“Dressing, like anything else, is a habit. We continually buy the same types of clothes,” says image consultant Shauna Heathman. “Even though you may need things for work, ask yourself how many times you pass up those items for the same type of cotton tanks and tee-shirts you already have.”
To break bad shopping habits, you need a plan. So before you dash out the door, grab a pen and paper, open your closet and take some notes.
The amount of clothes in your closet should directly correspond to the amount of time you’re spending at certain activities. Shauna has her clients fill out a pie chart, showing how they spend their week. If they spend 60 percent of their time at work, 10 percent of their time at church, 15 percent of their time at leisure activities, then their wardrobe should reflect that. Figure out where you’re spending your time, and which categories need the most help.
Determine your priorities. Everyone needs basics to mix and match. Do you have a black pencil skirt, a nice pair of black trousers, a great pair of dark denim jeans … things that you will wear frequently and can change up with different garments? If you already have those things, you’re off to a great start. If not, those should be at the top of your list.
Ask yourself what is—and isn’t—working in your current wardrobe. And then ask why? Is it the color, the style, the fit, or are you just bored with it? Write it down. Make a list of what looks good on you. Soon, you’ll notice a pattern, and you’ll have a better eye for what works when you shop.
Shopping on a budget? If you set a budget of $500, stick to it. If you can’t find enough stuff you love, don’t force yourself to spend the money. Hold off until a later date. If you find too many things you love, go back to your pie chart and your priorities.
Determine what can be bought at a bargain, and where you need to splurge. Filler items like camisoles, colored tees and accessories can be bought at a bargain. But things like jackets, a nice blouse or a nice pair of trousers, should be splurged on. Never buy something on sale that you wouldn’t pay full price for.
Dress up and leverage the basics. “My favorite purchase is a nice neutral top that can be worn with jeans, pencil skirts, and trousers and can be dressed up or dressed down with fun necklaces and scarves. You can make a plain top look ten different ways by doing this,” Shauna says. Opt for a plain white or black tee that has a subtle embellishment to it … like a satin neckline and hem or decorative stitching or seaming.
Don’t remove price tags until you wear the garment. If a month has passed and you haven’t worn a new purchase, consider returning it. Also, if a sale hits the store after your recent shopping spree, take the garments and receipt back to the store to see if they can settle the difference.
Originally published on HybridMom.com