You know how it goes: You’re walking around downtown after work with a latte in your hand and the spring sun at your back when you happen to pass by a store window. A fashion mistake that will cost you some money is a-brewing. You slow down to a stroll as you glance behind you, your eyes never breaking away from the window. Your feet keep moving you forward but you take a moment to consider and then, dropping the pretense, eagerly double back. There it is, you think, the uniform you’ll be wearing practically all summer. The mannequin is wearing one popsicle colored dress or other, and you decide that you can’t possibly be expected to go out on patio brunches or rooftop bars without that on your body. So, taking a sip of your brew, you flick up your sunglasses and go inside.
And it doesn’t stop there. Once inside, you notice that that one plexi skirt you’ve been daydreaming about is finally on sale. And over there is a pleated leather midi that you’ve been thinking of getting since fall. And there? Oh! A two-piece dress set, with the cutest floral crop top. Feeling your eyes turn a little wild with the possibilities, you take a breath in an effort to calm yourself. And then dive in.
We know that scenario all too well. The siren song of the midi skirt plays its tune and we come running. Which is a bit perplexing when you’re standing in front of your closet on a Monday morning in nothing but your underwear, and scowling over the fact that you have nothing to wear. How? How does that happen when you seem to be coming home heavy with bags every weekend?
It’s because you’re shopping without a plan, and the off the cuff approach is actually costing you more money than you realize. When you have a bunch of separates but no pieces that could actually be mixed and matched, you’ll be pushed to go back shopping again, and the cycle will continue.
But that’s okay. I’m here to help! The first step is identifying the problem. So here are six fashion mistakes that are costing you extra money — and tips on how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: You Haven’t Identified The Holes In Your Closet
Listen, I get it. When you see a tropical print mini dress hanging all pretty on a hanger, it’s like hearts pop into your eyes and you can’t help but scoop it into your arms and waltz all the way to the cash register. While that’s something that’ll inevitably happen a couple of times, the key is to not let it happen all the time. In the end, what will happen is you’ll come home with said dress and notice, with some disappointment, that you don’t actually have anything to wear with it. Which means you’ll have to buy new pieces just so your dress has a moment to shine, which will cost you some much needed grocery money.
Instead of focusing on those playful, out of the box pieces, shift gears and identify what necessities are missing in your wardrobe. Focus on buying things that will extend the life of your pieces and will teach you how to build outfits. For example, instead of buying yet another floral dress, maybe focus on getting a long cardigan that could change the look of both maxis and minis, or a cargo vest that could be layered on top of both strapless frocks or striped sweaters. Try to focus on items that’ll help stretch your wardrobe and allow you to mix and match in multiple different ways. To help put it into perspective, Michael Kors says it beautifully:
"70 percent of the clothes you own should be meat and potatoes. 30 percent should be icing and fluff — that’s color, pattern, shine, accessories. Too many women get the proportions the other way round, then can’t figure out why they can’t get dressed." — Michael Kors, Times Online
Mistake #2: You Got Swept Up In A Trend
We’ve all been there. You’re in the changing room trying on your first pair of overalls, and you’re twisting this way and that trying to convince yourself you’re okay with what you’re looking at. "Everyone’s wearing it," you think, narrowing your eyes at your bum. "It’s so cute to style, I think, erm, I think I can pull it off." But you’re not confident about it, and you know it.
But Beyoncé is playing on the speakers and you’re thinking of that one blogger that looked amazing in the same pair just in heels, and before you know it you’re fishing out your credit card. Fast forward three months later and the overalls are still hanging in your closet with their tags on.
It’s easy to get excited over a trend and want to put your own spin on it, but you have to be honest with yourself. Do you feel comfortable in it? Do you think you can sit through a whole dinner without fidgeting in it? Do you think you can confidently walk to the train without thinking everyone’s staring at you? Do you like the way it sits on your body? If one of these answers is no, then you should probably put the piece down. That doesn’t mean you should give up on the trend — it just means you need to find a different version of the style that you’re more comfortable with! Patience friend, you’ll find it.
Mistake #3: You Buy The Cheapest Version
When out shopping, it’s usually the case that you come across one style at two different price points. Just imagine that you’re at the shoe department, standing in your socks as you have two different shoes in your hands. They’re both fringed bluchers, but the one on the right is $140 and the one on the left is for $35 (and not even on sale may I add!). They both look really similar, and would pretty much give the same feel to an outfit. Smiling, you put down the pricier pair and nod your head in satisfaction. You always manage to find the best deals. Now where did you leave your actual shoes?
While you might have saved yourself a cool hundred this time, you better believe you’ll be in that same shoe department about this time next year, going through the same thing. Those shoes aren’t going to last you the season, sister friend. And while that might be completely fine with a shoe trend you’re just dabbling in, that won’t work best for those pairs you’re planning to walk in day in and day out for years.
It might feel painful going to the cash register with something over the hundred dollar price point, but in the end you’ll actually be saving yourself money. One pair of shoes is cheaper than five pairs that were replaced, after all.
Mistake #4: You Forget About Your Own Personal Style
Sometimes you see an inspired picture in a magazine or on Instagram and all bets are off: You now need to own that same sequined pencil skirt or you won’t be able to go on. And so you go and buy it. But the thing is, you like a nice loose fit when it comes to your skirts. And this one is a snug, body-hugging little number that accentuates all your assets. And, oh wait, you just remembered that you feel sort of, well, self-conscious when you wear something flashy and outside of your neutral color palette. And this skirt has mermaid shades of green in the form of sequins that practically throw up jazz hands.
Every time you put it on at home to go out, you go as far as your elevator before doubling back with self-doubts.
So you see the skirt was good in theory, but not in reality. Sometimes you come across something that’s nearly soul stirring and you just have to buy it, but you forget to take a moment and actually think if it fits your own personal style. Say you love vintage but you were swayed into buying a leather jacket. The trouble is, you have nothing to go with that leather jacket. None of your dresses work well with it, and if you’re being completely honest, you feel more like Danny than Sandy while wearing it.
We all have tastes that are well defined when it comes to what we feel our best and most comfortable in. If it’s a piece that’s a radical stray from that, then chances are you won’t be giving it too much air-time.
Mistake #5: You Buy Something Just Because It Fits
You came out shopping with a mission: To find yourself a midi skirt and you’re not leaving until you find said midi skirt. Sometimes such determination will work, but for the love of god don’t buy something just because it vaguely looks like what you were looking for. Just because you can zip something up all the way doesn’t mean that it’s the right piece for you. Maybe the material isn’t the best quality, maybe it lays weird against the curve of your hips, heck, maybe it’s not the exact color you were after. Don’t buy an item just because it’s sort of kind of what you were after, because sooner or later you’ll come across the version you were looking for and replace it. Which means you just wasted your money. Be patient and wait till you find something that hits every single mark.
Mistake #6: You Don’t Dress For Your Lifestyle
Maybe you’re a homebody who enjoys a cozy night in, or a quiet night out at a trattoria. You’re not much for the loud hum of dimly lit bar corners, so you probably don’t need all those flirty party dresses you keep buying for some reason. It’s just something that you thought a girl should own, even if said girl never really wants to wear them.
It can be tempting to run the whole way to the cash register when you find a piece that you love, but just because you love it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a chance to wear it. Keep your lifestyle in mind when building your wardrobe. A wild card or two is perfectly fine, but when you keep buying for a version of you that doesn’t exist (either any longer or yet) you’ll find yourself unhappy with the options you’re left with in the morning. Be honest with yourself and make the version of your life you now have the most beautiful — and well dressed!
Images: Fotolia; Giphy