Have you heard the phrase FOMO? It stands for “Fear of Missing Out” and usually refers to the anxiety you experience after deciding to stay home on a Saturday night – “Oh no, are all my friends hanging out without me?” I propose an expanded definition; I think you can experience FOMO when it comes to clothes. It happens when you see someone sporting a cool T-shirt or a pair of jeans, for instance, and you don’t recognize the brand or designer. “Does everyone but me have the inside track on hip, new clothing brands?” It’s no fun to think so.
Below, a few ways I’ve found to help combat fashion FOMO:
Ask a stranger
If you see someone wearing something you like, why not ask him where he bought it? This is an approach I take almost daily. Just yesterday, I asked the salesperson helping me find a battery pack at Best Buy where she got her earrings. Sure, it’s not the most comfortable thing to do, but a guy’s not going to NOT tell you where he got the shirt he’s wearing. Here’s a line to try the next time you spot a UFO (Unidentified Fashion Object):
“Hey man, cool shirt, do you mind me asking where you got it?”
It’s that easy! Of course, if you’re totally uncomfortable with this idea, why not enlist the help of a girlfriend/sister/willing female wing woman? Just expect some teasing for being too chicken to do it yourself.
Ask a friend
Have a stylish friend whose clothes you admire? Ask him about his favorite brands! It should be easier than approaching a stranger.
Go somewhere new
Another approach is to start shopping at stores you haven’t frequented before. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If you keep frequenting stores where you’ve always shopped, you’re going to keep finding the same clothes. Walk into a store in your mall you’ve never been to. If your city or town has a college, stop in a boutique near campus.
Shop the Web
Do you know Etsy.com? Your wife or girlfriend definitely does. Users buy and sell handmade items – everything from cookies to monogrammed flasks to … well, pretty much whatever you can think of – someone’s made it and is selling it this very second on Etsy. To wit: I searched “men’s T-shirt” and an amazing gray tee featuring Chewbacca riding a velociraptor popped up. If you’re looking for new and unique clothing, you can’t get much more different than a fictitious space sidekick riding a dinosaur.
Even better, websites featuring up-and-coming designers exist all over the Web, and e-commerce shopping is easier than ever these days. Start at your favorite style website ( GQ.com, Esquire.com and Valetmag.com are all good jumping-off points), see what they recommend, and go from there. FOMO be gone.