I’ve enjoyed buying and wearing clothes my entire life. I’ve followed the trends, splurged, saled, and shopped like a champ. I’ve also made some mistakes along the way, and some of said mistakes are still hanging in my closet. This is what I’ve learned:
1. Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. I can’t tell you how many items I have bought over the years that were purchased merely because they were “a good deal” without much thought into the fit and longevity of said item. I’m the master of “but it’s Michael Kors! And it’s only $49.99!” Nevermind that it is tight where it shouldn’t be tight, loose where it shouldn’t be loose, is a formal dress when I have nowhere formal to go, and will be out of style in three months. There is a reason things end up on the sale rack.
2. If you really love an item, buy it. On the flip side of the above, I’ve also tried to play the waiting game in an effort to save a buck. Of course by the time said item is on sale they are normally out of my size, which leads me back to number 1 on this list. When you find an item that looks fabulous and you love, buy it. Don’t try to wait for the sale.
3. Spend money on things that will always fit – i.e., purses and shoes. No matter how much weight you gain or lose, both of these items will always fit. Therefore, if you are going to fork out an obscene amount of cash on fashion, best to do it on shoes and purses rather than that trendy pair of pants that will only work for a season or two.
4. Keep an organized closet and at least twice a year go through it, organize, donate, figure out what you need, what you don’t need, and buy only what you really need. For awhile I was convinced that I was running low on black pants and black turtlenecks. I now have 18 (yes!) black turtlenecks. I didn’t need to buy this many – I just couldn’t find them in the colossal mess that was my closet. Ditto for the black pants, although I only have 8 pairs of those.
5. There is absolutely no reason to keep items that you will never fit into again. And even if you can fit into them again, are you really going to want to wear them? No, probably not. You are going to go shopping and buy a boatload of new things to fit your new body. Be realistic about your size.
6. When in doubt, go up a size. I’ve spent too much money on items that “just fit” with the mindset that I would lose five pounds. Well, I didn’t lose five pounds. I gained five pounds and now those items are sitting in my closet, and I’m hoping I’ll get into them again. See number 5.
7. If you want to hop on the latest trend, don’t spend a lot of money to do so. You can find great trendy items on the cheap at stores like H&M, Marshall’s, and TJ Maxx. Unless you’ve got money burning a hole in your pocket, there is no reason to spend a lot on something that will be in style for only one season.
8. No matter how much you like it, you don’t need one in every color. See number 4. Be realistic and buy only what you need and only what you will wear.
9. Be realistic about whether you will wear an item before purchasing. No matter how cute those 4” heels are, are you really going to wear them out? While I’m sure they look adorable around the apartment, they are a waste of money if you can’t bear to totter out of the house in them because you are afraid you will fall on the ground. Same goes for that cute skimpy top that would look great on a supermodel.
10. Find out what styles and cuts look good on you and buy only those. Be honest with yourself. Not everyone looks good in leggings, skinny jeans, long sweaters, spaghetti strap tops, short skirts, and low rise jeans. Just because something is in style doesn’t mean it is going to work for you. Just accept it and buy what does work for you, and what looks good on you. For example, I carry my weigh in my hips (yes, I’m a pear!) so I do not look good in blazers and tops that are longer because they only accentuate my hips. So, I buy blazers and tops that hit me at mid hip because they look good on me, and I Just Say No to anything that doesn’t.