12 Mistakes You May Be Making When Clothes Shopping

This post was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend. She sent me a picture of a pair of pants she bought, and asked what she should wear with them to an event she was going to that very day. I believe it was this pair in the Bronze Glow.

Cute pants, but they definitely require a certain top to make a complete outfit.

I first suggested the obvious (to me) color choices — a light neutral top, such as white or ivory, or a coordinating top such as the one the model is wearing. Black or navy are possibilities, but may be too heavy for this time of year.

After pondering for a moment, I told her they strike me as a pair of pants I would pair with a printed blouse that has some of that coral/rust color in it. And that’s when it occurred to me that she had purchased these pants without thinking about what she would wear with them.

To clarify, I asked, “What were you planning to wear with them when you bought them?”

And she confirmed with, “No idea!”

Mind. Blown.

I would never buy a pair of pants without at least some idea of what would wear with them, but I guess that’s a shopping strategy I learned somewhere along the way, and now I just take it for granted that everyone operates that way.

That’s got me thinking, I’m sure she’s not alone. Women must do that all the time. And as I thought about interactions in our Facebook Group and shopping with my daughters, there are quite a few “shopping mistakes” women make that make it harder for them to put outfits together and build a functional wardrobe that works for and not against them. And so, this post was born!

12 Mistakes You May Be Making When You Shop

similar pullover // similar shorts

These are in no particular order, and some may seem redundant, but they all address a slightly different mindset women tend to have when they shop for clothes. On the flip side, there are strategies you can employ that make shopping for clothes more efficient and successful, and who doesn’t want to save time and money?

Even if you enjoy shopping, but somehow seem to end up with too many clothes that you don’t end up wearing, this information might be helpful. At the very least, it’s food for thought.

#1. Buying an item when you don’t know what you will wear with it… // I don’t always shop with a plan or a specific goal in mind, but I always think about what I will wear with an item of clothing when I buy it. Otherwise, it go unworn, or it will create unnecessary stress when I go to get dressed, trying to figure out what to wear with it.

Even worse, this creates a domino effect where you end up buying more pieces to go with said item. That’s not always a bad thing; sometimes I do buy an item knowing I will need to purchase more clothes to complete an outfit, but I always think about it and understand those implications when I make the purchase.

#2. Not having a plan… // As I said, I don’t always shop with a plan. Sometimes I just go to the mall just to see what’s new and see where the spirit leads; in fact, that’s how I’ve discovered some of my favorite wardrobe items. (Looking at you, Mother Insiders…. I’m going on my 3rd summer with these, and they were a total impulse buy back in the Spring of 2021.)

Mother Insider (29) // Sanctuary tee (M) // Dolce Vita sandals (8)

But, know that shopping without a plan is a sure-fire way to eat up your budget on impulse buys and a good way to end up not having what you need to make complete outfits, or with too many clothes that don’t work for your lifestyle.

When I do make a purchase like this one, I take it home and try it on with items in my closet to see if it will work for me, and then make myself wear it or return it before the return window expires.

#3. Shopping the clearance rack first… // I’ve never been one to shop the clearance racks, and I thought it was because I’m lazy and don’t enjoy “the thrill of the hunt.” But then I heard Jen at Everyday Style School say, “The clearance section is the cause of your wardrobe problems, not the solution.” That was a lightbulb moment for me.

After all, clothes end up on the clearance rack because they didn’t sell well for one reason or another. You might think you’re getting “a good deal” but those purchases often go unworn, or you end up spending more on clothes to go with them… which makes them not so much of a bargain after all.

Not to say you can’t find a hidden gem on the clearance rack from time to time, but that’s not the place to build a functional wardrobe of quality pieces that you will love to wear.

#4. Buying something just because “it’s a good deal”… // This goes along with #3, but it’s a little different because you can fall into this trap in all sorts of situations, not just in the clearance section.

It’s not a good deal if you don’t need it, and if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle or your body type or your personal style goals. This is one of the ways so many women end up with “a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.”

#5. Not shopping your closet first… // If you don’t know what you have when you go shopping, you’ll end up with too many items that serve the same purpose, which can be overwhelming when you go to get dressed for the day.

Be sure to shop your closet first, and if you don’t have an organized closet that allows you to see what you have, consider tackling that project before shopping for more clothes. And if you have done a good closet purge in a while, you may like my post, How to Purge Your Closet & Love Your Wardrobe Again.

#6. Shopping without knowing your measurements… // This applies to all types of shopping, but especially online shopping. I never cease to be amazed by how many women shop without knowing their ideal pants rise, inseam measurement, shirt length, etc. When you know these measurements, it eliminates SO many unnecessary purchases (and returns.)

See my post: How to Shop for Jeans Online: Denim Measurements & Fabric Composition for more information on that.

#7. Shopping for a specific occasion without the proper shoes and/or undergarments… // When you are shopping for a specific occasion, whether it be at the mall or trying things on at home from online orders, always be sure to wear a good fitting bra. In fact, wear a good fitting bra no matter what!

And always try on clothes with the shoes and undergarments you plan to wear with them, if you have them. You will get a much better idea of how the clothes fit, and what else you need to purchase to complete the outfit.

When I go to the mall, intending to try on clothes, I make sure to fix my hair and put on makeup, and I try to wear shoes that are practical for the type of outfits I’ll be trying on. If it’s a special occasional dress, I might even bring along my favorite shapewear and throw a pair of heels in my tote.

I also recommend trying on clothes when you have your hair and makeup done and are feeling good about yourself. Otherwise, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel like nothing looks quite right.

#8. Buying multiples… // You know how it goes, you see that table full of the perfect basic t-shirt in a myriad of colors, and you start gathering them up. I could use this and this and this… and you get them home and put them in your closet, but you find that you don’t reach for any of them, or you end up wearing one over and over.

I’ve learned that it’s a lot more fun to get dressed when each piece of clothing in my closet feels unique and special, so now I’m very strict about limiting myself to one, MAYBE two of a specific clothing item, but only if it really is a unicorn. I thought I had this nailed down, but I fell back into the trap of buying multiples two summers ago with that ATM tee that I love.

ATM Slub Jersey Schoolboy V-Neck (M) // MOTHER Hustler in Au Revoir (29)

I had the white one, which I wore ALL the time, and when I saw a bunch of colors on major markdown at Saks OFF 5TH, I bought it up in 4 colors. They were great neutrals – navy, black, olive, and the white (I wanted a replacement in case I stained the one I had) – but I just didn’t reach for them. They hung in my closet mocking me for months.

They made it through about 3 closet clean-outs (which I perform ruthlessly and often) because I felt guilty, and they were such nice shirts, but finally I admitted defeat and sold all but the white one. (That is the only one I wore more than once.)

I did end up staining the first white one, and I was SO glad I had a backup of this workhorse in my closet. So sometimes it does pay to buy a backup, as there is an exception to every rule, but you have to be very careful giving in to this one!

#9. Buying clothes that don’t work for your body type or the size you are right now… // If you don’t understand your body type and what looks best on you, stop right here and sign up for Adore Your Wardrobe or the Everyday Style School Dress Your Body Shape Masterclass. I’ve done both, and they’re different approaches, but I learned so much from each, it’s hard to even quantify.

Shopping without understanding your body type and what works for it and against it is like diving for a needle in a haystack… you have about a 5% of finding what you’re looking for.

Likewise, buying clothes in the wrong size because “I’m going to lose 5 pounds” is only going to frustrate you and make you feel down about yourself. Once you learn how to dress your unique body, the one you have right now, and you will find shopping and getting dressed every day so much more satisfying and enjoyable.

#10. Buying clothes that don’t fit your lifestyle… // What’s the point of having a closet full of clothes you love if you have nowhere to wear them? Stocking your closet with clothes that don’t fit your lifestyle is a waste of money and closet real estate.

As for me, I absolutely love cute “going out” clothes – date night tops, sky-high heels, flare jeans – but I rarely go anywhere that requires that type of ensemble. I’m also drawn to luxe fabrics and designer bags and shoes, and I often look wistfully at those items as I walk through the mall. But the fact is, I don’t live that life. Even if I can afford much of it, it makes no sense to buy it.

That doesn’t mean I don’t buy things I love; I just buy things I love that I will be able to wear. Because I rarely have the opportunity dress up, most of my clothing is very casual, but I still pay attention to fit and quality and buy clothes that make me happy.

Likewise, if you once had a job with a professional or business casual dress code, and now you’re a stay-at-home mom with triplet toddlers, stop buying business casual clothing, and instead, stock your closet with casual clothing that fits your current lifestyle.

In a nutshell, be sure to buy clothes that fit YOUR life RIGHT NOW, not the life you want to have… or the life you once had.

#11. Buying clothes that don’t match for your personal style goals… // This one piggybacks on #10. If you don’t know your personal style, I highly recommend the Everyday Style School Signature Style Masterclass. The Adore Your Wardrobe teaches this, as well. Ever since I took the time to come up with 3 words to describe my personal style goals (polished, modern & understated) I’ve gotten so much better at shopping for items that I actually wear. I also consider these words when I put outfits together, and reassess until I feel like it fits those three criteria.

It’s entirely possible to have clothing in your closet that works for your lifestyle and your body, but just doesn’t make you look like you want to look… and you just won’t reach for those items. So if you have a lot of things in your closet that you like and look good on you, but you can’t figure out why you don’t wear them, this might be why.

#12. Buying to fill an emotional need… // This touches more on mindset and the psychology of shopping, but it’s so important. We often joke about “retail therapy” but it’s a real thing, and it can be a real problem for some people. I just linked to two interesting articles, but suffice it to say, if you are shopping to fill an emotional need, you may well end up with a bunch of stuff you don’t wear.

If you do that very often, you’ll quickly end up with that infamous “closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.” And then you will feel obligated to wear these imperfect impulse purchases, even if they don’t really look good on you or work with the rest of your wardrobe, which just leads to more guilt and frustration, and more shopping… it’s a vicious cycle. Beware of shopping to fill an emotional need.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you fall into any of these traps? Do you have any other shopping strategies to share?

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photos: Alison Cornell

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78 Responses

  1. Great post Jo-Lynne. I have fallen for more than one of these. I need your little voice in my head when I shop. Thank you for the reminders to be a mindful shopper.

  2. Great ideas!! Unfortunately, I am guilty of a few of these. This post makes me really think about what I am buying.


  3. This was a great pos! I have also taken AYW and learned so much. I think I’ll try the everyday style classes. I try very hard to stick to mindful shopping and planning outfits but I realized with your post I don’t always stick to my style. Thanks!

  4. #4 all day long! Those Memorial Day sale emails filled my inbox. I made myself delete before I got tempted. Full disclosure: I bought something and then I deleted. Sigh

  5. What a GREAT post! I need to read this at the start of every season!! Case in point – that really nice looking green rain jacket that you have from Loft! I purchased it at 50% off a month and a half ago. I’ve yet to wear it. Now I’m looking to see if the return window is still open……
    And the tee’s in multiple colors – guilty. Just did that last month – still have 2 that I haven’t reached for. At my age, you’d think I’d learn! Hah! Apparently not!

  6. Bravo post…..that’s all I’m going to say (I’m guilt of a “few”).

    Thanks and have a wonderful day, while I attempt to do a little closet cleaning/organizing-I’ve been needing to do this.

  7. Great post! Comment about the clearance racks…never thought about it in quite that way! So true.
    So……what did your friend end up wearing? Her pants were very cute. Can you link them?

  8. This is a very good article . I can identify with a few. Thank you for doing it. Must share with my friends.

  9. Fantastic post! Lots of good food for thought there, particularly the clearance rack. Some stores have better clearance racks than others. Most I ignore, a few are worth a glance for buried treasure but generally just a bunch a nothing I need or want.
    Thank you for your honesty in admitting your own slip-ups and efforts to make us all better & wiser shoppers.

    1. Great article! One of my biggest ah-ha moments recently was realizing that my “real life” is actually very seasonal. Even as a retired couple, our summers are much more casual than our winters; filled with lake days and outdoor activities such as hiking and biking. We rarely eat out in the warmer months unless it’s a super laidback outdoor seating-type place. Unless we have a wedding or other special event planned, I have zero need for dressier Summer things. Come Fall, we will be attending Broadway Series shows, eating at nicer restaurants etc and I’ll actually get some use out of those outfits that are a little bit extra.

  10. Excellent post and awesome reminders! I have fallen into everyone of these traps at one time or another.

  11. Great article, and very timely, with all the Memorial Day sales being continued for a day or two. I am the “Clearance Rack ” shopper, it’s first area I go to in a store, so I know I need to look at new release items, to stay current. The best advice I received -years ago- was from my loving husband, he said to quit buying single items, buy an entire outfit. Because I was finding “treasures/bargains” but then nothing went with them and I spent more money for something to “go with” the bargain. That piece of advice I use frequently. Have a blessed week.

  12. I can’t tell you how much I needed to read this. I feel like you have figuratively taken me by the shoulders and shook me. Of course, I really did know all of these things and did it so well. Before. Before my cancer and 3 surgeries for that, chemo, then a hip replacement surgery and in December major back surgery. I used to be a gym rat and had a different body. I started slowly walking in January and am now to the point I am getting back into favorite clothes little by little. I had been buying a size up and bought more clothes than I needed—I think to feed my emotions. I need to put a sharp hold on my spending and start getting rid of the clothes as they start getting too big for me. A part of me has been thinking “but what if I need the bigger size again?” and also, I really like some of the clothes I purchased in the bigger size and it’s hard to let go of them and not worth altering them. But you gave me the wake up call I needed and I really want to thank you for this post. However, the Nordstrom Anniversary sale in July might be a problem, but I will try to ask myself those questions before I purchase anything!

    1. Just hang them in another closet in your house or put them in a bin in storage and label them. You can always retrieve them if you want them, but getting them out of your closet, woman, getting dressed on a daily basis, much easier and more enjoyable.

  13. Great post! #1 . When I buy new pants I think I’ll buy a new top to go with it….somewhere or sometime. I don’t usually think of what I have in my closet or buy a top when I’m getting the pants. WHY ??? IDK.

  14. Great post!! Guilty of a couple these. One thing I started doing was jotting down on a 3×5 card things I find I’m missing or need to get replaced as I’m trying to dress. This helps me when shopping as I often forget these things once I’m at the store.

  15. Wow!!!! I think I flunked this test. LOL I love this post. I have been thinking of this topic for along time now. I tend to have a closet full all the time and only wear about half of it or less and I know why. I’ve got to shop more for my life style etc. etc. etc. I’ve learned a lot from you, but can fall into that trap of shopping the sales because its a great deal without thinking of if I need it etc. I’m working now on cleaning out my closet from things I don’t love and thinking more to fill the holes in my closet. A good example of me falling into a trap is I like Cyndi Spivey’s style, but it really isn’t me. I feel to “precious” in her style, the word you use. But, I’ll order something she’s styled and then it sits in my closet because it doesn’t make me feel like me when I wear it. I’m still trying to figure out why I’m so drawn to that style when its not me. LOL Anyway, this is a great post and such a great reminder. I wish you would have posted it before the Memorial Day sales. LOL I hope I wear the items I purchased, for such good deals. LOL To be honest, I think following bloggers can be dangerous if we aren’t careful. Its like having a shopper for us everyday.

  16. The first thing I do is ask myself is this my color? I’m a winter. There is no need for me to purchase anything out of my color wheel because I will not reach for it. It took me awhile to figure that out

    1. Ah!!! I should’ve included that as one of the points. It’s one of those things, again, I think I just take for granted that I do out of habit. I know what colors look best on me and typically only buy those, or if I don’t, it’s intentional because I just like them, and I’m willing to sacrifice the ideal.

  17. PS I wanted to tell you I went to LOFT during this weekend and they had tee’s for good price. I bought 2 colors, with really no mindfulness of needing them etc. etc. By the time I got to the car, I was like, “Why did I buy 2 colors in the same tee?” So, I dug out the receipt, marched back into the store and decided to return one color and ended up getting a color I needed in a different style. So, I’m learning. Those big holiday sales are dangerous. Too many of the same item in the closet can make for getting bored so easy. This really was a great post. I bet it gets #1 when you rate your post.

  18. Great post today JoLynne, I’m going out shopping and lunch with a good friend today. She’s a serial shopper so I always have to be careful as she wants me to buy too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone out the next day to do returns. I’ve been better at resisting the pressure to buy these recent months.

  19. Great post! I would add, don’t buy something because it looks great on a blogger! While I love your blog Jo-Lynne, my body type is very different from yours. Thanks!

  20. Great post!
    I would never buy a piece and have no idea what I was going to wear with it, but I have fallen in the trap of the multiple tee shirts. I shop mostly online now. If I do go out to shop, I always wear makeup, simple jewelry and shoes that will go with what I’m looking for. I’m guilty of a little retail therapy! Ahhhhh, confession is good for the soul😂

  21. When I worked retail, people would always shop the clearance rack and claim “it’s such a great deal!” and purchase it. In the fitting room, I’d sometimes say “If you’re not willing to pay full price for this item, don’t buy it just because it’s on clearance.” I stick to that rule for myself now. If something I need goes on sale then it’s what I call a win! This makes my closet cost me much more, but it makes my closet wearable. This was a great post and clearly many loved it after reading all the comments!

  22. Sounds familiar to me…. I have fallen into a couple of those traps… But I have learned ( thanks to your blog) to do better in dressing myself… Great job as always Thanks for all your information……

  23. Oooohhhh going straight to the clearance rack! It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me. But there was a time when I really couldn’t afford to pay regular price. I also loved to buy clothes, so I shopped clearance and made it work. Now, I am trying not to but useless items just because they’re under $10!

    1. *buy, I mean!
      Also I would add to shopping your closet: shopping your goodwill pile haha. The number of times I’ve pulled something out of the pile in the corner of my room, worn it, and hung it back in the closet!

  24. I am still culling my closet since retirement and moving south. I need to keep going through my closet and donating clothes I had for work and colder weather. It is so hard to get rid of clothes I love and still fit, even though I will have no occasion to wear them.
    I almost never shop in stores, only online. I need to figure out what jeans I like the best and their length/rise. I am so high waisted that I no longer buy skirts at all and rarely dresses, unless there is no real waist that has to sit on my waist. The waist on most dresses is not at my waist.
    As for choosing three words, I have trouble with that one. At least your style is similar to mine, and I look at what you choose and wear to help me make some decisions (although I have to shop at a lower price range.) You give me so many ideas! Thank you!

  25. I became an “emotional shopper” during the COVID shut down. I had so many impulse buys during that time period and ironically, nowhere to wear them to. Retail therapy is a real thing and something I have to make myself conscious about. Great post!!

  26. Wow Jolynne this was so insightful. Fully agree with all the points! I think having a recently purged closet helps because you know where you truly have gaps vs what you have enough of. Like you, I keep a “maybe” bin in my closet when I purge, as well as a “5 lb” bin (anything that would fit if I lost 5 lbs, if I’d have to lose more than that to wear it, out it goes!). However I think getting these items off the hangers helps us get a true picture of our closet. I agree with you on dressing for your lifestyle but would add to splurge on things that fit your lifestyle. For a stay at home mom with toddlers, it makes more sense to splurge on athleisure than date night; for a working professional the splurges should be business not casual. Last tip I have is that I never take off tags when I first bring things home. I give myself a couple days to think on it or even try it on again. Sometimes if it’s an item I won’t wear soon, I hang it in the closet with tags on and receipt in the pocket (assuming it’s a store that would at least give me store credit). Then if I grab it a few weeks later and decide I don’t like it, I can still return it. I would like to incorporate a “new pieces” spot in my closet for these items so I don’t forget about them, although I’d have to check it often if it wasn’t front and center. Thanks again for writing this, I enjoy these type posts!

    1. Megan’s idea on new purchases is spot on, always sleep on it if unsure and place receipts with items before removing tags. Seems like my jeans are the main items I try and refresh with a special top purchase to bring new life to an outfit. I used to enjoy browsing clearance racks but not so much anymore, like you said you can end up with a lot of unworn items; besides that it is tiresome to do so. The only items I usually search for on clearance are maybe workout clothes, almost always find good quality items at a great buy; just cannot justify the high dollar ones since I don’t go out to gyms. Most of my shopping is online as my rural area just does not have shops for a lot of the brands I like. Thank goodness for Northstroms, Zappos and Amazon for their liberal return policies and wide variety of items!

  27. Great post!!!
    Tees yes multiples.. for lifestyle yes..
    No I don’t need a new floral dress,
    hardly wear them lol and too precious!
    Inseam yes how could I follow you for years
    without knowing! And last but not least
    Makeup does change how we view things and how they look.

  28. What a great post Jo-Lynne! Yes, I fall into some of those traps you mentioned. One thing I always keep in mind when I’m shopping is, is the item in one of my signature colors, which means it’s in a color that I know I look good in and enjoy wearing. If not, I don’t buy it. Now my tops are in colors I know I can wear. When I receive orders, if I don’t love the item on me, it goes back. I’m done with having clothes that are just ‘okay.’

  29. Loved this post! Over the years I have made all of these clothing mistakes. I absolutely love clothes and beautiful fabrics so it is easy for me to fall into all of these traps. You do such a great job of knowing your style and what fits your lifestyle and sticking with it. Thanks so much for this advice.


  30. Love this post! It is so easy to lose sight of a whole outfit when shopping, and buy only cute single items that do not coordinate with what is at home. Thank you!

  31. This is a great post! I struggle with having a wardrobe I love. I still settle for buying things or keeping things I don’t LOVE! Im going to check out the other course you mentioned and keep working on a clean out. Thanks!

  32. I can tell this is going to be one of your most popular blogs! I am guilty of a few of these but I’m hoping that I’m improving . I’ve gotten rid of so many things over the years that I never or hardly wore because they were an impulse purchase or didn’t fit my lifestyle!

    This is what I’m trying to do to avoid making the same mistakes:
    1)When I switch my clothes by season I will make a list of what I need based on any gaps I see . Then I’ll refer to that when shopping.

    2) I will bring home what I’ve purchased leave the tags on and try the said item on with things in my closet to make sure I’ve got stuff to wear with it. And how I can mix and match!

    3) I will think what special occasions might be happening that season and if I have something to wear already or will I need something new!

    4) I try to purchase what suits my lifestyle! I don’t need a lot of dressy items but I do like to have a few special outfits for those dinners out or lunch with the girls! Or church .

    Thanks for all the great reminders! I totally agree about the Clarence racks ! I’m not a rummager!

  33. Hello! Love this post, so much info that at one point, everyone can relate to. I saw the pic of the pants your friend shared and had to chuckle. I ordered those same pants in white and have all kinds of blouse I want to try with them when they come in. The color you showed would have me scratching me head. Lol White just goes with everything! Definitely need to purse my closet at some point this month. Thanks for the reminder on buying what you love and let the rest go!

  34. I’ve made most of these mistakes at one time or another, but I’ve made good progress in defining my style and wardrobe thanks to blogs like yours. I actually have a document on my ipad where I keep track of things I need, my capsule colors for the season, and such. It helps me focus on what my wardrobe is lacking so that I don’t fall into the traps you listed. I love shopping, so it’s hard to be disciplined, but I’m finding that as my wardrobe gets smaller, it’s actually easier to get dressed and feel good about my outfit.

  35. Wow….this spoke directly to me. I’ve been doing a complete closet clean out recently and it’s left me feeling bad about myself and my shopping habits. I have sooooo many pieces of clothing, shoes, accessories that I have never ever worn. But feel so bad about all the money I’ve wasted.. I am guilty of buying something cute that I have nothing to wear with or when I get dressed in the morning I opt for an item more familiar or comfortable. How do I get out of this trap and start feeling better about shopping? How do I curate a closet with outfits I can wear to work as well as for casual days?

    1. As I said in our FB Group, this post wasn’t intended to make anyone to feel guilty or frustrated. I realize that a lot of my tips/strategies are born from having more practice than the average woman, so I thought these tips might help us all consider how we can be more efficient and successful in our shopping habits.

      You said this: “How do I curate a closet with outfits I can wear to work as well as for casual days?”

      Maybe that’s part of the problem. I know you’re a teacher so your dress code is on the more casual end of the spectrum, but maybe you need 2 wardrobes – work and play? Would that make it easier? Not that they can’t overlap, but are you trying too hard to buy things that can serve both purposes? Just a thought…

  36. One thing I have learned from reading your blog—especially the Try-On Hauls—is the importance of returning items that just don’t work. In the past, I have kept stuff that I didn’t really love because I didn’t want to go through the hassle of returning.

    1. Oh, yes, that could have been another point. I literally buy and return clothes for a living, so it didn’t occur to me that people don’t return stuff just b/c it’s a hassle. I do know, however, how easy it is to miss a return window. I write things on my calendar for stores that have very strict return policies (LOFT is 30 days and the Gap and Old Navy stores are 45)

      1. Nordstrom Rack has a shorter time window too. That was a surprise for me. And I should definitely make a note on my calendar…that seems so obvious and I’m sure you’ve mentioned it before. I often buy clothes for my daughters when I’m buying something for myself but it goes into the blackhole of their room and comes out months later to be returned. Well after the time window closed, of course! 🙂 Great post!

  37. Lots of comments already!!

    I just bought some (really) cheap tshirts from Old Navy– 4 in different colors. It was intentional because I WFH a few days a week and they are good for that situation. But this reminded me to be thoughtful about what I wear in public 🙂

    I’m very bad about buying intentionally. I did AYW so know what works but still am very random in my shopping. I need to become more planful!!!

  38. Like this post. What about buying fall/winter items now, such as sweaters and boots that you like and the price is good…is this a mistake? We are months away from putting them to use.

    1. That can be a great way to get quality styles for less, but you have to be especially aware of what you have and what you need. I think it’s very easy to buy ahead for the next season without a real plan or idea of what you will wear things with. That’s why I love the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale because they bring out the next fall season’s styles all at once and discount them. You can shop for complete outfits, and you know it’s coming so you can go through your closet and make a list and a plan. Here’s more info on that, for anyone not in the know: https://jolynneshane.com/how-to-prepare-for-the-nordstrom-anniversary-sale-nsale.html

  39. Oh how great is this?!?! I’ve been guilty of all of these. Some I am still guilty of. But thanks to you, I am learning to do better. I used to be a clearance rack only shopper. But lately, I barely glance at them. I’m so thankful for your wonderful advice and insight.

  40. Wow, great tips!! So much of it, we SHOULD know, but don’t ever think of when we’re shopping. Thanks for the reminders!

  41. This is one of your best posts ever!

    My #1 rule is to shop at the beginning of the season. That’s when the best items are available, in all sizes and more colors. And related to that, sales are nice, but I’ll pay full price if I find something that’s perfect for me – it’s worth it!

    1. Interesting that you only shop at the beginning of a season! I shop constantly, lol, but I can see your point. I also agree with paying full price if it is worth it to you. It’s all about cost per wear.

  42. Well that was very eye-opening for me! I personally do a lot of retail therapy shopping and end up doing returns more often than what I keep.. I’m learning to definitely shop my closet first. I see a ton of things I haven’t worn, which I’ll be going over to closet Mentor shortly and getting those out of my closet!!

    Thank you

  43. This is a very helpful post! I agonize over what to wear and just copying outfits doesn’t always work. Thank you for the link to the Adore Your Wardrobe post. I think I might have to ask for that for my birthday this year.

  44. I am guilty of most of these on your list. When there’s a new season I feel I need new clothes. Forgetting to shop my own closet first. And I’m guilty of this with shoes as well. New shoes come out for the season and I want them all. But I wear the same ones over and over. I have a pair of chunky heels that I thought would look cute going out to dinner or whatever. They are nude so they will work with lots of things. Just haven’t grabbed them. They are still in the box. And prob after my return window. Just a waste of $$. But I’m def going to think about all these things as I switch over to my summer wardrobe. Shop my closet first. Try things on and only buy things as needed. Easier said than done. Lol. Thanks for sharing this Jo-Lynne

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