The more I shop, the less I have to wear. It’s unbelievable. It should be the other way around, right? But nope. I’ll buy a pretty top, and then, once home, realise it doesn’t go with anything I already have.
Or buy a pretty dress that, I discover too late, is high-maintenance. I’d need to bring it to the drycleaner, and who can be bothered to do that? Not me. So, it languishes in my wardrobe.
Impulse buys are the worst. I’m particularly vulnerable to them when I’m having a bad day. That lace skirt starts calling my name, and won’t shut up until I agree to bring it home with me.
When I do, I realise I don’t like it all that much. And it doesn’t ft that well either. Ugh. Now, all the excitement has faded, I’m down again. And so is my wallet.
Sounds familiar? I bet it happens to you too. So frustrating! And expensive. Buying something you don’t use is throwing money down the toilet. I suppose you can’t afford that? And even if you did, wouldn’t your rather use that money for something that you love and enjoy?
Me too. That’s why I started asking myself a few simple questions before purchasing a new dress or belt (or anything else really):
1. Will I Use It Often?
As much as I’d love to wear evening gowns every day, I rarely have the chance to don one. So, there’s no point in me splurging on a bunch of them. Actually, there’s no point in me splurging on any of them. *sighs*
My lifestyle is a lot more mundane than that. I work from home a lot, but like to dress up when I go out to dinner, or an art gallery. So, I now look for comfortable, stylish, and versatile pieces that can be dressed up or down, and work for lots of different occasions.
If you live in flats, instead, you may not want to splurge on that killer pair of stiletto heels. If you live somewhere cold, a wardrobe full of sundresses won’t work for you. If you work in a conservative office, bold prints may not be the best option for you right now.
Build your wardrobe around your lifestyle, and you’ll always have something stylish and appropriate to wear.
2. Do I Need Something Else To Go With It?
That red pencil skirt may be so affordable, but if I need to buy a new top, pair of shoes, and bag to go with it, it’ll soon end up costing me a small fortune!
If you need to buy something else to make a piece work, it’s much better to leave it on the shelf.
3. Do I Already Own Something Like This?
I always take a close look at my wardrobe before going shopping. Then, when I see something I like in the shop, I ask myself, “do I already own something like this?”.
If the answer is yes, how many similar pieces do I have, and how often do I wear them? For example, I have a tendency to hoard cute pink sweaters (ahem…) but only wear two or three regularly.
Your weakness may be little black dresses, or stiletto shoes. If your wardrobe is full of them, but few see the light regularly, chances are, you won’t wear the new potential purchase either. Sad, but true.
If the answer is no, is it because I don’t usually wear those pieces? Time to go back to question one. Trying something new every now and then is cool. But it has to fit into your lifestyle, or you’re just wasting away your hard-earned cash.
4. Will I Still Wear It Next Season?
Style is forever, but fashion changes every few weeks. There’s always a new trend to try. But most of them disappear before we even have the chance to wear our new purchase a couple of times.
If I really like a piece, and can see myself still wearing it long after it’s gone out of fashion, home with me it comes. Otherwise, I don’t bother. I won’t get any real use out of it.
5. Why Am I Buying It?
Am I sad and need some cheering up? Those buys are the worst. They’re the ones we always regret. Pretty shiny things always seem prettier and shinier when we’re down, don’t they?
Or is because that celebrity or blogger is wearing it? Would I want if I hadn’t seen it on Instagram? Buying something because someone else is wearing it is lame. Develop your own style instead. Or, at the very least, look for cheaper dupes and put your stamp on them.
Or is it because I really, really love it, and think it would fit in well with my lifestyle? If I’m not sure, I sleep on it. If, after a few days I still want it, I go back and buy it.
6. Does it fit?
There’s nothing worse than an item of clothing that doesn’t fit. It’s uncomfortable. It emphasizes all your flaws. It just looks horrible on you. And so, you never wear it.
If I really, really, really, like an item that doesn’t fit perfectly, and I know it’s easy and cheap to alter, I’ll take it to a seamstress. Otherwise, I’ll look for something else that fits better.
7. Is It High-Maintenance?
Does I need it to bring it to the dry cleaners? Does the fabric tear easily? Does it require a special treatment? If the answer is yes, again, I don’t bother. It’s not worth it.
8. Can I Afford It?
I wish I had money to splurge on anything that catches my eye, but I don’t. I need to be careful with my purchases. If that pretty bag costs as much as rent, well, I’ll go with the rent. Boring, I know, but it rains a lot in London. I need a roof over my head.
Seriously, though. I know it’s tough to walk away from all those pretty dresses, but getting into debt for them is so not worth it.
9. Can I Get It For Less?
Just because an item is out of your price reach now, doesn’t mean you won’t get the chance to buy it in the future. Chances are, it’ll soon go on sale.
I also like to scour Ebay, second-hand stores and markets, and outlet shops. You can find some great deals there.
How do you avoid making bad purchases?