How many times have you purchased something “because it was on sale”? If you are not willing to pay full price for an item, it is not a good purchase. 

We all love the thrill of finding a bargain, but when your closet is filled with bargain items that do not fit with your personal and professional lifestyle, your closet becomes your enemy. And your bank account becomes emptier. 

When shopping, here are some tips:

Make sure that the items fit on your body today – not when you lose weight or finish a marathon. Fit means many things and when an item fits, it always looks more expensive.  Obviously, an item needs to fit your body and there are many parts of your body that an item needs to fit. The garment, accessory, shoe or piece of jewelry needs to be proportionate to your size and style.  On a jacket, dress or any kind of top, make sure that the shoulders fit. Not only can this be an expensive alteration, it can be tricky to get it done. Changing a hem can be another one that looks simple and it is on a solid garment, but on a print or anything with detail at the bottom of the garment, now the length is being changed at the waist. This can get expensive.  

Next, the item needs to fit in with what you already have in your wardrobe.  All of us have that item that seemed like such a bargain at the time, but now it is in our wardrobe with nothing to go with it. It is not a good buy if it does not work with what is already in your wardrobe. Before you go shopping, make a list of what you are looking for, this helps to deter those impulse items.   

Take a look at the care of the item. If it is something that needs dry cleaning frequently, the money you saved on the garment will be going to your dry cleaner.  Another example is a pair of shoes. If they are a fragile material, they will end up in shoe repair or constantly need to be buffed and shined. 

Is it a forever piece or disposable? 

Lastly, is this an item that is going to be a “forever piece” or is it disposable? Disposable means that you are going to wear it a few times, then not again. If it is a “forever piece”, look for quality in construction, fabric, style and fit.  And, it if is a “forever piece” with multiple items available in your size, buy a few to keep for replacements later. For a disposable piece, know when and where you are going to wear this, and when you will be done with it. When you are done with it, put it in your donate pile. There are numerous organizations that recycle clothing for those in need, a side benefit to donation is that it does not end up in a landfill.   

There are many things to know about the shopping cycle and when to shop. There are so many offers from retailers about bonus points, discounts, gifts with purchase, etc. This is completely another topic for another time. Most importantly, remember that no matter how much something is on sale, it needs to fit on your body and in your wardrobe for your lifestyle. Otherwise, no matter how deep the discount, it is not a good deal and make sure to check the retailer’s return policy.

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