Wardrobe 101

8 Questions to Ask B4 You Buy!

Happy day, reader dear!

Do you love to shop for clothing? Or hate it? I find most people are at one extreme or the other. With a new shoulder season fast approaching (fall for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, spring in the Southern), it’s a good time to think about a wardrobe refresh. I’m not talking about an overhaul, or throw it all out and start fresh, I mean a refresh. A few key pieces that will make your trusty basics feel interesting again.

If you’ve been here any time at all, you know I am a HUGE proponent of wardrobe planning and smart shopping. Smart shopping doesn’t always mean bargain hunting, but it does mean buying pieces that you know you will get your money’s worth from… Pieces that will bless you and your budget with a low Cost Per Wear. Regardless of your shopping M.O., these 8 questions are good ones to ask before you make any clothing purchase!

1. Does it fit?

Does it fit you well? If not, are you willing to have it altered? If you aren’t willing to alter it for great fit, you don’t love it enough to drop your hard earned money on it! Does that sound harsh? It’s not. Ill fit is one of the main reasons people leave clothes unworn in the closet! Note: Just because you can get into it doesn’t mean it fits. Ignore the number on the tag. I’ve fallen prey to this one before. I bet you may have as well…

2. Does it make me happy?

Unless you have just fled natural disaster and need to cover your nakedness, happy is important. The clothes that don’t make you happy will hang in your closet (or lay in your drawer) unworn. Buying clothes you don’t wear is like setting fire to your money… The cost per wear of an item you never wear, no matter how inexpensive, is TOO high. If you were to review it for happy (or Spark Joy if Marie is your thing), would it get at least 4 Stars?

Not everything will be a 5, but it is NOT worth spending money on something less than a 4!

3. Does it flatter?

Is the color good for you? Is the shape? Does it make the best of your assets? Do the hems and other horizontal details end in places you are most narrow? These are a few of the flattery questions you should ask yourself when you try on that dress/pair of jeans/ tee/etc. Take a selfie in the dressing room mirror, and look at how you like it then! You may find that seeing through the eye of an uninterested observer (your camera lens) gives you a very different perspective…

4. Does it align with my lifestyle needs?

Avoid the wishful wardrobing. Let’s say you’re an empty nester with a very casual alcohol-free lifestyle. Is that drop-dead gorgous red satin wiggle dress (No matter how amazing and inexpensive.) going to see the light of day? Or maybe I should ask about the stars of night?

Maybe you are a hard-driving 60 hour workweek professional. You wear business suits for work and jeans and tees on the weekend. Will you ever wear that boho maxi-dress that would be perfect for sitting by the fire and puttering at the farmer’s market at your imaginary mountain retreat? If buying it will make you take the week off, do it! But if you know you can’t take that week for the next two years? Leave it behind. It doesn’t need to taunt you from the closet rail…

5. Do I already have this (or something so similar as to be interchangeable) in my wardrobe?

How many pair of jeans do you have? Or black pants? Or white tee shirts? Or, or, or… Most of us have multiples of certain pieces in our wardrobes, and constantly reach for the same one or two. Buying more means more options you won’t select over your known favorite. If you do have something similar, are you willing to part with it to bring this one in? Are you replacing a loved and well worn piece? Then go for it! Otherwise, don’t bring home another…

‘Nuf said?

6. Does this suit the woman described by my Style Cocktail?

Don’t have a Style Cocktail? Read this.

7. Does it play well with others?

By play-well-with-others, I’m asking “Can you imagine wearing it AT LEAST 3 different ways?” Wearing it with three different pair of jeans doesn’t count! The exception to this is Special Occasion Wear, and if you have built yourself a Special Occasion Capsule, you will get to wear that piece again. And again. And again! Avoid buying one-wear-wonders and look for pieces you can reuse, restyle, rewear, and repurpose.

8. Can I pay for it? Now? Not on credit.

No clothing is worth going into debt over. If what’s in the stores isn’t friendly to your budget, try consignment or thrift. (Wardrobe Budget? YES!) But be picky! (I prefer the adjective selective.) Go in with a list and a plan. Just because it’s inexpensive doesn’t mean you should buy extra.

If the answer to any of the eight questions is no, then that piece hasn’t earned the right to be in your personal boutique! (Or in the case of number 8, it’s just not time. Yet.)

How about you? How do you shop? Do you shop mindfully, asking questions as you go? Or is picking up pieces on a whim your preference? No judgement here. If that works for you and makes you and your finances happy, go for it! Let me know in the comments below… I do so love to hear from you!

Stylishly yours

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