Style

5 Ways To Avoid Buying Clothes You Actually Hate

I’ve been on a mission to avoid buying clothes I hate for the past few years. I’ve been pretty disciplined about it but I can get swayed off my righteous path quite easily. Every time I go to Bali or Byron Bay, I think it’s a super rad idea to buy long hippy skirts with bells on them and flouncy lace wrap shirts. Which are obviously gorgeous but are not in any way my style. I’m a Melbourne minimalist and most of the time I remember this… until a street hawker tries to sell me a tie-dyed t-shirt similar to the one I saw on a bronze goddess down at the beach and then I’m like ‘Shut up and take my money… and also I’ll have lots of beads and turquoise silver rings too, please… also, where can I get my hair wrapped?’

This is by no means a trait that is exclusive to women. I had to pry a New York baseball cap out of Mr Smaggle’s hands at a Brooklyn market once. ‘No! You are not a glistening blonde yacht hunk! Put it down!’. We also had a rather unfortunate oatmeal coloured linen shirt situation in Thailand. That was bad. I also bought a sari when I was in India. It seemed like a good idea at the time but when you get back to Australia you’re just an idiot tourist with an amazing sari that you will never have a use for.

The solution to most of life’s problems is awareness. Once you’re aware – you can make changes to fix these issues.

Here are a few things I definitely DON’T regret buying…

avoid buying clothes

Wearing 

Sweater dress from Country Road – I actually bought this at the airport but it ticked ALL my boxes. Close to 100% cotton, stretch, versatile colour and totally comfortable.

Clogs from Funkis – I bought the open toe version of these for summer and wore nothing else so I didn’t hesitate to buy the closed toe winter version. Comfy and toasty warm when worn with merino tights.

Things I do to make sure I avoid buying clothes I don’t like…

1. Ask yourself if you would throw away what you’re currently wearing to have the new item in your life

You’re not ACTUALLY going to do it but if you had to swap what you’re currently wearing for what you’re currently buying, would you do it? If the answer is no, walk away. That sounds harsh but you should be properly delighted by most of the stuff in your wardrobe. Even gym gear. If you don’t love it, you won’t wear it, you’ll just keep wearing your favourite stuff. The solution is to not let anything inferior in your house. That way you’ll always only have awesome stuff. I did this a few months ago. I went to buy some exercise shorts and I almost bought the best of the 5 pairs I tried on when I realised I really, really didn’t like them. I was just desperate for something cooler than tights to wear to the gym but these shorts were kind of bunchy and unflattering. They went back on the shelf. I was trying to solve one problem by creating another. It’s always worth waiting for a better solution to the problem.

2. Sit down in it. Do you look cute?

The sit-down test is essential and should never, ever be skipped. I skipped it once for this cute sack dress and it was a huge mistake. This dress looks adorable when I’m standing up and makes me look almost petite (at 5’8 and a size 14 that’s quite the achievement) and when I’m sitting down it makes like like an inflatable donut pool toy. I still wear it but only to cocktail parties where I know I’ll be standing up most of the time. It’s also made of a carpet style material which is itchy AF when I sit on it. It’s like going back to primary school and getting itchy grass butt. I could have avoided this if I did the sit-down test.

3. Ask yourself what you actually love about the item

If the answer is nothing, don’t buy it. If the answer is ‘It fits.’ don’t buy it. If the answer is ‘It’s fine.’ don’t buy it. If you can’t find even one thing you truly LOVE about it, don’t do it. Just don’t. Never settle. Your favourite ever outfit is better than this inferior try hard. You just have to believe it. It’s also better to wear an outfit you feel amazing in, that you’ve worn a dozen times than something new that you don’t feel quite right in.

4. Jump up, squat down, run around, throw your hands over your head. Now relax. Do you look cute? Do you feel cute?

I gave up uncomfortable clothing years ago and I’ve never looked back. If you have to do things like never raise your arms above your head, only ever sit with your shoulders at a certain angle, wear breathtaking shapewear under the item or hold your stomach in constantly DO NOT BUY IT. If you move around and you have to re-adjust the item for 5 minutes to get it to look right again DO NOT BUY IT.

5. Look at the colour/pattern. Look carefully. Do you hate it?

I used to wear straight black pretty much all the time and now I rarely do that. I love patterns but I have to very careful about them. I recently went to a very ‘me’ store that is usually full of patterns I love. I tried on one of their classic cut dresses that fits me perfectly and I was mighty pleased with myself. I stared and stared in the mirror at the perfectly fitted dress and then I realised what was wrong. I fucking hated the pattern. Hated. It. It was pale pink with big dirty brown and green splodgy flowers on it. I was ignoring the pattern because the fit was so great but you know what? I just wouldn’t have worn it. It was hard putting a dress back on the rack that made my legs look like Olympic ice dancer legs but it was the only way forward.

Extra Reading

9 Things I Regret Buying 

5 Reasons Why Shopping For Jeans Sucks

5 Clothing Brands Whose Stuff Lasts Ages

How To Wear Skinny Jeans When You’re Not Exactly Skinny 

The Best Dress I’ve Bought In Ages

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever bought? Or you biggest ever clothing regret?

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P.P.S Don’t forget Crochet Coach has a free trial offer period at the moment so make sure you sign up!

16 Comments

  1. Rebekah Jaunty 2 years ago

    Sound advice all around! My favorite is: “Ask yourself if you would throw away what you’re currently wearing to have the new item in your life.” That’s a great test.

    Here’s one of my tips: Just because that garment is the best thing in the store or the best thing you’ve tried on today doesn’t mean it’s good enough for you.

    Dressing rooms can be so demoralizing, sometimes we feel grateful to a so-so garment just for nearly fitting us or being a color we almost like. It’s the shopping equivalent of beer goggles.

    • Melanie Lindner 2 years ago

      ‘It’s the shopping equivalent of beer goggles.’ I love that 😀

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 years ago

      Exactly! I’m like that – just because something fits doesn’t mean I have to buy it!

  2. I am learning this more and more as I get older and more selective. These days “it fits” isn’t a good enough reason to bring it home.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 years ago

      Totally. I also don’t do the whole ‘it will do’ thing.

  3. Harlow 2 years ago

    Haha I am so amused that we have the same achillies heel! I ALWAYS gravitate to boho too, in fact I can’t even let myself go into a Tree of Life these days because no matter how many years have passed since this stopped being my style, I still gravitate towards it. In fact, last weekend I went shopping with my friend, and she wanted to go to Tree of Life. Guess who bought a boho blouse they’re never going to wear? All week I’ve gone into my wardrobe and seen it hanging there, thinking WTF was I thinking? I was a teen in the early 00’s when boho was big and that was my style for a really long time, so I probably keep returning to it because of nostalgia! I wish I had read this post a week ago, but it’s something that I am going to try and keep in mind for the future.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 years ago

      I went through a boho phase in high school and I can’t say I won’t revisit it but for now its just so not my style. KJust repeat the mantra ‘No Boho Harlow!’

  4. Erika 2 years ago

    Right now, I regret all the clothes AND shoes which are fantasy life rather than real life. And that real life and chronic illness means pretty much all the work and fancier clothes are now just another bit of my past. On the plus side, there are going to be some SERIOUSLY good scores at the local Smith Family store for some lucky women! Paying it forward 🙂

    It’s worth letting that store with the awesome dress/shocking print know why you put it back on the rack. If they’ve got good customer service, they’ll feed that information back and who knows, that frock may turn up in the most amazing print ever….

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 years ago

      That’s actually a great idea! My style is very much Fitzroy minimalist casual but that can go ugly very quickly! Will keep that in mind!

  5. Bec 2 years ago

    OMG I almost bought a hippy/boho top yesterday in Port Fairy but I managed to walk away!! Phew.
    I would also add to this; be careful who you are shopping with. A friend I love to bits recently encouraged me to buy a yellow top (I own nothing in yellow!) and nude shoes when black would have been better… I ended up returning both items. Also my mum loves me so darn much she has these weird love goggles that make me look good in anything, so she’ll tell me I look stunning when I don’t. So sweet but unhelpful!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 3 months ago

      That’s actually an amazing tip. Don’t shop with friends who are overly nice and would rather get you to buy something dreadful than hurt your feelings.

  6. John Mahoney 1 year ago

    I agree that it is a good idea to take your time and test any clothing you want to buy to make sure it fits you well. I can see that doing this can help you avoid spending your money on things that you won’t use often or don’t like. It is important to remember that taking your time top do your homework can help you find a store that cares about their customers and about providing the best quality available.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 3 months ago

      Absolutely! I have quite a few stores I adore and will continue shopping there just for the quality and customer service.

  7. Reannon 3 months ago

    I read this yesterday morning before heading out to do some shopping. I haven’t bought brand new clothes in 5 years ( op-shopped yes but nothing new) so when I was in the change room trying on jeans I took your advice & was jumping, squatting, sitting, doing lunges (cause you know, I’m always lunging in my jeans!).I also tried on some tops & cardis & thought real hard about whether or not I actually liked them. They al went back on the hangers because I was just trying to fill a gap & these were not the right fillers. Your advice was so helpful! Thanks 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 3 months ago

      Oh that’s awesome! The move around test is essential for jeans otherwise you end up with hideously uncomfortable jeans you never wear. I’d love to op-shop more but I live in a very op-shoppy city with lots of vintage stores so anything in my size get pilferred very quickly. I’m better off buying ethical, well made, new clothing I love that I’ll wear for years.

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