Post Purchase Let Down

I recieved an email from Lynn the other day. And it spoke to a problem that I myself have had, and am learning to deal with. This is what she said:

Hi! I really enjoy your your blog as sales and steals make me weak in the knees. However, I'm often disappointed with my purchases. The fit, color, quality--it never seems to look quite right and my super deal ... hangs for months in my closet until I finally give up on the dream of looking like the J.Crew catalog. Any advice on how you avoid shopping regrets?

I suppose I'll start by giving some background info on my shopping habits. When I was in Jr. High and High School finances in my home were very tight. We always had enough, but there was not extra money for me to buy lots of clothes. So, from a fairly young age, I purchased many of my own clothes. My money was limited (babysitting doesn't exactly make you a high roller), and to complicate things we moved to a small town where my clothing options were Walmart and D.I. (a thrift store like the Goodwill). This was the time that I really learned to bargain shop, as I did most of my shopping at the thrift store.

I love a thrift store as much as the next person, but these types of stores created a problem for me. If I find an item and the fit is a little off, I find I am more likely to buy it for 2 reasons.
1 - It's not a big investment, so who cares?
2 - I won't find it in another size, so snatch that Banana Republic blazer up, it's Banana Republic for $10!

So, I have made a few rules for myself when bargain shopping.


1-Don't let the detail sell you
I am a sucker for details: pintucks, ruffles, cute buttons, and of course fabric. I can get sucked in to buying something that doesn't actually flatter or fit me if it has a little something extra that I want for my very own.

2-Who cares if it's Chanel?
Don't let a brand alone sell you. This may give an indication of quality, but if it's not a style you would normally wear, walk away. If it doesn't match anything you own, it will never match anything you own. And if it does not fit you right, it never will. Leave it on the rack!

3-Fit Fit Fit
The truth is that how you feel in your clothes all comes down to how they fit. Don't buy things without trying them on, and when you do try them on, examine them honestly.

Ask yourself:
Does it really flatter you?
Will you actually wear it?
Do you have other things in your closet you can picture pairing it with?
Do you feel good about the price?
Do you need to have it?
Do you have the money?

If you answer yes to those questions, then I say go for it.

I am not perfect at following these rules all the time, but I am getting better, and so is my wardrobe.

What are your tips to avoid shopping regrets? Leave a comment!

Thanks for reading!


  1. I completely agree with your post. Sometimes for me it helps to decided exactly what about the garment is appealing and then try to find that quality in another garment that is flattering, fits in with my current wardrobe (I can pair it with other things I own), and also fits my budget. Sometimes I love Chanel not because it's Chanel, but because it's beautifully made with high quality materials. Not exactly the kind of quality you'll find discount shopping. Great post!

  2. I definately went through some shopping pains, but once you find and admit what looks good on you and what doesn't you realize you don't have to buy every trend or every sale item and stick with the ones that fit you best. I love your tips!

  3. great tips! If I see something I want to buy (and could buy) but don't actually need, I put it on hold and if I'm still thinking about it at the end of the day or the next day, I go back to buy it. (it's a lot easier than intending to return something). also if I find a staple (like a perfect fitting bra) at a reasonable price, I consider buying an extra one (counterintuitive perhaps) since I'll need it eventually and I won't have to spend another day looking for it (and being tempted by other deals) or settling for something that will "make do" b/c I can't find that particular item.

  4. i hit the Salvation Army on a regular basis, and i'll carry something around in the cart for an hour or more, letting it just sit there and bounce around in my mind. that usually works. 90% of my purchases from there get worn regularly!

  5. Hands down the best advice I can get is - TRY IT ON. I use to do a lot of thrift store shopping prior to moving to Japan. I could only go with my one sister because my weird shopping habits drive everyone nuts - LOL! Basically I grab a cart and look through every section pulling out anything I think looks awesome. Then I go and try it on. I normally put back about half due to fit and all of that. I actually shop this way at real stores too - yeah my husband hates it. But this way I never end up with anything I won't wear or that doesn't fit. Trying on clothes is the best way to know if an item is going to look right or fit you. Many women skip this and normally end up disappointed when they get home.
    Now that I am overseas it is a little more challenging as I do most of my shopping online. I just make sure to buy from stores who allow returns or that the item was so cheap I wouldn't feel bad passing it on to a friend.

  6. don't get suckered in by sales people! i found an amazing dress that fit well and looked great, but it was a little more than i wanted to pay...even at a second hand vintage store. but the sales lady flattered me beyond belief, and i got swept away. i've only worn it once, so it sits in my closet as a pretty reminder - to never listen to anyone else, especially when it comes to my wallet.
    and another way to avoid regrets, is to go to a tailor right away. it's hard to pass up nice pants when they're on the clearance racks, even though they're way too long. so instead of having them waiting around forever for me to *try* to hem them myself, a quick trip and $10 gets them fixed right up. even with the price of alterations, they're still super cheap, but now look like a million bucks.

  7. also:

    *know what's in your wardrobe and what's needed to "fill in the holes" . i actually have a "to get" list.

    *the "i love it" rule: only buy things you absolutely love. no "maybe's"

    *even if it's 90% off, don't get it just because it's a "bargain". hard to do, but your closet will thank you! =)

    EXCELLENT POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. My 3 rules:
    1. Do I love it?
    2. Is it flattering?
    3. Is this the image I want to convey?

    Okay, make that 4. The extra one is:
    1. Do I need it? Not want, need.

  9. i love a great deal, but if it doesn't look good and i don't love it, i leave it (it helps to bring a really honest friend who can lovingly critique outfits- my sis is my bring along person). also, if i feel compelled to buy on impulse, i save it for less expensive, fun "accessory" type items. my sister also gave me great advice: save my $$ for classic, well-made purses and shoes that i know i can wear more than one season.


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