Common Items Women Buy But Just Don’t Wear

Posted by Jill Chivers in Shop Your Wardrobe Strategies, Shopping Strategies, Shopping, Clothes and Emotions

ItemThis article is the second in a series – if you want to catch up on the first article, click here.

I was asked in a recent interview for a large fashion and style blog what the common items women buy that they just don’t wear.  My answer was shortened for that piece, so here’s my longer response. 

Common Items Women Buy But Just Don’t Wear

Item #1: Items bought on sale

This is a big one!  It simply is a waste of money if you don’t use it, no matter what its original price tag and its eventual sale price.  A $1000 jacket reduced to $200 is a waste of that $200 if you don’t ever wear it, it doesn’t fit or you don’t feel right when wearing it.   

I know a woman who bought 4 pair of shoes on sale, all one size too small!  She justified the purchase by the significant discount she got, and somehow in the frenzy of the sale purchase, she managed to overlook the fact that the shoes were not in her size.  A complete waste of money, and an ultimately frustrating experience for her.

Understand what sales are really about and make sure every sale purchase you make is one you would make if the item were full priced.

Items purchased on sale can seem like a bargain, but end up being lemons

Items purchased on sale can seem like a bargain, but end up being lemons

Item #2: Items that don’t suit the wearers’ personality

This varies from woman to woman, depending on her personality.  I’ve worked with women who have rails of patterned items that they almost loathe – they can’t recall what possessed them to purchase three floral printed jackets when they don’t especially enjoy wearing nor even like floral prints.  Other women I know have too many plain items – did they really need six beige skirts?  They feel very bland and invisible wearing them and don’t need even one beige skirt, let alone six of them. 

It’s so important to know what suits your unique personality so that every single item you bring into your wardrobe suits YOU, and makes you feel wonderful and most like your best self.    What suits you?

One of my personal failures was buying a tailoured pale pink suit in my late 20s when I was working for a huge global firm in the city.  It cost me two weeks pay but I always felt slightly ridiculous in it, and despite the fact that it fitted me physically and was beautifully made, I never got good wear and use from it, it was simply too girly for my personality. 

Iris Anfel quote

The perennial wisdom of personality dresser extraordinaire, Mrs Iris Apfel

Item #3: Items bought in a rush or that haven’t been considered from a “whole of wardrobe” perspective

Your wardrobe is precious space and every new item you bring into it should be ‘Paying its Rent’.  A colleague of mine had a habit of asking the cab driver to drive along her favourite shopping street in Melbourne and if she saw something in a window that caught her eye, she would have the cab pull over and she’d rush inside and buy the item.  That is what I call impulsive shopping!  These kinds of shopping trip are most likely to result in a mish-mash wardrobe where nothing really coordinates and you have that “how can I have nothing to wear – I have all these clothes!” feeling. 

I strongly encourage women to take a more strategic view of their wardrobes and view every new purchase with a strategic eye.  Consider these simple truths about working wardrobes, and ask these questions:

  • Will it work with my existing items? 
  • Does it fit me in every way, not just physically but my lifestyle and my personality? 
  • Does it flatter me, do I feel like a gorgeous woman in this item?  Do I feel my most stylish me?

Anything that you don’t love, that doesn’t make you feel fabulous in – leave it behind. 

Anything that doesn’t coordinate with at least three other existing items in your closet – leave it behind. 

Anything that you can’t comfortably afford – leave it behind. 

You are far better off creating a wardrobe with this attitude than a random ‘grab it and run’ approach – you’ll love the working wardrobe you create, and your wallet will thank you, too!


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