Have you ever have purchased an item only to take it home, hang it in your wardrobe, and never ever wear it? It’s frustrating isn’t it? Well you’re not alone. It happens to more people than you’d think..and more often than not. In fact a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation claims the amount of clothing bought has doubled in 15 years, but the number of times an item is actually worn has fallen by 20%. We’re buying more clothes than ever but wearing each piece less, and I know for a fact (as you’ve told me and I’ve seen it for myself while de-toxing your closet) that some pieces aren’t being worn at all.
The most common reasons for these pieces being left unworn are that you don’t know how to wear them or you don’t know what to wear them with. But you know what? I’m willing to bet that those items you’ve never worn DO go with other things in your closet and not only that, can be made into at least three different outfits. In my next post I’m going to share the secrets to unlocking their potential, but today I want to talk about why you might be purchasing these items in the first place, as if we can identify where you’re going wrong we can start to put the right measures in place to mitigate this and get you making smarter purchases in the future.
Scroll down past the image to discover the reasons behind your bad purchases and learn 12 things you can do to stop yourself from making them in the future. And if you want a little extra help you can download my handy Shop Smart Checklist that I’ve compiled, it lists the most important points from this article that you should check before deciding if an item is right for you and your closet.
WHY ARE YOU PURCHASING ITEMS AND NOT WEARING THEM?
We’ve all made purchases we’ve regretted at some point in our lives, and some of us are repeat offenders, but why? Well, more often than not, it’s down to these 6 factors:
1/ Social Media
Well, I reckon the biggest culprit is social media. How many times have you seen someone wearing something on Instagram and either clicked the ‘shop my look’ link, or gone out and purchased the item? It is ridiculously easy to purchase things through Instagram and this has led to many an ill judged purchase. Take caution – before you hit ‘add to cart’ take a step back and have a quick think about when you might wear the item and whether or not it fits with your collection and your style.
We’re hit with discounts and exclusive promo codes, online and in store, on a daily basis. They’re hard to resist and have a lot to answer for when it comes to those unworn items hanging in your wardrobe.
Shopping with a friend can sometimes result in bad purchases as, unlike a professional personal shopper, they have a tendency to unwittingly pick pieces for you that they like, rather than pieces that they think will suit you. And if something isn’t quite right for you a friend often doesn’t have the heart to tell you so (especially if they can tell you love it!).
4/ Short of time
Shopping in a rush is never a good idea, you need time to try the item on and check it fits you properly before parting with your hard earned cash.
5/ You’re only wearing a small percentage of your closet
If you’re only wearing a small percentage of your collection then it will be extremely difficult to integrate new pieces. All those items you’re not wearing have the potential to create a whole host of outfits but you can’t see them if you’re only focusing on the same few clothes. If you want to be in with a chance of wearing the new pieces you’re buying, you’ll need to become reacquainted with collection.
6/ They don’t fit you correctly
Well fitting clothing is the most flattering type of clothing but not only can make you look slimmer, it will be more comfortable. So if sometime isn’t the correct fit for your shape and size the chances are you wont’ wear it. The only issue is that it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint if an items is the correct fit so I highly recommend that you pop on over and read this post I wrote that shares my top tips for finding a great fit, off the peg.
12 MEASURES TO PUT IN PLACE TO STOP YOU PURCHASING ITEMS YOU’LL NEVER WEAR
OK, now we’ve identified why you might be purchasing items and not wearing them, let’s chat about what you can do to stop this happening in the future. Below are 12 things you can do to help determine if an item is right for you and your closet.
And if you’re thinking of writing all of this down, there is no need! I’ve designed a handy, Shop Smart Checklist for you to download and take with you when you shop! You’ll find it at the end of this article.
1/ Look at your wardrobe before you hit the shops
Have a quick rummage through your closet before you head to the shops just to remind yourself what you have, this will help you to identify if the new piece will go with what you already have and has the added bonus that you might spot a gap that needs filling, or avoid making a repeat purchase.
2/ Catalogue the contents of your closet
I realize that this is a time consuming solution but it is a BRILLIANT one. If you catalogue what you have and keep a record of it on your phone, you can take your collection with you wherever you go and will be able to identify how well a new item will slot into your collection before you’ve even handed over your money. You’ll also be able to visualize possible outfits! Amazing!!
Obviously, you could photograph each item and add it to a ‘closet’ folder on your phone, but I’d recommend downloading one of the many free closet cataloguing apps that are available as they not only store your photos in an easy to see format, you can build outfits within the apps, too, and many of them have a calendar for you to plan your outfits. Here are some of the most popular apps for you to take a look at:
STYLE BOOK Catalogue your closet, Build outfits, make packing lists, pop outfits into a calendar, find inspiration and more!
MY DRESSING Catalogue your closet, create outfits and share them
YOUR CLOSET Catalogue your closet, build outfits, organize them by season, add outfits to a calendar and pull together packing lists. You can shop from their online catalogue, too but this isn’t something I’ve used.
CLOSET APP Catalogue your closet and use the calendar to plan your outfits. You can even make a note of the washing instructions and whether something is at the drycleaner (or needs washing).
CLOSET TRACK a simple app that enables you to catalogue your closet.
CLOSET add your own clothes either by photographing them or select images of your from thousands of brands and retailers. Plan your outfits using their calendar and mix and match looks with your items.
3/ Keep a record of your outfits
If cataloguing your entire collection is a step to far then just take a quick snap of your outfit each day. They’re for your eyes only so they don’t need to be perfect – just grab a quick selfie in the mirror before you leave for the day. If you do this you’ll be able to flick through the pics while you’re out shopping. I provide my clients with photos of all the outfits I pulled together during our closet consultations and they tell me they find this immensely helpful!
4/ Go prepared
Take a few of your favorite pieces with you when you shop so you can try them on with your picks. If that’s not possible then see if there are any items in the shop that are similar to what you have at home and take them into the fitting room with you instead. This will help you to see how an item might look with your own collection.
5/ Stop buying one item at a time
OK, this might seem like and obvious one but if you have a tendency to buy one piece at a time and struggle to integrate that into your collection, change how you shop. Plan to purchase a few items at once or buy complete outfits. When I take my clients shopping we shop for a collection of pieces at once, this way I can ensure that each piece compliments the other and can exploit the mixing and matching possibilities. In fact, when I’m whittling (haha, no pun intended!) down the items for purchase, any items that aren’t versatile tend to get discarded.
6/ Play it safe
I am all for stepping out side of style comfort zones, but if you find you’re buying too many pieces that are hanging unworn then it’d advise you not to stray too far from what’s comfortable. If you tend to stick to a color pallet of neutrals then throwing a bright pink into the mix might throw you off a little. And likewise, if you rarely wear print then think twice before adding something in a bold print.
7/ Set yourself some style guidelines
If you’re someone who finds that rules and lists makes life a little easier then it might be worth looking at your style as a uniform. Try to identify your style and set yourself some guidelines to help you stick to it. Fellow stylist Arash Mazinani wrote a fantastic article on why a uniform is the easiest way to kill wardrobe frustration, so if you’re looking for some help creating your own uniform I highly recommend you pop on over and take a read!
8/ Buy the right size and Check the fit.
More often than not, the reason you’re not wearing an item is because the fit isn’t quite right. I know what it’s like – you spot a piece you love, you try it on, instantly love it, and buy it. Then you get home, try it on again and something’s not right. Don’t get blinded by love, take a few extra minutes in the fitting room to double check the fit of the garment and if possible, take it in in two different sizes. If you’re not sure what to look for when you’re checking the fit of clothing, then you might want to read this post I wrote sharing my tips on what to look for, or you could download my FREE Shop Smart Checklist at the bottom of this article that tells you exactly what to look for when checking the fit of a garment.
9/ Be honest
If the item is reduced, ask yourself if you would buy it if it was full price. If not, put it back.
10/ Listen to your gut
Following on from number 9, If you love an item but are having any doubts about it, it’s probably not right for you. I know it’s hard to leave an item that you’ve fallen head over heels for but if you’re having doubts it’s because something isn’t right…you might not be able to identify exactly what that is, but deep down you know you’re probably not going to get much wear out of it if you take it home with you.
11/ Follow the rule of three
Don’t purchase anything unless you can think of three uses for it, or can think of three items you already have that it will go with it.
12/ Ask for help!
Mixing and matching and curating a collection of clothes that creates a multitude of outfits easily is what I do! Whether your looking for one piece to bring together a few looks, or a completely new collection of clothes, I can help and absolutely love to!
OK. Next up I’m going to share my secrets to unlocking the potential in those unworn items, so make sure you come back next week!
And if you found this post useful, then you might want to check out these posts I’ve written: This one shares my tips on checking the fit of a garment, and this one shares my top tips for shopping the sales like a pro.
Don’t forget about my FREE Shop Smart Checklist that I’ve designed to help you remember the 12 points above, and check the fit of an item and determine if it’s right for you.
SHOP SMART CHECKLIST
Sign up to recieve my FREE Shop Smart Checklist, designed to help you identify which clothes you should buy, and those that are best left on the rack.