The ONE Critical Shopping Mistake to Avoid

Let me set a scene for you:

A friend calls (who am I kidding — no one calls anyone anymore!) texts you on Thursday morning asking if you want to meet up with the girls for Friday night dinner and drinks. You happily oblige. It’s been ages since you’ve had a girls night out!

Then you panic.

Sh*t! What do I wear?! I Have NOTHING in my closet. I hate my clothes!

Then you proceed directly to the nearest clothing store as soon as you can and begin the mad hunt for the “perfect” going out shirt.

Can you tell where this story is going?

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The most critical shopping mistake I discover among my styling clients are these one-off pieces — whether it’s a top, dress, etc. that was purchased for a specific occasion. Usually, they’re very specific and trend driven. Usually, they’re statement making in some way. Usually, they’re only worn once and relegated to the back of the closet never to be seen again.

I bet if you look in your closet right now, you’ll find at least 1-2 of these types of pieces.

Am I right, or am I right?

The root of this problematic shopping habit is that when we’re specifically buying for an event or an occasion, we’re more likely to buy something to quickly fill a void vs. buy something we truly love. It’s a quick shopping rush that’s invigorating, satisfying and yes, fun. Unfortunately, a functional wardrobe it does not build.

Instead of this last minute shopping binge, it’s better to take a long term, more thoughtful approach.

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Here’s how:

•  Each season, take inventory of what you have. Remove any items that haven’t been worn in the past year. Eliminate anything that is worn, damaged and/or no longer fits. If an item is special and warrants replacing, add it to your official seasonal shopping list.

•  Look through magazines and the internet — PINTEREST is my personal favorite — and get inspired by the trends, outfits and personal style you see! Find images that speak to your own sense of style and look to see if they can be replicated using your own wardrobe. If not, add those “missing” pieces to that shopping list.

•  Keep a running list of classic splurge items you’d like to invest in — a designer bag, special shoes, a classic blazer, etc. Each year, try to save up and treat yourself to one of those splurges you’ve been drooling over. Chances are if you’ve waited a year and STILL want that item, it’s one you’re going to love wearing for a long time to come and worth the investment.

•  Get refreshed on the 4 LOOKS EVERY WOMAN NEEDS IN HER CLOSET. Remember those 4 outfit formulas and ensure you have them all covered. If not, add the missing pieces to that shopping list!

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to a much more functional wardrobe. Next time last-minute plans pop up, I guarantee you’ll feel much more comfortable and eager to wear what you have vs. running out to buy something new!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, here are a few items that have made their way to my own shopping list this season.

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