Do you want to learn the best method for how to buy clothes you’ll actually wear? These tips will seriously change your life!
One of the best ways to be a smart consumer is by learning how to buy clothes you’ll actually wear. Now, no one can predict the future, but there are some fundamental strategies you can use to get the most bang for your buck in fashion.
The answer is to create a wardrobe inventory, identify your favorite pieces and why, list out clothing likes and dislikes, and apply those concepts when you shop for clothes. This approach saves you time, money, and the headache that comes when you have a closet full of nothing to wear.
You will learn the exact method I used to curate a wardrobe of fabulous clothes that I actually wear (and am excited to wear!) on repeat.
This post is all about how to buy clothes you’ll actually wear.
Best Tips For How To Buy Clothes You’ll Actually Wear
1. Make A Wardrobe Inventory Of Clothes You Wear
The first important tip is nothing new on What Is She Wearing because it’s the framework from which all your styling and shopping decisions should spring.
A wardrobe inventory is an organized list of every single item (clothing and accessory) in your wardrobe that you wear. It requires a deep dive into your closet to identify every piece, discarding the ones you don’t (and won’t) wear. You then categorize each item into a spreadsheet by type (e.g. pants, shoes, jackets) and applicable wearing seasons.
Keep your wardrobe inventory current with the changing season and when you purchase a new piece. Use it as a reference before shopping to ensure you aren’t duplicating items you already have.
When it’s time to replace an item that has worn out, you’ll know and can prioritize your shopping budget accordingly. This is a great model for how to buy clothes you’ll actually wear–replace a “past-loved” item with something similar in style, cut, and color.
Related Post: How To Shop Your Closet The Right Way
2. Identify Your Favorite Items and Why You Love Them
This is another way of saying, “What clothing and accessories do you like most and why?”. While the wardrobe inventory exercise is a practical way of identifying the what, this exercise goes deeper into understanding the why.
Learning how to buy clothes you’ll actually wear is all about buying clothes you actually like. Your “why” is the next step in this process. Let’s start with your current wardrobe.
Your “why” is very important because it’s what motivates your actions (in this case, to wear something or not). Because of this, you must become aware of why you truly like a piece you own. It’s going to take a little contemplation and you may even need to try on an item to pinpoint what makes you happy.
For example, let’s take your favorite pair of jeans. If you’re why is “I love them because they look good on me”, you need to go deeper into why you think the jeans look good on you. So, you try on the jeans and look at yourself in the mirror. You realize you like the fit of the jeans because they lift your butt up. You also like how they’re high-waisted and comfortable. Lastly, you like how they’re long enough to wear heels with because you hate wearing flats.
You would note down all three reasons mentioned above for why you love this pair of jeans.
If you’ve performed the wardrobe inventory exercise mentioned above, then use the same spreadsheet to do this by creating additional columns for the ‘Favorite Item’ checkbox and ‘Why I Love It’. Fill this out for each of your favorite items.
3. Create your Clothing Likes List From Clothes You Actually Wear
The next step of learning how to buy clothes you’ll actually wear enables you to identify the key factors of what you like most in an item.
Start by reviewing your list of favorite items and pull the whys into a new bulleted list called “Clothing Likes” or similar (What I Like In Clothes, etc.).
Continuing the example above with your favorite jeans, you would list the following bullet points:
- Jeans (or pants) that lift my butt up
- Jeans or pants that are high-waisted and comfortable (fitted, but not too tight)
- Jeans or pants long enough to wear with heels (measure the inseam of the jeans and list it here)
You may want to take further measurements (e.g. the waist) and note them. The more information you have, the more educated you will be when you shop for clothes.
It might make sense to categorize your list as some may only pertain to jeans while others encompass a range of items. For example, if you like wearing blue because it makes your eyes pop, that can apply to all types of clothing. Also, you may have listed repeat ‘whys’ for different items, so this exercise will help you group those in a single bullet point.
This list should contain everything you like about the clothes you own (and actually wear) from styles, lengths, cuts, fabrics, colors, and even brands. Keep this list updated with your wardrobe inventory.
4. Create your Clothing Dislikes List
The next key step in learning how to buy clothes you’ll actually wear is identifying your dislikes so you never buy those items again.
Create a new bulleted list called “Clothing Dislikes” or similar. Begin to list everything you dislike about current or past items.
For example, I added the following to my list: loose, flowy tops. I’ve purchased many beautiful flowy blouses only to have them sit in my closet because they didn’t look good on me. However, for some reason (which we’ll go into in #5), I kept buying them.
List everything you don’t like about items you’ve owned or worn, even seemingly insignificant details. This list should contain everything you dislike about the clothes don’t wear or force yourself to wear from styles, lengths, cuts, fabrics, colors, and even brands. Keep this list updated.
5. Keep Your Likes And Dislikes Lists Handy When You Shop For Clothes
Now that you’ve created your clothing likes and dislikes (hopefully in lists available on your phone), use those lists as a reference when you shop for clothes.
While you may easily remember some likes and dislikes, others may be forgotten unless you have your list with you.
For example, I mentioned in the section above that I had the issue of buying loose, flowy tops I would never wear. Why did I keep buying these tops? Well, the tops were all in high-quality fabrics and gorgeous prints, two of my clothing likes. I allowed my focus to fixate on the beauty of the tops, ignoring my dislike for loose-fitting tops. Now that I have my lists handy, I review the dislikes each time I’m considering a purchase, so I no longer make this mistake.
You can never ignore dislikes when it comes to clothes. All it takes is one tiny dislike for a piece of clothing to become disappointing and unwearable.
Choose clothing that only contains details from your “likes” list in order to qualify as a good purchase.
Now, if you’re trying a new style, color, or item in general, you might not have enough information in your likes and dislikes lists. Continue to follow the same guidelines and your purchase will be a learning experience, which we’ll review in the next section.
Related Post: How To Shop For Clothes Like A Professional Buyer
6. Style New Clothing Immediately After Buying
A new purchase is not considered complete until you’ve determined how to style it and confirmed it’s a keeper in your closet.
This means taking the time to ensure it pairs well with at least several other pieces in your closet, including your suite of accessories. Don’t just assume you’ll figure it out. How many of you are guilty of having clothes with “forever” tags in the past? I know I was.
If you can’t figure out how to style the item, don’t like how the item fits or feels, or have any doubts about it, return it immediately. As I always say, ditch the ‘that’ll do’ mentality!
Clothing that you decide to keep should be added to your wardrobe inventory. After you’ve officially worn the item a few times, you can update your likes and dislikes lists with your findings.
It’s okay if your likes and dislikes change over time; it’s expected in fact. The more in tune you are with yourself, the more refined your style will become, and the more you’ll master how to buy clothes you’ll actually wear.
7. Return Bad Purchases Immediately
This last tip for how to buy clothes you’ll actually wear is to return the ones you know you won’t.
Return clothing you just bought and dislike immediately. Don’t wait, even if the return policy is 60 days. Something always comes up and then you’re scrambling to find a printer and an open shipping store. Get your return slip printed, package the item, and hit the shipping store on the way to work or with errands. Make time to get this done or ask a family member for a favor.
I love the ability to return items purchased online to their brick-and-mortar stores because it’s easier for me than having to mail something back, plus the refund is instant (with no return shipping cost!).
Lastly, make sure to add any dislikes about the item to your “Clothing Dislikes” list so that’s up-to-date.
Ready to create the wardrobe of your dreams? Click here to check out: Wardrobe Planning: A Beginner’s Guide To Your Dream Closet.
This Post Was All About How To Buy Clothes You’ll Actually Wear
- How to Shop for Clothes Online – A Beginner’s Guide
- French Style Tips | 10 Essential Rules To Live By