Archive for January, 2007

How to avoid expensive fashion mistakes

Friday, January 26th, 2007

If you take a look in anyone’s closet, the owner would no doubt be able to give you a short history of the majority of their clothing.  In almost every closet there will be several, what I like to call “expensive fashion mistakes”.  What exactly is an expensive fashion mistake you ask?  It’s the piece you bought, because you thought you couldn’t live without it.  You’ve come to learn it’s exactly the opposite, and it’s never seen the light of day.

First, it’s important to know why people (men, that includes you too) make these lapses in judgement so often.  I find there are several explanations for this common situation.  First, you bought it on impulse.  You didn’t really plan on buying it, but you got caught up in the moment and you did it.  This is sometimes the case when we are shopping with friends, and fashion mistakes just happen.

Next is the last minute fashion mistake.  You have an event to go to, perhaps it is work related for you or your spouse/partner.  You’ve had ample notice before the event, but just didn’t make time to look for the perfect ensemble.  This is the prime environment for fashion mistakes to happen.  We usually feel very stressed as the time of the event draws closer, and our decision making ability is not based on what fits the best and looks great, it is based on sheer desperation!  You can see why this in never the optimal frame of mind for shopping and why so many fashion mistakes thus occur.

Another scenario for fashion mistakes is the all too common vacation purchase.  You see a beautiful hand painted sarong that costs a king’s ransom.  It looks beautiful on, and fits right in with the island vibe of ________ (fill in the blank with an island paradise).  The problem here is that a hand painted sarong is not something you’ll wear very often in your everyday life, unless you are a tour guide for tropical getaways.  Men make this mistake quite often with Hawaiian shirts.  If the only chance you’ll have to wear it is the yearly “Hawaiian Party” then take a pass and buy one from Goodwill when you need it!

The number one reason I hear from people about fashion mistakes, is the “it was on sale” excuse.  Let me be very clear here …just because something is on sale, does not mean it looks good on and fits you properly.  You are so much better off waiting until you find exactly what you want and are looking for, even if it means paying full price.  You will wear it more often and really get your money’s worth versus something you NEVER wear sitting in your closet collecting dust.  Enough said.

Now, let’s examine how you avoid making the above faux pas.  Always keep classic pieces in neutral colors in mind and know that you will always get the most wear out of these pieces.  These are the “investment” pieces that you will get tons of use from.  Spend more on these core pieces and less on the trendy garments that will only be worn for a season or two.

If you are considering a really amazing garment, that will make a big dent in your checkbook, consider using the 24 hour rule.  The 24 hour rule goes like this: if, after 24 hours, you are still obsessing over the garment, go back and buy it.  If your doubts about the garment intensify, forget about it and move on.  Most stores, both boutiques and large department stores, usually have a least a 24 hour hold policy.  This is precisely the amount of time you will need to decide if the clothing passes muster.

Make sure you always ask about the return policy.  Most small boutiques have somewhat more restrictive return policies than larger department stores.  I am not advocating for department stores, as some of the best finds are in smaller boutiques.  I am advocating being an informed consumer.  Make sure if you are uncertain about your purchase, you can at least return it for store credit.

The best solution for vacation purchasing, is to make sure that whatever you are contemplating, you wouldn’t be embarrassed to don in public, back “home”.  While vacationing in Puerto Vallarta a few years back I happened upon this wonderful “Zappateria” where they made the cutest hand- tooled sandals.  I bought a few pairs, and never regretted it because sandals are something I wear a lot in my “everyday” life.

My last suggestion for the fashion mistakes in your closet is to find a good place to consign it.  You may still be able to recoup some of your investment this way.  In the end, learn from those expensive fashion mistakes, and vow never to repeat them…at least until next season!