How to Stop Buying Clothes You’ll Never Wear

invest don't shop

The Nordstrom Semi-Annual sale just happened and so did a $3000 dent in my credit card. Ouch! Yes, I bought about $3K worth of new clothes which is insane for me, but about 60% of that purchase has already been returned and about $800 of that initial sum was new threads for my husband.

I’m not going to lie, I love to buy new clothes and I don’t see anything wrong with that, however, I’d have to say that at least 35% of the purchases I’ve made over the course of my life have gone completely unworn.  That’s a huge problem.

I used to go to a mall and buy things for sport. The mall was my jungle and I was on a mission to hunt and kill the best deals ever. Because of this mindset, I’d often end up buying some cute clothes at killer prices that I knew I’d never wear. Uh, goal achieved? Not really.


So here’s how I’ve changed my shopping strategy so that nothing hangs in my closet unworn again:

  • I avoid malls at all costs, I do all my clothes shopping online, and only shop at stores that give free return shipping (because I’m notoriously bad for not getting my size right). This has been a game changer for me and I’ve eliminated so much wasted time and unworn clothes.
  • I try on clothes at home (before I’m committed to keeping them) so I can see them in context with current my wardrobe. I can easily check how many other items I already own that will work with the piece. Does it go with everything in my closet or barely anything? If it’s a lone soldier, it goes back. I only want pieces that I know will work across my wardrobe.
  • I don’t take the tags off until I’m 100% sure I want to keep the garment and I’m about to wear it. I’m notorious for liking something initially, but when I actually put it on to wear out of the house, I wonder How to stop buying clothes you'll never wearwhat the hell I was thinking. Everything needs a second evaluation before I decide to keep it.
  • I will often buy things that I see worn by fashion bloggers. This provides the benefit of understanding how to wear and style the piece (because I am not good at this) and bloggers will often let you know when items are on sale. I love shopping this way as the blogger (who did the leg work for me) gets affiliate revenue, and I get the perfect piece that I know how to wear.
  • I never buy clothes that are final sale, especially if it’s online. Even the cutest pants that are are marked down 75% are still too expensive if they don’t fit, you can’t wear them and you can’t return them. J Crew has slayed me with this one. I find cute final sale items, I’m convinced they’ll fit, I bite the bullet and buy final sale and then I end up donating them because they’re unwearable. Never ever will I do this again.
  • I don’t buy special occasion clothes. Like, ever. My average gala or wedding attendance is about once every 2 to 3 years, so I see no reason to buy a new outfit that I will only ever wear once. I’ll either accessorize a basic black dress, recycle the one cocktail dress that I have or if it’s a really fancy event, I’ll Rent the Runway. This is such a brilliant concept.
  • I never shop with other people. Back when I mall shopped for sport, I’d often go with friends. This was our social activity which seems so bizarre to me now, but that’s’ what we did. Because I’m not confident with my ability to pick clothes, I’d often rely on the opinion of my friends to tell me what looked okay on me. We all do this. Even when we’re not sure we like something, we’ll often buy it just because our friends think it looks cute. Even the sales person’s opinion is carefully weighed. You can imagine what happens to these pieces once you’ve got them hanging in your closet. Yep, nothing!

It has taken me an embarrassing amount of time to figure this strategy out, and I’m so incredibly grateful for the evolution of online shopping!! I hope you find these strategies helpful. Here’s a few of my favorite online retailers that have great stuff (IMHO), generally good prices and amazing customer service and shipping.

How to stop buying clothes you'll never wear. Click To Tweet
  • Nordstrom
  • Nordstrom Rack
  • Zappos
  • Amazon
  • H&M
  • Lulu’s
  • New York & Company

Now I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite things from the Nordy’s sale.  I’m sure they’re all sold out by now, but damn are they cute, affordable and in my closet, ready to be worn AF 🙂

In Defense of Corporate Jobs

Corporate job

I really admire entrepreneurs and folks who opted to save like crazy to gain financial independence and early retirement in their 30’s and 40’s.

These are typically smart, go-getter types who are the least likely to play the victim or complain about their realities.  These are the folks that know what they want and go after it.

But here’s the thing…their constant negative commentary about working a corporate job is starting to sound like a bad country song on repeat.

I get it. Most people who end up as entrepreneurs or save to become financially independent as soon possible, do so because they don’t like the idea of corporate jobs. They believe working 9 to 5 is something to escape and that cubicles are little 8-hour prison cells that no man or woman should have to spend 40 years working in.

Naturally, I can imagine they would feel this way or else they wouldn’t have the motivation to chose the path they did (which isn’t easy).  Entrepreneurship is hard and success is unlikely. Financial independence at an early age takes years of sacrifice and hard work, so they must have REALLY hated the idea of a 9 to 5 lifestyle in order to take the path they did.

But here’s the thing –  corporate life ain’t all that bad, folks. Just because you hated it doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice for someone else. As someone who has started several companies (and actually managed to sell one of them), I know how hard and lonely entrepreneurship can be. Working hard without a steady paycheck can be really stressful. Sure, you don’t have to be concerned with tyrannical bosses, but you do have to deal with tyrannical customers and investors, so that theory of being your own boss isn’t exactly true.

In the case of the financially independent and early retired community, while I commend your ability to live with less in order to have ultimate freedom, I question how free you can be if you have to live the rest of your young adult life on a very fixed income.

To be clear, I’m not knocking either choice. Like I said in the beginning of this post, I admire these two groups of individuals for their tenacity, fortitude, and creativity, so props to all those who chose this path and make it work for them. But can we drop the negativity around corporate careers? While they can seem stifling to you, they also have a lot of upside you don’t have.

  • They can be rewarding because you get to work on interesting problems without having to worry about not getting paid if the problem doesn’t get solved.
  • You don’t have to fix the printer, deal with irate customers or follow up on unpaid invoices (unless that’s your job).
  • Very often you enjoy handy perks like free or low-cost health care, tuition reimbursement and having a portion of your donations or 401K contributions matched.
  • By showing up at that same cubicle every day you get to build life-long friendships with the people around you.
  • You’re part of something bigger than yourself. You have people in finance, marketing, sales and manufacturing, all working towards the same goal as you.
  • You may even be lucky enough to get stock options from your company, making you a partial owner and that much closer to financial independence!

And the best part? If none of these benefits ring true for your current situation, you have 100% freedom to leave and find another gig that does, which is a huge bonus because leaving a job is way easier than leaving your own company. I know this first hand.

This may sound like I’m coming from a place of bitterness or envy, and well, in the case of the financially independent, there’s some truth to that. But overall, even if I could retire right now, I probably wouldn’t. I like to work. I like to contribute and I like being a part of a team. This is also why I’ve learned that entrepreneurship isn’t the best choice for everyone. I love structure, organization and creative resources at my disposal. I also love paychecks, stock options, and really good health care.

So in the spirit of overused hashtags that celebrate “rejecting the man” and doing things your own way, I’d like to take a moment to honor all those #girlbosses (and #boybosses, too) in corporate environments who do awesome things like keep the internet running, make sure your investment portfolios perform well, organize our health care system and make neat things like your iPhone or your car.

So consider this the next time you want to brag about how awesome it is to grocery shop at 2pm on a Tuesday….  #corporatejobssdrivetheglobaleconomy and #corporateworkersskeepthelightson #thankyouverymuch #dropsmic

If you think that a corporate job is in some way beneath you, or that you can't possibly live up to your potential in a 9 to 5, think again. Click To Tweet