Fad, fashion or classic? How to shop sensibly.

It’s six-thirty on a Saturday evening and as you fight your way through your more-than-adequate wardrobe you think to yourself, all these clothes and nothing to wear. Sound familiar? Of course it does, we’ve all been there and it comes down to one thing; we’re not shopping sensibly.

Open your wardrobe. How much of it do you wear compared with how much of it has been gathering dust? Sure the fashion magazines promised that velvet leggings were going to be hot this winter and Mary-Kate Olsen looked amazing in her tangerine jumpsuit but does it look good on you? Does it make you feel good?

In 2009 Oxfam estimated that 1 in 10 of us only wear 10% of what’s hanging in our wardrobes and that an estimated 2.4 billion garments are unloved and unworn. As a self-confessed shopaholic I am guilty of having items in my wardrobe for months still holding their labels and having mass clearouts on eBay of clothes I’ve barely worn.

So just how to we get out of the habit of buying fad pieces? Follow this expert advice and you’ll have a wearable wardrobe in no time.

Don’t be swayed by low prices; If you didn’t want it when it was full-price you are buying it merely because it’s in the sale. That neon sweater may seem like an absolute bargain but do you really need it? Could you live without it? Probably. If it’s not worth it’s original price, think about why you’re buying it. On the other hand remember that expensive doesn’t always mean stylish.

Consider the two Fs, fit and fabric. If lyrca clings and doesn’t flatter you, don’t buy it. Likewise if cashmere makes you feel fabulous then invest. Fabrics should drape, not cling and avoid clothes with a hint of sheen, a matte finish will hide lumps and bumps. Only buy clothes that fit you perfectly, any gaping, pulling or drooping and you’ll never wear it.

Identify your personal style. How often do you see something in a magazine or on a mannequin that you think is just incredible… in a fantasy world. Yes those sequin hotpants are spectacular but are they really you? When will you wear them? What with? Analyse what shapes/colours/styles you wear the most, what makes you feel your best and what you feel comortable in. If it only works for a particular occasion, re-consider.

Equally as crucial as identifying your style is considering your lifestlye, many women are shopping for another’s lifestyle rather than their own. For example a student would have an entirely different wardrobe to their teacher. Likewise a stay at home mum’s style wouldn’t be the same as a farmer or a teacher. You get the point. I’ll use myself as an example, I love blazers they add an instant touch of smart style to any outfit, infact I like them so much I’ve bought two, navy and white. I failed to consider that I am the queen of casual and only ever wear anything remotely smart and interviews or weddings. I gave the navy blazer to my sister and the white one is still in my wardrobe, unworn.

Write a list of your day-to-day activities, next to them write the percentage of your life spent doing that activity, your wardrobe should reflect that percentage. For example if 60% of your life is spent on your feet at work, 60% of your wardrobe should be comfort work friendly attire. Similarly if 5% of your life is spent at parties only 5% of your wardrobe should be dedicated to partywear. As well as lifestyle assess the weather. A British wardrobe will be totally different to someone who resides in the Canary Islands. A need for multiple pairs of shorts and flip-flops in England? I don’t think so.

Finally, always keep in mind Michael Kors’ rule to ensure you don’t buy too much of the wrong things. ‘70% of your clothes should be meat and potatoes, 30% should be icing and fluff, that’s pattern, shine and accesories.’ Some women have these ratios reversed and then complain of having nothing to wear. So next time you’re tempted by that dog-printed blouse boasting ‘fashion editor’s fave’ consider the guidance above and you’ll shop smart.

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