If you've been to a store more than five times in your life, then you're no stranger to the worrisome question of whether you should buy something or not. The whole process is agony. You've been casually browsing, your life content and without complications, when you spot it. Be it the chain-link purse, the almighty blazer, the stunner of a dress — whatever it is in your scenario — but now you're struck with straight up lust and are practically jogging to the register.
But then this nagging thought sneaks in: Do you actually need it? Should you really buy it? Maybe you should, um, save that money? Oh God. Now the doubts come, the second guesses stake their claims, and you're completely lost.
So how do you get yourself out of that pickle? How do you find out if you actually need that item in question, or if you could live a still-happy life leaving the store without it. What you need are a set of questions that cut across all your excuses and reasons and get to the heart of things: As in, are you actually obsessed with this piece, or is it just the thrill of shopping? Below are 11 questions to ask to avoid buyer's remorse.
1. Is It Just Another Duplicate?
I'm not even talking about you getting the twelfth striped shirt in your wardrobe — I'm also talking about the mood of the item in question. For example, are you buying another shift dress or another pair of black sandals, when instead you could be getting a statement skirt or pair of platforms that could help elevate your outfit? Joshua Becker, author of The More of Less, suggested to lifestyle site Becoming Minimalist, "Am I replacing an item of clothing or buying something new?" Stop spending money on duplicates and instead add something to your closet that will help elevate it onto a new level.
2. Can You See Yourself Wearing It Every Tuesday?
Is this piece something you can see yourself reaching for week after week, or is it something you maybe might reach for when the right Saturday night rolls through? Becker asked, "Is this something I will wear regularly? If you can’t see yourself wearing the item on a regular basis, rethink the purchase." It'll only take up space in your closet, and you can move that money towards a piece you'll find yourself fawning over.
3. Do You See Yourself Buying Something Similar In The Next Couple Of Months?
Say you're staring at a dress and you're not sure if you should get it. Chances are you already have multiple dresses hanging in your closet, so to avoid an avalanche you won't be able to shop for another one until some time passes. Is this particular dress worth it? Fashion writer Perrie Samotin from StyleCaster posed, "You might want to think about whether you’re still going to want other items in the same fashion family." If you see yourself wanting something more elaborate or special in the near future, then put that one down and wait till something shows up that's worth the spending ban.
4. Does It Fit?
Not "does it fit well enough," but "does it fit to the point where I feel hot and will wear it out right this evening?" If it feels too short, too baggy, pinches in key points, or makes you feel not like your best self, toss it. You won't end up wearing it anyway. Style writer Kat Collings from WhoWhatWear smartly said, "Buying a size smaller to inspire weight loss is just plain delusional. We’ve done it enough to know." Learn from those past mistakes!
5. Do You Already Have Something That Does The Same Trick?
Say you're thinking of buying a nude cross-body bag... but you already have a black one that literally goes with everything in your closet and doesn't make any less of a wow-factor. Or you're looking at a slinky dress, but you already have a tight jumpsuit that gives you the same feelings when you look in the mirror. The trick here isn't to only look if you have a similar item in your closet, but also if you have an item that already does the same trick. Financial writer Trent Hamm at savings website The Simple Dollar suggested asking, "Do I really need this clothing item? Are there items I already have that fill up that perceived gap in my wardrobe?" If so, then wait till something completely new in vibe comes up. It'll be worth it.
6. Do I Already Have Stuff I Can Wear It With?
Collings advised, "Quick! Think of three outfits you’d wear with this piece. Can’t do it? Put it back on the rack." There's nothing worse than buying a dress and having no shoes to pair it with, or getting a blouse without a single bottom that will match. That way, you're only making more holes in your closet. Resist that rookie mistake.
7. Can I Get It At The Thrift Store?
OK, so you won't be able to buy a particular Topshop two-piece dress in a thrift store, but if you're thinking of purchasing a more common, basic piece chances are you can find its duplicate at the thrift store for a fraction of the price. There are always crop tops, turtlenecks, jeans you could cut into shorts, and solid-color dresses and skirts in thrift stores. You just have to look. Hamm pointed out, "start at the low end and don’t ignore used items." And pro tip: If you go to a wealthier neighborhood, you'll have more choice pickings.
8. Get Real: Is This An Impulse Buy?
When you're constantly bombarded with email coupons and red sale posters in display windows, it can be hard not to fall into the siren song that is a mid-season sale. So to put things into perspective, ask yourself if you'd buy the item in question if it was full price. If not, then this could just be the rush of the hunt taking over your judgement. Samotin pointed out, "you might want to step away from the computer for a few hours and revisit the item when your dopamine levels recede. After all, most impulse buys end up causing serious cases of buyer’s remorse. Don't fall for that trick.
9. Is It Going To Be Too Hard To Take Care Of?
Does it require hand washing and you hate that more than scrubbing the shower? Does it have a lot of sequins that could fall loose? Material that easily stains? Collings advised, "You know yourself best. When was the last time you went to the dry cleaners? More than a month ago? Skip the silk." You know how far you're willing to take care of your clothes — don't work under any delusions.
10. Can I Get A Discount Online?
Say you've pretty much convinced yourself to get the piece — there's no reason why you can't get some moolah off of the asking price. That's why you need to take out your phone and do a quick sweep for coupons. Or better yet, see if you could find it even cheaper at a different store. Hamm advised, "There are very few purchases out there that can’t be chopped in price by finding a discount online or a low-cost website somewhere on the internet." And it'll make it less of a guilty purchase that way.
11. Am I Just Copying?
While it's completely fine to pull inspiration from style stars and fashion bloggers, you might find yourself tempted to buy something just because you saw someone else wear it. Why is that a problem? You might not actually like the style/ be brave enough to wear it out/ have it fit into your level of comfort. Samotin recommended, "splurge when it’s something you really want, not something you really want to copy." If the piece really does put hearts into your eyes, go for it. But if you find yourself wavering, unsure where you'll wear it to or already pulling at the hem in the changing room, don't let your inspiration cloud your judgement.
With these questions in mind, you'll know just what to do with that piece you're on the fence over. Here's to kicking buyer's remorse goodbye!
Images: @itsmekellieb/ Instagram