Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Whether it’s the job, the boyfriend or girlfriend, the friendship, or the closet – we are always deciding on whether to accept something or to let it go.
When it comes to clothes, there was a time when I was always accepting every ‘OK’ item I found on the clearance rack? My mindset was all about a good discount, so even though I didn’t love an item, the thought of not buying it because it was ‘like 50% off’ was awful. So I ended up with a closet full of clothes that I liked but didn’t love and hardly wore
Sounds familiar? Have you been accepting too much in to your closet?
10 signs you have bad shopping habits
Not all clearance junkies are the same, and a little bit of clearance action is alright if you have a cohesive wardrobe. But here are some warning signs that your clearance addiction needs to stop.
1. You hit the mall with no idea of what to buy, and make a beeline for the clearance rack in every store
Not knowing what you want is a sign that you do not know what your closet needs, which would put you at risk of getting pieces that you don’t actually need or getting boxed into a certain look. Heading straight for the Clearance rack is a sign that you are just looking to top up the “Savings” high. And yes, it’s addictive.
2. You pick an item of the Clearance rack that you are OK with to try on
I am all for keeping an open mind about what might work, but if you are picking an OK item from the rack, chances are you are probably skipping out on items you might actually love just because they are full price and picking items you probably don’t love because they will look ok, and you need to have more options in your closet.
3. If you are an online shopper you quickly sort price “low to high” when you land on a website
You know what a shopper on a mission does? Sort items right away, pick the right fit, and look, and then review their price options from there. You know what a clearance junkie does? Make a beeline for items that cost the least and try to score the best deal.
4. You look at your item in the mirror and decide to keep it because it’s a great deal
Once again, you make a decision not based on fit, or look, or even fabric but on price. For you, price is the ultimate deciding factor when you are looking at the item because, even if it looks awkward on the crotch earlier, it’s such a great deal, amirite?!?
5 You have items of different sizes because you saved money on them
Simple black top, you have it in petite and tall, you have tops that are two sizes bigger and some that are a size smaller. Not all bodies are made in the size that most items come in, but if you’re wardrobe has sizes that are obviously not your size or that you just “work” with, a long hard look in the mirror is in order.
I have this blue knit top; I bought from J.C. Penney because it was about $5… only problem is it was XL. And I’m medium. I am a large sometimes, but mostly Medium. I took a picture in it once when I was out to dinner with friends, and the only thing I could think of when I saw the picture was, “What was I thinking?” It was not worth it.
6. Your wardrobe is going through an identity crisis
Not everyone has a clear-cut personal style that they can cling to, but it helps to have some identifiable element that is in most of your clothing. It helps to have items that can be paired together seamlessly. It helps to know you can get dressed and look like yourself when you are in a rush.
7. Your wardrobe is severely lacking in one area
For me it was everyday clothes. I had plenty of options for going out, but when it came to staying in or getting work done, I stuck to the same old, tired basics. You can’t plug in all the holes at once, but if you are more aware of your closet you tend to have a better-rounded closet because you buy items that you actually need.
On its own, this can be a sign of an unbalanced closet but with 2 or 3 of the signs mentioned earlier, this is a sure sign of a clearance junkie.
8. You have a surprising amount of clothing that still has tags on
Because you buy items without having a need or even knowing what it could be used for? It’s all about how much money you saved. So you bought a colorful frock in the summer that you still haven’t worn months later because you are waiting for the right occasion – that never comes.
9. You have multiple versions of the same item, all bought on clearance
You say you won’t buy it again because you don’t need it but you spot it for pretty cheap and you stockpile. This is OK if it’s a basic piece that you wear in different ways or that is a basic essential that will never go out of stile. But stock piling items just because of clearance value is not healthy and honestly a wast eof your money.
10. Your shopping mindset is ‘bang for your buck!’ and not ‘what do I need?’
Saving money is great, I enjoy saving as much as my budget allows, and buying items that are not too pricey or that allow me a reasonable amount to save. But there is more to shopping than just getting an armload of clearance items. Some of the pieces I have hauled back from one of my shopping excursions will sit unworn for a long time because it doesn’t quite feel right. That’s a telltale sign of an item that was bought in a hasty manner that does not fit in my closet or lifestyle.
How to start shopping smart
“What’s wrong with saving money on clothes?” you may be wondering.
Nothing. Except when your goal to save money steers you to subpar items that have no business being in your shopping bag, or closet.
The price of something and the value you get are not the same.
The word value often gets confused with price. And they are used interchangeably in ads for stores, on receipts, and in our minds. My clearance junkie mindset would think if an item costs $50, and I pay $30 then I am getting more value because I saved $20. The thing is this is only true if you would have bought the item at $50 without a second thought. So how do you determine the value, despite the price?
Start with the need; do you actually need the item?
Will it fit in your closet and lifestyle? How many ways can you wear it? How many items will it fit with? How many times a year do you think you will get an opportunity to wear the item?
Start figuring out what you need by looking at what you have, not at the store, but in your closet. If you have a style icon whose everyday looks are something you admire, look at staple pieces they own, and try and work them into your closet. Or if you have an area of your life that you feel is lacking, like say office wear, or weekend outfits, or date night items, figure out how you can complete these areas both by using clothing items you already have and pieces you will need to buy. It becomes a lot more obvious what is “you” versus what is trendy or cheap when you start inside your closet.
Prepare a list, and carry it with you
And reference it while shopping! Clearance junkies lean on the sales like a crutch. Rarely exploring what the store has to offer.
Having a list sets you on a mission. Prioritizing what is critical and what would be nice to have gives you even better laser vision. If the store does not have what your re looking for you can simply move on to the next place. You are not chained to one section, and you can move on knowing that if the items in the store are not on your list, they are probably not important (read: you probably won’t wear them as much).
Unsubscribe to store e-mails
Stores know how to write e-mails that get people to click and hit “Shop now”. Although you can still sign up to 2-3 of your absolute favorite stores, unsubscribe from most of them, or sign up to a store’s e-mail anticipating an item you will soon need, and unsubscribe after you get it.
The best way to kick your craving is to stop putting the candy in the dish right in front of you.
Look at the material, cut and fit before looking at the price
Okay, so you now know you need to avoid the clearance rack. Next time you go shopping for an item, look at things like material. Then look at the fit, and color, see if it fits your style and lifestyle. The best value items are clothing pieces we might pay an arm for, but we wear constantly and to death! So look at how well it’s made, and then price, not vice versa. If the price is too high, put it back and keep looking with a firmer idea of what that moment of “This is IT!” will feel like. If you opt to shell out the cash, take care of it to make it last for years to come.
By developing a sense of your personal likes and dislikes as it relates to personal style and needs, you can build a closet you love and not just full of budget focused clothing.