5 Tips to Stop Wasting Money on Clothes You Won’t Wear

by Tracy · 8 comments

If you’re like most people, you only wear a small percentage of your wardrobe. The rest is stuff that doesn’t really fit you, doesn’t flatter you, is out of style or things you’ve forgotten about.

Before you buy another piece of clothing, here are some questions you should ask yourself before spending money to bring home yet another thing you never wear.

Am I buying it because it’s cheap or do I really want it? It’s so easy to get carried away when faced with clothing that’s on deep discount. Always keep in mind that you’re not saving whatever the reduction is, you’re spending whatever it is you’re paying.

Even dirt cheap clothes and shoes take up room in your closet and dressers and add to the clutter in your life.

Does this fit me? Really fit me? Buy clothes that flatter the size you are now, not the size you used to be or wish you were.  Not all styles will look good on all body types, so have a good look in a three way mirror to make sure it accents your figure.

How comfortable am I wearing this? Think about your favorite outfits. Chances are good they not only look great, they feel great, too. No matter how attractive an outfit or pair of shoes is, if they feel uncomfortable, you won’t be likely to wear them.

Pay attention to things like fabric that rides up, itchy seams, sleeves that are too short or too long, pants that reveal too much, blouses that pop open and other common clothes mishaps. Don’t just put on the clothes in the dressing room, try bending over, sitting, pretending to climb stairs and other common motions that reveal flaws in how a piece of clothing fits.

When and where will I wear this? Often we buy clothes without thinking about when we’d be able to wear them. Be wary of buying clothing on the off chance that just the right occasion will come up. On the other hand, if you do have a closet full of clothes you never wear because they are too nice, what are you saving them for? Try wearing them or make the decision to sell/donate/give them away instead of leaving them in closet limbo.

Do I already have a version of this? It’s surprising how many people buy virtually the same pair of black pants or v neck t shirt over and over again. Don’t keep buying the same things, save your clothing dollars on things that will stand out.

Shopping for new clothes and shoes is fun, but don’t let your enthusiasm talk you into buying more clothes you don’t need, won’t wear that will only take up valuable space in your home.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Amamda February 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm

As I like to say “half off ugly is still ugly.” A good rule of thumb is if don’t love it enough to pay full price for it then it really isn’t a bargain. Clothing does not get prettier as it gets marked down!

Lassie February 15, 2011 at 7:47 am

Come with me, come see the items in my Closet of Dreams! Right this way….all my half-off bargains, all my great finds from Lord & Taylor, from Macy’s, from little boutiques and even the outlet mall, all my Big Bargains…they’re all here!…Look at this sheer, aqua silk chiffon blouse, marked down to $30 from $250! All I need is some kind of camisole underneath and some kind of dressy skirt and killer shoes, and I will be the belle of the ball if I’m ever invited to a wedding! …Oh, here’s a white linen pantsuit, a size too small, but I can lose weight if I’m ever invited to a cocktail party at the yacht club, right?…Three cashmere sweaters, $15 each, white, powder blue, pink – still in the bag. I can probably wear these around the house, since I work as a landscape gardner…A little black crepe dress with spaghetti straps, a steal at $50, perfect for the museum opening. Too bad I’ve been a disabled widow for 10 years and no escort for this event is going to show up any time soon!….Look, light gray pants with a built-in tummy trimmer! Yes, I’ll wedge myself in those, as soon as June, July, and August are over….Nice selection of tank tops here! I really must take a day off and go bra shopping to I can find something to wear underneath besides my ancient Hanes sports bra….A slim black pencil skirt, a must in every wardrobe, got it half-off at Ann Taylor, back in the last century – but if I need it, I got it hanging there!…and here we have a red silk nightgown, originally $300, got it for $10! Yes, it’s a size 2 and I’m a size 12, but it looks lovely there in my special lingerie drawer, doesn’t it? What else is in there..Oh, look at these beautiful Victoria’s Secret bras, I have half a dozen, got a real deal! They hurt to wear, but they are pretty, aren’t they? And these beautiful thongs to match. Maybe I could put on a set and paint my toenails, looking all pouty like the ladies in the ads. Without any wings, alas, lol!…Here, on a big coupon day at the mall, is a brand new set of those Spanx things. And a garter belt like my mom used to wear before she was married, but sexier! (note: would look good under pencil skirt)…My newest prize – a neon green short trench coat, because EVERYONE is supposed to own a short trench coat, and this one was on sale….Now let’s move on to the shoe closet – hey, where are you going?? Come back!….

blue March 4, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Thanks for the article.

I use the cost per wear ratio. If I buy a red coat for 50$ and wear it 5 times, that is $10 a wear. If I buy a black trench coat for $200 and wear it 200 times, that is $2 a wear, making the black trench a better investment piece.

blue March 4, 2011 at 6:22 pm

oops – that was $1 a wear

milo March 26, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Lassie… ohh, giiiirl. If you don’t already, you should probably write for The Hairpin.

wilsw June 5, 2011 at 6:55 am

Shopping for new clothes is never fun. It is an exhausting exercise in self-hate. :/ I am tall and I am a woman’s size. The things made for tall women-sized women are too short in the stomach, too short in the shoulders. :/ I should probably just go look at mens clothes :/ I HATE CLOTHES SHOPPING!

N N d July 12, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Best tip: Don’t buy something you won’t wear, stupid.

BB July 26, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Always, ALWAYS, try it on. Even if it’s a basic boring T-shirt, try it on. You’ll not wear it if it’s too short/tight/whatever and it makes your arms look like chicken wings. At least you shouldn’t.

If you feel even slightly embarrassed to leave the changing room, you’ll feel terribly embarrassed in the Real World. Leave it.

Don’t buy anything retro if it’s something that was in fashion when you were a teen. It may look great on Generation Z (or whatever the letter is now), but _you_ will look as if you forgot to shop for 20+ years. Yes I’m that old…

And finally, check the label. If it requires a cleaning method that’s more costly than the cost-per-wear-ratio (thanks blue) it’s a waste.

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