Worst Purchases: Spring/Summer 2023

Now that we’re nearing the end of the summer season, I decided to take a break from talking about transition styles and pull together one of my most-requested posts — my worst purchases from spring/summer 2023.

A few weeks ago, I shared My Most Worn Summer 2023 Wardrobe Staples, and I always like to follow that up by assessing the items I purchased this year that I did not wear as much as I had hoped. This is always a fun exercise to do at the end of the season, and I think it helps me make better purchasing decisions going forward. Maybe it will help you too!

Before we get started, my standard caveat still applies: These items aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, most are things I actually like. I just didn’t end up wearing or using them all that much, and I regret these purchases because I didn’t get a good cost per wear out of them.

Please don’t feel duped if you bought any of these off of my recommendation. They might work great for you; they just didn’t work for me.

My 8 Worst Purchases of Spring/Summer 2023

also wearing: shorts (more sizes) – size down one // sandals – TTS

#1.Ciao tee (S) // I bought this tee out of emotion, not well thought-out reasons. I like to wear graphic t-shirts, and this one seemed like good quality, but I really only wanted it because we were going to Italy.

I wore it once or twice before we left for our trip, but after I washed it, I realized it fits really weirdly. It’s too tight in the waist, and seems stiff overall. I don’t know if it didn’t wash up well or if I overlooked this issue when I wore it before, but I knew immediately that I would never reach for it, so into the donation pile it went.

The lesson here is, make impulse purchases cautiously. You still need to consider quality, cost per wear, personal style, fit and comfort, all the things!

#2.Rails button-up (S) // I hate to include this because I really like it, and I’m not getting rid of it, but I haven’t found myself wearing it nearly enough to justify the cost. Since it’s good quality and I do actually like it, I’ll hold onto it and try to wear it more this fall and again next spring.

The lesson here is a little more nuanced because this shirt does check off most of the boxes. It’s my style, it’s good quality, it’s comfortable, it fits well… I don’t usually wear button-ups, though, so maybe I just missed some opportunities to wear it when I could have.

#3. BR Linen Utility Shirt (S) // This is another one that pains me to put in this post; I like it, but I haven’t worn it, and I don’t know exactly why. I guess I haven’t had the right occasion, or if when I did, I always reached for something else instead.

I think part of the issue is, I don’t see myself wearing this top with anything other than these shorts, and that doesn’t give me many opportunities to wear it.

At least, I wore the shorts twice in Italy, but both times, I wore them with a linen tank instead of this shirt. I didn’t bring this shirt because I knew I wouldn’t want to wear it in that heat because of the collar.

The lesson here is, be sure you have the right occasions to wear an item, and that it can go with more than one thing. This top is probably more versatile than I realize, but I haven’t played around with it much.

#4. NAGHEDI Woven Tote // How many times am I going to say this? I love this bag; absolutely LOVE it. But I think I’ve carried it two, maybe three times this spring/summer season, and because of the woven texture, I doubt I’ll carry it too far into the fall.

I’m not sure why I haven’t reached for it more. It always seems to add too much black to an already black-heavy outfit for the summertime, or it creates too harsh a contrast with the other colors I’m wearing. I do carry a black bag in the summer occasionally, but it’s usually a smaller crossbody for going out in the evening. This carrying handle makes this bag less versatile, and it’s also larger than what I often need.

Despite all that, I’m definitely keeping this bag because it’s a classic that I can have for many years. Maybe over time, I’ll decide it wasn’t such a bad investment after all.

also wearing: denim jacket // white jeans // blue jeans // sandals

#5. LOFT Mixed Media Shells one & two // I bought two of these this year because they’re so versatile for church and dinners out, and I usually wear them a lot in the spring/summer, but I haven’t reached for them much this year.

Fortunately, they weren’t that expensive, but I still hate to see things hanging in my closet that I’m not wearing. I haven’t passed them on yet because I keep thinking that an occasion might arise when I’ll wish I had one of them, but so far, I’ve only worn each one once or twice.

I think the style is tired to me now, as I’ve worn them for several years. I’m kind of over them. Also, the longer woven tops are hard for me to style for my current body. With a smaller chest and an expanding midsection, I feel like I lose all shape in woven tops unless they have some structure or an exceptionally nice drape.

I don’t feel like there’s any great lesson to be learned here… unless it’s to know what looks best on you. I know I look better in knits than wovens, but I do wear woven tops when I want a dressier vibe. These tops did come in useful a couple of times earlier in the season, and I bought them knowing I typically get a lot of wear out of this style of top. Sometimes things just don’t work out.

I also think it’s important to note that due to my job, I have so many clothes cycling through my closet at any given time that I simply have more options than I actually need. As a minimalist and someone who is big on cost per wear, I find that overwhelming and frustrating at times, and I’m probably too hard on myself when it comes to writing this post.

also wearing: jeans // sneakers

#6. 525 Cable Sweater // This is another one of those items I only wore once or twice, and then I ended up donating because it fit weird, and for some reason I just couldn’t get excited about that color.

I had the same sweater last year in an oatmeal/ivory color that I wore a ton, but this color just didn’t feel as versatile or as authentic to me. I guess, now that I think about it, I don’t wear much light blue. Oh, well. Live and learn!

also wearing: jeans // sandals

#7. Halogen Pointelle Sweater // I think I knew when I kept this that it wasn’t really me, and I maybe wore it once? Something about the pointelle knit and the scalloped edges felt too sweet, and I also didn’t care for the fabric. I donated it early on in the season, after realizing I wasn’t reaching for it.

I much prefer this LOFT muscle sweater tee; the differences are subtle, but the LOFT one feels more true to my style priorities. I found it after I bought the Halogen one, and from then on, I would always reach for the LOFT one instead.

The lesson here is to know your style priorities and then stick to them. Mine are modern, polished, and understated. I also know that I won’t reach for things that feel scratchy or uncomfortable, and anything that feels too precious to me will sit in my closet and rot. I guess it was early in the season, and I just liked the idea of having a navy short sleeve sweater, but I should have waited for a better one to come along… which it did.

also wearing: shorts (more sizes) – size down one // top (sold out)

#8. Kork-Ease Tutsi Buckle Slides // These are relatively cute for a comfort sandal, but I feel like they look weird on my feet, and I had a hard time walking in them, even with the buckle in the tightest position. I have so many slides I like better, I’m not quite sure why I kept these, but anyway! They also went in the donate bin before the season was out. A shame because they’re a good quality shoe; hopefully someone else is enjoying them.

I often get asked about what I do with the clothes that I pass on. I return unworn items, but the rest either go to friends and family or to a resale shop. My theory is, I’d rather have someone else enjoy them than let them clutter up my closet until they’re out of style. Because I do buy new clothes so regularly, it just doesn’t make sense to hold onto things I’m not wearing.

And again, please don’t feel offended if you bought any of these items on my recommendations. I truly like each one. They just didn’t work out for me. I’d love to hear from you. Any spring/summer purchases you regret or just didn’t wear as much as you’d hoped? I’m curious to hear!

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49 Responses

  1. That cable knit light blue sweater is actually a very pretty color on you. It’s also trending for winter. Maybe you’ll like it this winter with dark jeans?

      1. I agree it is flattering. What about with winter white or light gray jeans? I used to have a sweater that color and that’s how I styled it. Felt like a snowy outfit lol.

      2. I just had to confirm that the light blue is a great color on you! That said, I personally find it a difficult color to work with/ be comfortable in.

  2. I am wondering if you could recommend a designer purse. I don’t have one. And not sure which brand to invest in…Something I can carry every day. I am only 5’1″ and 66 years old. Price range -$200. Thank you!

  3. Thank you for this post and for all your recommendations throughout the season. I’m an example that even though something didn’t work for you personally, those items can still work out well for someone else. I purchased the pink floral mixed media shell from Loft on your recommendation, and I have really enjoyed it! It turned out to be a top that I consistently reached for throughout the summer. It still looks great and I will look forward to wearing it again next year. Thank you for all your recommendations and thoughtful commentary on everything you style. Most of what I have purchased through your links has worked out very well for me. I enjoy and appreciate your blog!

  4. I bought the Rails striped shirt on your recommendation and have worn it regularly all spring and summer. So thanks for that! I love the quality and feel of it compared to other linen shirts. I bought a gauze Rails shirt in the N sale and look forward to wearing that soon.

  5. Now I like both of the mixed media shells ….. as I’m one to wear either kimonos or cardigans as layering items nearly year round this is actually a style I try to keep on hand and both are cute colors.

  6. Think about your local Center for Abuse for donations. Often the women leave their homes with nothing. These centers also take other items too.

  7. There are many reasons that I appreciate this post. The #1 reason is that it’s a chance to revisit my own criteria for choosing clothes and congratulate myself if I bypassed an item that ended up for you probably where it would have ended up for me-hanging and not being worn. I LIKED many of the items on your fail list and talked myself out of most. As a follower and consumer, it’s validating that you are teaching us skills even if we don’t always use them!

  8. Thank you!! I love these posts. Helps me understand how styles and trends evolve and why sometimes I stop wearing things as well. I purchased the pink loft shell, and also rarely reached for it, I wasnt sure why, but I think I also now prefer more fitted shells/tops due to wider leg bottoms.

  9. I love when you do these posts and keep it real! But honestly, the Loft Medallion top with the light washed flare jeans and white denim jacket looks fantastic on you! Re-think keeping that one!

    1. I loved that outfit when I wore it. Also looked great with the white denim jacket on top. Solved the issue with the woven top looking shapeless. I think it just feels like a spring outfit to me. I might hold onto it.

  10. I really like you in the Rails button down shirt. Keep! Your pic in Italy wearing it over a white tank is so classy and cute. But I’m someone who loves button downs 😊

  11. Thank you for this post, Jo-Lynne. It makes me think about summer items I bought this year or previous years that I don’t wear. I need to donate now while others can use them! It’s also a reminder not to buy more of one item even if I think I love the item at the time. I have 3 pairs of pret-a-play WHBM shorts that I bought last year and have not worn once this year. I’m not sure even why. I keep thinking I’ll wear them because they’re nice– but I don’t. Too fussy maybe? They are going into the donation pile today! I still struggle with items that I love in theory– like button-up shirts– but the fact is that I am a knit girl and I need to accept that. I think that being truthful about what I wear and not worrying about money “wasted” will help me reduce my wardrobe to fewer clothes. I want to love everything in my closet!

    1. Colleen, I had to giggle when I read your post! I had the exact opposite experience with my Pret a Play WHBM shorts! I bought 2 last year, a light tan and an Army green. I loved them so much I bought the black pair this year! I wear them constantly, just love the zippers, the softness, the cuffs, and the overall fit! I agree that I want to love everything in my closet!

  12. I had the exact same experience with the two navy sweaters! Luckily I still had the tags on the scalloped one when you introduced the Loft version. I returned the first to Nordstrom and have worn the Loft top several times. And I may keep wearing it into fall if this crazy heat wave sticks around in Texas!

  13. I’m intrigued to see the blue sweater on your list. I bought that sweater after you first posted it. I love the style and had thought about purchasing your original version, but never pulled the trigger because oatmeal is not a good color for me. I was excited to receive it, but I couldn’t return it fast enough – it looked terrible. It hung all wrong. I wondered if maybe the one I bought was defective. I guess not. Anyway, interesting list.

  14. I feel your pain. I have often bought an Item thinking I would love it and wear it but didn’t. I try to do a capsule wardrobe and not buy too much. Love seeing that we all have this problem sometimes. We went to Italy in October 2019. It was an amazing trip!

  15. Thanks so much for this timely post, Jo-Lynne! I’ve been struggling with this exact issue – feeling guilty about wanting to donate the clothes and shoes I bought this past spring that just didn’t work for me. Your post just gave me the emotional permission I needed to start donating what hasn’t worked!

  16. I’m so glad you have the courage to do these posts. I find them so helpful and I love your honesty. They always give me great things to think about when making my own purchases and I totally agree that we all buy things sometimes that are terrific items, but just don’t work for us personally as much as we expected… but may be a terrific option for someone else… must say, that blue cable knit sweater though, looks great on you. I think that’s a really good color for you

  17. I agree that if an item you like does not fit your personal style it will rarely, if ever, be worn. I, too, continue to make that mistake! I chuckled when you said you were a minimalist!! I realize your job requires frequent clothing purchases, but I have never thought of you as a minimalist!!!

    1. Yeah I get it. Sounds silly but I used to keep next to nothing in my closet before I started fashion blogging. It’s not that I didn’t shop a lot, but I only kept what I absolutely loved and needed at any given time.

      As it is I purge constantly. I hate how I feel when my closet seems full or when I see things hanging that I don’t love or know I’m not wearing regularly. Now I need variety to make outfits when I do try on hauls or try to figure out new styles so I keep a lot of “blog inventory” on a separate rolling rack so it doesn’t clutter my closet. I guess I’m a wanna be minimalist these days, lol.

  18. I loved this post and seeing why things didn’t work for you. I have a couple cute summer tops but don’t reach for them. Now I know why, they just don’t flatter my body. They look cute with flare jeans but summer is just too hot for them.

  19. I have been reaching for white shirts of any kind so much this Summer with denim shorts that so many of my other tops just hung there. I bought a white v neck T shirt with royal blue polka dots and royal blue shorts from Loft. I’ve worn the T shirt once and the shorts once with a white T shirt. I love the style and fit of the shorts, but the blue feels so bright. I kind of knew it in the dressing room, but was tired of black and white shorts and denim at the time. Maybe I’ll try them again next Summer and if a “no go” then donate. I did good this Spring and Summer not buying much. I know I grab casual so I tried to not buy too many going out or church clothes. I love fashion and shopping so it can be easy to just buy for fun and not need. I’m trying to do better. Loved this post.

  20. Thank you for the post. Nice to know what you didn’t like and why. I think you look amazing in #6 The cable knit sweater. I think that the light blue looks great with your skin color and hair.

  21. Thank you so much for this post! The title grabbed me right away. I like minimalism so I try to be very careful about what I buy and I try to buy quality items but I still find that certain pieces aren’t worn as frequently as others. Sometimes I will be excited about a piece and it is worn for a season and then it “rots” in the closet like you said! I loved that description. It really is trial and error and we learn all the time. The Rails striped shirt looks really good on you! This is my favorite blog as you always show what works, what doesn’t, and you keep it real. You really help me evaluate and carefully look at clothing.

  22. Thanks for reminding me that I don’t like button up shirts and I don’t like collars lol! Whenever I forget that, I’m usually sorry.

  23. I enjoy when you do these types of post, so thank you! It helps me think about my own clothes. This summer, I tried very hard to look at what I was never wearing and get it out of my closet. Your Rails shirt reminded me of two long sleeve gauze shirts I had from J Crew. Thought I’d love them but they were actually kind of heavy and just did not get worn as much as I thought they would. Hopefully, I’ll learn from that!

    Some items I took out of my closet were sold at Clothes Mentor and the others were given away through my local community “give group.” I wanted to mention these types of groups as a good resource for passing clothes and other household items along. They are often on Facebook as “buy nothing” groups, “community give” or something similar. My local group lets us put a description and photos in the post and then others in the group reply if they are interested. Pickup is arranged between the two people and everything is given away–no cost! It’s a great resource and also lets others use things that they may need but I no longer do. Oh, I’m so jealous of you this week–the cooler weather you mentioned the other day and now lobster rolls–yum!

  24. Completely agree about the CIAO t-shirt. Once it was washed, it never looked good again. Such a disappointment!!!

  25. The Loft shells have worked out really well for me. I work from home providing telehealth therapy and so I only have to worry about what top I have on (usually wear shorts and flip flops below the camera). The colors and patterns provide me with some visual interest. I get what you mean about button shirts- I only wear them with my hair up as the collar drives me crazy!

  26. I enjoy these posts. It really does help to know your style and what you just won’t wear. I’ve learned not to talk myself into things. Whether it’s not quite my style, not comfortable or whatever, if I’m iffy about it I pass. My mom always says you’ll never love it more than you do in the dressing room, so if you don’t love it then don’t buy it.

  27. I only have two regrets this season. I bought a Lug tote purse from QVC. I only used it twice even though I like it. I also regret buying crop flare green jeans. I like the color but I look shorter with flare crops. I only wore them once. I don’t get rid of tshirts. I just wear them around the house. I don’t wear nice clothes at home because I don’t want to get stains on them when I do housework. Just tanks and comfy shorts so don’t come knocking at my door. 😊

  28. I love this post, it’s so helpful in encouraging me on my wardrobe cleanout. What is a resale shop? Do you get paid for clothes? Do you throw away some things that are worn or stained?

  29. I always enjoy hearing from you what didn’t work. In theory, I like button up shirts. But I didn’t want to invest in the Rails shirt because I wasn’t sure I’d wear it. So when you showed the Caslon shirt that was similar, I purchased it, and then wore it once. I have purchased 3-4 of the Loft tops over the years, and never wore them much, but one year you showed one in a navy print, and not only do I still wear it, but I have it on right now. I have to remember my personal style and stick with it. Just because someone else looks good in something doesn’t mean it will work for me. I have to do better at this, but I have come a long way. You are helping all of us.

    1. If I didn’t watch myself, my whole closet would be navy tops and sweaters. They look effortlessly classy year-round.

  30. Jolynn, I am like you with the button down collared blouses I have 3 or 4 but don’t reach for them much and really like the Rails one you are wearing in this post and even ordered it when on sale but ended up returning it due to that good ole cost per wear. It seems like I end up feeling sloppy or unkempt in them, I do have a chambray blue one that I wear with the Michael Stars pink tank and also the red one along with my denim shorts.
    I think that light bluish cable sweater might look good with chocolate colored jeans?
    Really love this type of post!

  31. Funny, I actually have both the tops from Loft and bought a few more patterns myself – I go to them all the time. They are perfect for work for me – and Loft seems to keep changing up the patterns.

    Sad that you don’t reach for them more often. I wear them with linen shorts / jeans / and ankle pants that I have had for years from NY and Co.
    they are great to wear under a cardigan or a denim jacket.
    You should give them another chance !! 🥰

  32. Jo-lynne,

    I am new to your posts and am enjoying your posts very much. I am looking forward to seeing more posts.

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