

By focusing on these actions rather than the end result, you're not only able to see a clear path to success, but you're also able to put constant and consistent work into your goal until it is achieved.

Step 3: Set a Deadline

I knew I wanted to be able to enjoy my coat the following F/W season, so my deadline for this goal was the end of summer (July/August). If you don't set a deadline, you may fall into the trap of indefinitely waiting for a better price or more bells & whistles. 

Your deadline can often be extrapolated from your motivation. Do you need your style goal settled for your big vacation? A juicy job fair? An annual pool party? Whatever life event your style is supporting, make sure you set a deadline that will help you knock out your wardrobe beforehand.

In my case, I didn't get the absolute lowest price ever recorded for a Burberry trench - but I did get the exact color, style, fit, and features that I wanted, just in time to rock my coat for the winter.

I started off convinced that Burberry was totally beyond my pay grade, but because of all the research and saved sale searches, I was actually also able to pick up a second, shorter Burberry trench at a truly phenomenal price later on. And I also used my knowledge to score this amazing Karen Millen wool coat on Ebay. So in a way, my action plan netted me 3 designer coats I can't afford instead of just 1!

That's the power of proper planning, right there. ;)

Feel free to email me or leave a comment here if you need help fleshing out your own Style Resolution Action Plans! I always love it when a plan comes together.