Confession: I haven't always been a successful shopper. And in all honesty, I'm still not about 100% of the time. From time to time, I buy things I don't need, I let the lure of a sale get the best of me, and I spend more money than I should on something for a special event that I know I'll only wear once. That said, since turning 30, I've identified and learned from certain shopping mistakes that I spent my 20s regretting, many of which have come to improve my post–age 30 wardrobe.
In my life as a fashion editor, one of the greatest challenges of the job is practicing self-control. If you've ever worked in retail, you can probably relate to the sartorial temptation that's pretty much impossible to avoid. (For example, my recent roundup of the best Zara sale items lead to no fewer than seven new additions to my wardrobe.) Which is why it's essential that I shop wisely, especially as new financial responsibilities have a tendency to present themselves in your 30s and beyond. Accordingly, I've compiled 13 shopping mistakes that I've stopped making post-30 (99% of the time, that is).
Read on so that you, too, can avoid them and have a better wardrobe (and credit card balance).
Stopped: Buying Multiple Versions of the Same Thing
As difficult as it is to not just buy what you know and love all the time, I've found that a closet full of similar pieces leaves me feeling like I have nothing to wear every time I'm getting dressed.
Stopped: Shopping With Friends
As much as I love a second opinion from my stylish friends, no one knows my own taste, budget, and needs better than myself. I've finally come to terms with the fact that I get distracted and don't make the most focused decisions when shopping trips are also a social event.
Stopped: Buying Uncomfortable Shoes
While shoes' appearance will always be more important than comfort to me (sorry, I'm a fashion girl), I've come to realize that you can have both. As an example, I've stopped buying ultra-high stilettos and instead started spending my money on walkable block heels more often than not.
Stopped: Buying a Multitude of Dresses
I used to fill my closet with dresses that I couldn't get many wears out of before everyone I knew had seen me in them more than once. Instead, I now just purchase a couple dresses each season and spend the bulk of my budget on lower-cost-per-wear buys like jeans.
Stopped: Wasting Money on Trend-Driven Pieces
You've probably heard this many times before, but there truly can't be enough said for how much smarter it is to save your budget for investment pieces that you'll wear on repeat for years. You know, as opposed to trend-driven pieces that may not be in style next season, let alone years from now.
Stopped: Shopping for Occasions
Shopping trips with a distinct, urgent goal have always proven to be fruitless for me. These days, I make an effort to fill my wardrobe with "just in case" pieces that suit a variety of different occasions.
Stopped: Ignoring Fabrics
Especially since I do most of my shopping online, I've taught myself to always check the fabric composition before I buy. You wouldn't want to be stuck wearing a polyester dress to an outdoor wedding in August, now would you?
Stopped: Waiting for Everything to Go on Sale
Fact: Some things just don't go on sale, or they sell out in your size before they do. Accordingly, if I really love something, I don't let it get away.
Stopped: Buying Things That Don't Suit My Lifestyle
The easiest way to waste your money? Buy clothing and accessories that you don't have any use for. As much as I'd like to have a reason to own lots of fancy dresses, I'm much more likely to wear denim shorts on repeat.
Stopped: Ignoring Undergarments
It's quite easy to spend so much time focusing on what you wear on the outside that you forget about what to wear underneath your clothes. I've since learned that having suitable, comfortable undergarments that are also lovely in their own right can make all the difference in the world.
Stopped: Buying Final Sale Items
As tempting as that ultra-low sale price can be, I can't tell you how many times I've had to list a final sale item on eBay due to poor fit.
Stopped: Emotional Shopping
If you've had a bad day and need a little pick-me-up, or even if you've had a good day and need a little reward, it can be tempting to reach for your credit card. But those rewards can ultimately add up, leaving you with a slew of purchases that you don't really need.
Stopped: Sticking to Fast Fashion
While I won't be abandoning Zara or Topshop anytime soon, I've accepted that a more interesting wardrobe comes as a result of containing a variety of brands.