I was so guilty of this, especially after I started my blog and felt like I needed every item that I saw other bloggers raving about. However, a lot of the time I wouldn’t even like the items when they actually arrived. I’ve come a long way in learning to discern between what I will wear regularly and what will just sit on a hanger (before I actually buy it). My big closet clean out especially made me more conscious, because I realized how much I wasn’t regularly wearing. Here are my tips to determine whether something will become an impulse buy you will regret, or a quality investment:
Create a wish list
This has been one of the best things I’ve ever done! I always found myself falling into the scarcity mentality of “if I don’t buy it right now it will sell out” or “this is the lowest price it will be so I need to get it now”, but most of the time, this isn’t true. I started an ongoing wish list of things on the notes app in my phone whenever I see something that I want. A lot of times, after I sit on it for a few days, I realize I don’t want it as much as I initially thought. However, if I still have a strong feeling after a few days, I go through the rest of my criteria.
Another tip: a lot of the popular mall retailers (Abercrombie, American Eagle, etc.) rarely aren’t having some kind of sale, so I highly advise against paying full price at these places. You can almost always find better deals on their websites too. I will do online orders for store pickup a lot.
See if you can find multiple photos on multiple models
How many times have you seen a piece of clothing on someone you follow on a social media platform and felt like you needed it too? Chances are, if you admire the person’s style (which you must at least a little if you follow them), your decision might be swayed by your feelings towards the person wearing it. There have been times I thought I loved something I see on Instagram, but I’ll check the website for more photos and realize that while the person’s confidence and style makes the item look amazing, it most likely wouldn’t be something I would like on myself or wear regularly.
If something is just slightly off, hold off until you find something perfect
For example, if you want a tan coat and find one that is just a shade off, or a pair of pants that is close to what you want but looks cheap and wrinkles super easy, or a cropped top that is just slightly too cropped – please do yourself a favor and hold off! I have done this a million times (especially with fast fashion). A lot of times the version I found would be less expensive, but I never ended up wearing it anyway. I usually then end up buying the thing I actually did want, which means the “cheaper” items just end up wasting money in the long run. My advice is to save for quality pieces that you truly love and will wear a lot.
Ask yourself, is it a type of clothing that would make you feel confident?
A lot of personal style comes down to how confident you feel wearing something. Something that makes someone else feel confident may not necessarily make me feel confident. For example, I think flowy, summery dresses are so pretty, but I noticed that whenever I would buy them I didn’t feel great in them and didn’t end up wearing them much. I love how they look on other people, but for whatever reason, I just don’t like them on me. You can admire a style while recognizing that it doesn’t work for you.
Visualize it with your current wardrobe
Is is similar to the pieces you feel confident in? Can you think of multiple ways to wear it with the things that are already in your closet? If so, it’s a winner! You want to make sure you are staying true to your style, and that the new item will blend in to your wardrobe seamlessly.
Look at the return policy
This is especially important when buying online. If you try something on and don’t like the way it fits, you want to make sure you can return or exchange it without having to jump through hoops. I have ended up getting stuck with items I bought online that I didn’t quite love because it was nearly impossible to return them. I recently invested in the Dyson Airwrap (something I’ve been wanting for a very long time), and one of the big deciding factors for me was that they had a great return policy if I didn’t end up liking how it worked (which by the way I’m obsessed – I will definitely have a post about that coming!).
So my main takeaways: take time to think and visualize, and make sure you are investing in quality pieces that are true to you!