To many people it is a mystery how to never regret clothing purchases. We all have been there at one point or the other: we return from a shopping spree and while we unpack our dozens of bags, regrets start creeping up on us. Maybe we suddenly don’t like the color of that sweater anymore or the dress that looked so cute on us in the changing room just mere hours ago now makes us feel we look like a 5 year old playing dress-up in our mom’s clothes. Or my personal favorite: I spent way more on an item than I had planned and thus feel I wasted money on something I could not afford (regardless of if it’s true or not).
So to make shopping (even) more enjoyable for you I will share my tips and tricks on how to never regret clothing purchases anymore!
Plan the journey
That’s right, planning is essential and it starts way before you step into the glorious halls of your local (or not so local) mall. If you plan on going shopping, make enough time for that. Shops close at 6pm? Don’t just start your spree at 4 pm. The mall’s a two hour ride away? Leave your house early to avoid traffic jams and/or rush hours. You don’t want to arrive at the mall all stressed because there was a traffic jam on the way and now you only have 30 minutes left before stores close! If you can, make it a day that’s all about shopping. You will be less stressed when you know you have all day and there’s no appointment scheduled for later that day.
Decide what you want
A good way to make sure you never regret clothing purchases anymore is to simply know what you want to shop for. Do you want a new pair of shoes? Do you have a job interview coming up and need something appropriate? Your favorite pair of jeans is falling apart and needs to be replaced? Or maybe all of the above? If you want to avoid shopping regrets write down what items you absolutely want or need to add to your wardrobe! This list will help you stay focused when you’re out and about, browsing through hundreds and hundreds of beautifully displayed fashion gems.
Know your style
This is really helpful if you want to add items to your existing wardrobe. If, for example, you’re not one for oversized tops, stay clear of them, even if the girl next to you is rocking it like a model on the catwalks of Paris fashion week! If you, however, want to hop on a new trend or want to overhaul your wardrobe, I cannot stress the following enough:
Do your research
In the days of social media it’s so easy to get inspiration, be it from your favorite YouTuber (you could totally check out my channel, by the way), the TV show you’ve repeatedly binge watched over the past year or so, Instagram or my personal favorite: Pinterest; in today’s world you have ample resource at hand and should definitely make use of it! Set up your own inspiration board; it doesn’t matter if it’s on paper with outfit pictures you printed out or cut out of magazines or if it’s a digital one, i.e. Pinterest: pin every single piece that catches your eye in a positive way.
Once you have gathered a good amount of inspiration, find the pattern. Do you love the colors? The textures? The cuts? The prints? Once you established that, keep it in mind for future purchases. Take pictures (with your cell phone of course) of your favorite items from your inspiration board. Now you can easily shop for similar items and always refer back to the images on your cell if you’re unsure about an item.
Take your time
Once you’re at the mall or high street or whatever your choice of shopping location might be, take.your.time.
I’m always on a budget so I want to get the best for my buck and the following tip is what I do regularly when shopping. Granted, the way I shop might not be to everyone’s liking but it serves me well and I am able to avoid impulse purchases – mostly anyway.
So what is it that I do? I usually plan enough time to – theoretically – visit each shop twice. I go to all the shops that catch my eye, I browse through their items and if I see something I really like I drag it to the changing rooms. If I still like it after trying it on I take a picture of the item and the price tag (which usually also shows the store name). If it’s .. like… the last item in my size, I ask if they can put it on hold for me for the day, and they usually are more than happy to do so. Then it’s off to the next shop where I repeat the process. Once I have been to all the shops that interest me I can go through the pictures and decide which ones I want to buy. The advantages of this process are:
- I avoid impulse buys (most of the time).
- Getting back to the images after a few hours of window shopping gives me time to consider if I really want a specific item (the rush of adrenaline that can come with shopping has time to wear off)
- I have an overview of all the clothes I really like, so I can cherry pick the best of the best
- I do not have to carry a growing number of bags all day long
- I burn lots of calories and it’s a piece of cake to get to my 10k steps/day 😉
- Since I take pictures of the price tags it’s easier to stay within budget
Speaking of budgets..this is an important one too!
Set a budget
AND STICK TO IT! If you have 200 bucks in your wallet, don’t buy that 250 $ purse! No matter how good or bad you’re at math: spending more than you have is not a good idea – and you want to avoid regrets, that’s why you’re reading this article, after all!
Don’t avoid the changing room
It’s important to try on new clothes (and shoes of course). You don’t want to grab a cute item and head straight to the till just to find out at home that the dress makes you look like a scarecrow and you can’t close that sexy pair of hot pants, no matter how much you suck in your tummy! The only exception I can recommend without feeling too bad about it is if you want to buy a specific item in several colors… But please try on at least one of them to make sure it fits! Oh and about that…
Only buy items that fit
Avoid “size goal items” at all cost! If you are a size 12 but have set your mind on getting down to size 8, DON’T BUY A SIZE 8 ITEM! Buy a size 12 if it fits you properly. There’s just no point in stocking up on clothes that don’t fit (yet). You won’t be able to wear them for the time being, thus it’s a waste of money. Even more so if it takes you considerable time to get to your desired dress size. For the time being the item would just take up space and who knows, maybe you don’t even like the style anymore once you’ve reached your goal size. Plus, you get to go shopping again once you reach your goal!
The same goes for shoes by the way: do not, I repeat: do NOT buy shoes that don’t fit or hurt in any way! You won’t wear them and thus lose money and precious storage space.
If you’re a sucker for flats and/or sneakers but you want to start wearing heels you should read my beginners guide of how to walk in high heels to avoid having to return those gorgeous stilettos you were planning on wearing to the party next month.
Listen to your gut
In order to never regret clothing purchases anymore this is an important point as well, especially if you are out with friends or seek feedback from sales staff.
Try on the item of your desire and take a good look at your reflection in the mirror. Do you like how the item makes you feel? Do you feel confident? Do you have any idea when to wear and what to combine it with?
Keep in mind that while asking sales staff for their opinion is a good indicator if something fits you properly, a shop staff’s goal is to make you spend as much money as possible.
Asking your friends what they think of the outfit you’re trying on can be a good idea but just use their opinion as a guideline. You have the final say in what you purchase, so if you feel insecure it’s better to not buy it or to let it be put on hold and get back to it again later that day.
There you have it, that’s my two cent on how to never regret clothing purchase anymore, although there is one more point I would like to make:
You will be walking a lot, so don’t forget to take regular breaks. It will keep you sane and you will enjoy your shopping trip so much more, so don’t forget to rest and treat yourself to something yummy!
If you follow all or most of these steps you can be pretty much certain to never regret any clothing purchases anymore!
Happy shopping, y’all!