How to stop buying clothes you never wear.

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I’m searching for a new purse, “for winter”. A black chainlink cross-body purse, to be exact. I don’t know what winter has to do with it – but I saw some girl in a movie wearing a grey peacoat with a black chainlink cross-body purse and black high-heel booties with big sunglasses and a long black and white scarf, and I was like “That’s it! THAT’S what I want to look like this winter!” 

I don’t know where this comes from. I don’t know why I see a random stranger in a made-for-tv movie and think that I have to change up my entire look for a season. It just happens. It happened with Peyton Sawyer on One Tree Hill when I suddenly decided I needed a leather jacket. It happened with Serena Van Der Woodsen on Gossip Girl when I decided that my “new style” should be “boho chic New Yorker-y”. It’s even happened with YouTubers. After watching two hours of Carly Cristman videos, I committed to only wearing neutral colors for a year. A WHOLE YEAR. 

My entire wardrobe has been decided by fictional characters and people that I’ve never met in real life. That’s probably normal, right?

The worst part is that there is a tiny part of me (a TINY, tiny part of – the part that hears a noise in the middle of the night and is convinced there’s a murderer outside) truly believes that this new jacket or scarf or pair of tan suede boots is going to alter my identity. I mean – not totally, it’s not like I think I’m going to become a transformer just because I’m wearing new skinny jeans with fake pockets – but like… a little.

“These jeans would make me look so skinny!” I think to myself. “I could wear with them with anything! People will see me on the street and think, ‘wow! look at that super skinny girl!…'” I don’t know why my thoughts consider other people looking at me and commenting that I’m skinny. This motivation doesn’t seem to work when I need to go to the gym – but spending $50 on jeans? Totally. “But I need new jeans anyway!,” I think to myself. ” I mean… sure I have jeans at home, that I CAN wear… ‘TECHNICALLY’… but they’re not THESE jeans. I don’t have THESE jeans at home. Therefore, I need new jeans.” 

Spoiler alert: Did NOT need new jeans.

Over the course of… well, growing up – I’ve tried to find ways to talk myself out of these things. Other people will offer advice like, “Don’t you have enough jeans/scarves/purses/jackets at home?” and “Do you NEED it?” These questions are, unfortunately, ineffective on someone like me.

Of course I “need” them, I think to myself. Why would I buy something I don’t need? I’m OBVIOUSLY defining my new winter look. Who will I BE this winter? As a human being? The kind of “cool girl” who wears a leather jacket, or the kind of “have it all together preppy girl” who wears a peacoat?  

So I’ve managed to create my own list of reminders when shopping. These should help to keep you on track and talk yourself out of spending money on clothes that  will ultimately spend more time hanging in your closet. (Even if you’re persistent like me!)

  • Define “NEED” versus “WANT”
    • You “need” new jeans if the only pair that you own (that fit correctly) are currently on your body.  You “want” new jeans if you stumbled onto a pair of jeans while searching for something else and right-then-and-there decide that ALLLL of your other jeans suck and you want to ONLY WEAR THESE JEANS FOREVER. (This is your brain trying to convince you that it’s a “need”. It’s not. You were fine with the jeans you had before you walked into that store. You will still be fine with them after you leave.)
  • Consider what you already have in your closet.
    • True story: I have almost bought a plain black t-shirt just because I thought that it went well with a jacket that I was buying. A plain black t-shirt. Do you know how many plain black t-shirts I have at home? Enough that I didn’t need to buy another one. Take a mental note of what’s in your closet when shopping. If you have something at home resembling what you’re considering buying – then you already own it, you don’t need another one.
  • Ask yourself if you’ll actually wear it.
    • Okay – this one’s a trick. Because, in that moment – you know, the moment where your standing in front of it at the store telling yourself you want it – you THINK you’re going to wear it. No one actually buys something thinking, “Oh I’ll never wear this. I just felt like spending $45 and taking up some extra space in my closet.” The key is to be HONEST with yourself. I once bought a ruffly pink tank top at Kohls because I saw Britney Spears wearing it in a Candies ad. And I thought to myself, “That’s cute! I could wear that. Britney Spears is wearing it! She looks so confident and fashion-y. I should be more like Britney.” …… and what happened? I got the shirt home, and decided I was too embarrassed to wear it on just about EVERY occasion that came up. “It’s a ruffly pink tank top,” I thought to myself when I would see it in my closet. “I can’t wear THAT.” So it hung in my closet for two years until I finally donated it to Goodwill with the tags still on it.
  • Consider your “brand” and ask yourself if it meets your expectations.
    • Every once in awhile I’ll want to go ham and buy something like snakeskin go-go boots or a flow-y tea length skirt. These are two things I will never, ever wear. They aren’t “me”. And when I say “they aren’t me” – I’m not trying to say, “I’m not confident enough to wear them” – I’m saying, every time I put on a flow-y tea length anything, I get grumpy because I think I’m going to look like Carrie Bradshaw and instead I wind up looking like Julie Andrews from the Sound of Music. It’s not the image I had in my head. And no, THIS FLOW-Y TEA LENGTH SKIRT IN PARTICULAR IS NOT GOING TO BE THE MAGIC FLOW-Y TEA LENGTH SKIRT THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO COME OUT OF THIS LOOKING LIKE CARRIE BRADSHAW. I PROMISE.
  • Choose what you’re going to spend money on.
    • I don’t buy “expensive” things when it comes to clothes. The majority of my clothes came from Target, Nordstrom Rack, and Marshalls. The one thing I do usually spend money on, however, is purses. Which has surprisingly helped me to save money when I’m at someplace like – let’s say Target – and see a purse for $24.99. “It’s cheap,” I think to myself. “And it’s cute.” But that’s the thing – it’s cheap. It’s not the Michael Kors bag that I have in my hand and spent a lot of money on. It’s a $24.99 bag from Target. I think I’ll be okay to keep the bag that I’ve got.
  • Know which colors look good on you.
    • This may sound crazy – but I buy the same colors over and over again. Neutrals are a big one for me, because I know that I can easily mix and match them with anything. Reds and purples sometimes work their way into the mix, but I’ve learned over the years which colors look good on me. In the past I’ve bought crazy colors like bright yellows or greens – and I never wear them. because – what can I say? – it’s just not my color.

Those are all of my tips! Hope they were helpful! What are some of your tips for talking yourself out of things you don’t need? Let me know in the comments! (Also if you have any suggestions for a cute new black cross body purse!… because I totally need that.)

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9 Comments

  1. Defining wants vs. needs is so important; I’ve gotten better about this over the last couple of years but there’s still room for improvement! “YOU ARE NOT GOING TO COME OUT OF THIS LOOKING LIKE CARRIE BRADSHAW. I PROMISE” hahaha, what a great line! Thanks for sharing! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The part about jeans is so true! I have 4 pairs of jeans and I still think that I need new one:/ Now I’ll remind myself of that is just my “want” and not my “need”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Jennifer, I just wanted to say hi here in the comments as I tried to get in touch with you before for a collab but never heard anything back from you. If you’re open to collabs I’d love to hear from you. You’re more than welcome to write directly to me on laura@blogerize.com – even if you’re not interested. All the best xx

    Liked by 1 person

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