We’ve all been there, getting back from the shops with your new clothes and instantly regretting your purchases. You may have clothes in your wardrobe with the tags still on because you don’t know how to wear them or don’t really want them but feel guilty about throwing them away. First of all, you need to remove those regrettable purchases from your wardrobe (read my tips for getting rid of unwanted clothes) there is no point in keeping clothes you never wear. Next time you’re shopping ask yourself these questions to make sure you never regret a purchase again.
Where is it made?
Does it fit me?
Is it comfortable?
Am I just buying this because it’s on sale?
This will depend on the item and your budget but you should probably put down that £500 t-shirt but maybe keep looking at the £500 wool coat. Think about the cost per wear of an item before buying and remember if it’s out of budget then you should leave it in the store.What can I wear it with?
You should be able to wear it with pieces you already own, if it doesn’t work which what you already have it’ll either sit unloved in your wardrobe or you will waste money buying extra clothes just to go with it.
Where can I wear it?
If you never go to formal events there is absolutely no point in buying a ballgown no matter how pretty it is. Everything you buy should work with your lifestyle and the places you actually go, not a fantasy life you make up in the changing room.
Is it my style?
You normally wear simple monochrome pieces but find yourself looking at a floral blouse, are you really going to wear that blouse? You can admire pieces which don’t fit your style but let’s face it there isn’t much point in buying them because you won’t wear them.
Does it fill a wardrobe gap?
Will this piece fill in a gap in your wardrobe or do you already have similar at home? For example, I already have a black leather jacket at home so don’t need to buy another one, no matter how cute it looks.
What is it made of?
The fabric is really important when it comes to the comfort, fit and quality of an item. Look for natural fabrics if you can, and try to avoid too many synthetic fabrics. Make sure you feel the fabric of an item before buying.
Am I getting it because of the brand name?
Brands have quite a powerful effect on our purchases. Are you buying something just because you think the brand is cool?
Is it too high maintenance?
Check the washing instructions before buying. Are you really going to drop that silk blouse off at the dry cleaners after every wear? Let’s face it we’re all a little bit lazy and the clothes you can throw in the washing are the ones you end up wearing again and again.
Will you have to get it tailored?
Making small alterations is fine, but do you have time to drop it off at the tailors or can you do it yourself? Remember tailoring adds to the cost of the item so you should take this into account before buying.
Will I still wear this in 20 years?
Is this a timeless piece which you will want to wear for years to come or is it a trendy piece which you will be bored of after a few months.
Will I wear it at least 30 times?
Do you think you’ll get at least 30 wears out of this piece or will you only wear it a couple of times? You can read more about the 30 times challenge here.
What are the environmental consequences?
The fashion industry is the second highest polluter in the world (second only to oil and gas) so the environmental consequences of that new t-shirt could be high. Try to buy second hand or vintage when you can. Look out for organic cotton and avoid synthetic fabrics.
Can I return it?
What is the store’s return policy in case you do change your mind? And if you do get it home and find it doesn’t work with your wardrobe make sure you take the time to return it.
Is this a quality piece?
There is no point in spending your money on poor quality clothes. Look for high-quality pieces when your out shopping. Read my guide to buying quality clothes.
Am I trying to convince myself I need this?
We’ve all found ourselves stood in a changing room wearing a beautiful dress which deep down you know you’ll never wear trying to convince yourself you really need it. If any part of you needs convinced it’s not for you, admire it in the changing room then put it back.
Do you love it?
Sometimes we just fall in love with a piece and can’t get it out of our heads. If this is the case and you can afford it (and it you’ve already asked the questions above) go ahead and buy it.