I am in the midst of a little fashion clear-out in my closet (getting ready for spring, guys!). Decluttering is more a regular routine for me nowadays rather than a complete life turnaround project.
Regular sort-outs of my clothing helps me stay aligned with my style at all times. It is normal that our style evolves with us and that we get ‘over it’. So just like I question any habits and routines, I like to ask myself if that piece of clothing is still ‘serving’ me or not.
While I have adopted a more ‘sustainable’ shopping pattern over the years and value quality over quantity, mixing seasonal items with timeless classics and jazzing them up with a good statement (trend) piece here and there, it has helped me ‘waste’ less money on fashion fails.
I find that having a well curated closet helps me avoid purchases that are not aligned with my style and existing wardrobe.
So, let me spill the little secret of questions I ask myself before buying an item:
#1 Does it Fit Into My Existing Wardrobe?
Who has not bought a dress and then had to buy the matching stuff for an outfit to work? If you need to buy additional items to go with it, it probably does not fit in your wardrobe.
If it doesn’t fit in seamlessly into my existing wardrobe and I cannot think of things I already have to wear it with, it’s a pass.
Also, I like my wardrobe versatile but not boring, so I prefer more mixing and matching items. That top that would only look good with one particular pair of pants… Being restricted to that particular combo all the time, I got tired of it fairly quickly.
Unless I can switch things up more and combine that piece differently with at least 2-3 other items in my closet, it is a straight no.
#2 Does It Fit Into My Lifestyle?
I love dresses more than anything else. In the past, I have bought the most beautiful dresses… and never wore them! I loved it, the color and fit was perfect, it was flattering on my body, but it was often a piece that was a tad too dressy for the office, not dressy enough for things like weddings and a bit too much for a family birthday party. Same with super glammy-glittery party tops… guess what, turns out I didn’t actually go out clubbing that much.
End of the story: I sold them all with the price tag still on just because I never found an occasion to actually wear them.
Nowadays I make way more critical choices. As beautiful as that piece may be, if I don’t have a ball or wedding coming up, there’s no point in buying a black-tie dress I know will be dusting in my closet.
So make choices based on what your lifestyle is based on the categories work, casual, party, lounge, active and how much time you spend doing what wearing what. Will you get any use out of it?
#3 Do I Have Something Similar?
If it doesn’t add any variety to my outfits, I let it go.
Honestly, nobody will notice the difference between your two black lace tops.
I buy items that fit into my wardrobe but are not repetitive, except for a few white and black tees to have on hand between laundry days.
Not buying the same thing twice avoids the whole ‘I don’t have anything to wear’ drama.
#4 Is It Comfortable?
These jeans that look amazing but you have to suck your stomach in all day? The scratchy jumper you need a top underneath to be bearable? The shoes that make your toes go numb?
If it is not comfy enough to wear all day while sitting, standing, walking, commuting, I pass.
Next to that, in my experience, uncomfortable clothes are distracting to my mind and I have a harder time focusing on conversations etc. when all I can think about is when I finally can take these shoes off.
I try and test the comfort as much as possible in the store. If its itchy, too tight or just uncomfortable, I leave it.
#5 Does It Fit?
Unless it is just adjusting hemline, never ever buy clothes that do not fit perfectly. If you first have to make a lot adjustments or lose weight for it, forget it.
People think they need it a ‘goal dress/jeans/you name it as some kind of motivation, but I find this total BS. It is pure masochism.
Every single day when you’ll open your closet, it will be screaming at you “You are too fat”. Do you really want that to be the first thing you want to think in the morning?
You can still lose weight if you want. I find when I feel good in my body, I am way more likely to treat it well, work out and eat healthy.
People think they’re gonna lose two sizes in two weeks or find it “a waste of money” to spend a fortune on new clothes later, once they lost weight. What if you find out you want to wear a completely different style?
Either way, you are never going to wear clothes that don’t fit. End of story.
#6 Is the Quality Right?
I once bought the most beautiful blouse and wore it only one day because I didn’t notice it was 100% made of plastic and smelled like a mother*** by lunchtime.
Knowing you smell bad and spending all day obsessing if others smell it, too….no matter how much deodorant you reapply, it does nothing for your confidence.
I check the fabric and quality always before buying. Does the sweater pill? Is it too transparent/see-through? Does it need constant ironing? Is it breathable material? (You’d be surprised how much summer fashion items are made of the most unbreathable materials.)
Also, make sure the color really suits you. Sometimes a bit of makeup can help, but if the color washes you out, there’s no point. Yellow or red come in many different undertones that may not suit everybody. Make sure something matches your complexion.
I had so many mis-buys that shrunk or the color bled out after the first wash.
There are no 100% guarantees, but if you have any doubts about the quality, skip it.
#7 Does It Reflect Who I Am?
I had that super cute new mini skirt, but I ended up never wearing it because I was constantly thinking if it doesn’t come over as a bit ‘cheap’, even with black opaque stockings. Maybe it was just in my head, but I kept constantly fiddling with my skirt or top to cover my cleavage.
Even if it looks great, when I have the feeling it is a touch too revealing for my own taste, I just don’t feel like it is aligned with my personality, really.
I try to stay more true to myself by choosing feminine, but not too flashy pieces, that match my personality better.
When you make fashion choices, it is good to consider who you are and what you want your style to say about you. When in doubt, I listen to my gut feeling.
Confidence is priceless.
#8 Is It Just a Trend?
Let’s be real, there so many stupid, short-lived trends out there. And yes, fashion is just fun and pop culture. Still, if I have the slightest feeling that it might be a very fleeting trend, I simply don’t jump on the bandwagon at all. Just to name a few 5-minute trends last year:
- tiny sunglasses
- tiny (like, microscopically small) handbags
- biker shorts
On the other hand, puffy sleeves (or volume in general), midi skirts or animal prints is something that will still be around for a while (minus the cow prints, please), so I stick to those that I can combine and transition between easily.
I integrate trends into my wardrobe selectively and strategically.
#9 Why Am I Buying It?
Have I’ve been influenced by someone? Do I think I ‘need’ to have it to look fashionable? Is it retail therapy? Am I shopping to compensate any negative emotions?
Emotional shopping is also something that frequently triggers just buying something for a short-term ‘success’ or emotional high. Sometimes we just ‘want to like’ something, although it’s not our style, not in the budget or we want to associate with the person/tribe who represents that (life)style.
When I catch myself considering buying a thing that is ‘outside my vibe’, it can be because it looked awesome on someone else. If someone has a completely different lifestyle and is a different type or shape than me, I think twice what made me consider it in the first place.
While there is nothing wrong with seeking outside inspiration (you should see my Pinterest boards), I try not to buy things because everyone else has it.
I am quite good in identifying and managing my emotions nowadays, so I don’t fall into that trap of buying something for the wrong reasons.
#10 Does It Look Good?
You might think this is a no-brainer, but honestly, so many trends just do nothing for me.
First of all, I don’t want my look to look like I am trying hard to follow the latest temporary trend.
Second, and more importantly: What is this with the ‘fugly’ fashion nowadays???
On me, oversized blazers just look too big.
The ‘dirty’ sneaker trend just looks like dirty sneakers.
90% of Mom jeans don’t make me look cool but… well, like a Mom.
Big ruffled tops make me look like a 10-year old in the body of grown woman.
So, if an outfit -no matter how fashionable- is not doing anything for my shape and style, no thanks. I like my outfit to be fashionable and flattering. (I am a little vain.)
Fashion is fun, but I’m having more fun when I feel pretty. There I said it 🙂
On that note: I am still on the hunt for an oversized blazer that does not make me look like I’m literally wearing my dad’s jacket. I am more petite so I am drowning in any oversized blazer, even in the smallest available size (but not giving up yet!).
Shop My Faves
What are your best/worst recent buys? What do you consider when shopping?