How to minimize buying clothes that you would not wear

Most of us are guilty of having far too much pieces of clothing that we know we would never wear. This builds up clutter and it gets a little traumatizing when we need to clear off the wardrobe to make way of new pieces of clothing.

When I was much younger, I am guilty of going for shopping sprees and buying clothings that I ended up not wearing. Most of these clothes are bought on impulse or when I am feeling a little stressed out/down and needed some retail therapy.

It took years but I’ve improved at it and in the past couple of years, I do not end up wasting money on unsuitable clothes.

Less mistakes, less wastage and less clutter!

How to reduce the wrong choices that you make:

1. Do not buy just because it looks good on someone else
There are a lot of fashion trendsetters that we look up to and that we really want to look like them. We want to look like our favourite Korean actors/actress hence we buy clothes similar to their style.

The clothes that look good on them may not look good on us. The cutting may not be flattering to our body type or the material may not make us feel comfortable wearing them. These clothings would end up being worn only once before they are kept aside hogging your wardrobe space.

Over the years, I have wasted lots of money buying designer brands which I end up not wearing. And because they’re expensive, I feel reluctant to throw them away. Looking at these pieces of clothings often remind me of my mistakes.

Also, we tend to buy clothes that would only look good on us after we lose weight. If we find from experience that having clothes few sizes smaller have motivated us to lose weight, then we may try to adopt the method. But if it does not work, that sexy little black dress hanging in our closet may remind us of another failure and get us down.


2. Know your style, situation and material type
If you have been testing clothes and shopping for sometime, you would have an idea on the type of clothings suit you and make you feel comfortable and confident wearing them. Once you identify your style, you can keep your preference in mind when shopping for clothes.

Buy clothes that is practical for use. For example, if you travel to work on a public transport,  you live in a place of tropical hot weather and you are the type of person who sweats real easily, wearing polyester material would not be suitable.

No matter how good they look on your favourite actress in TV (don’t it ever occur to you that they could sometimes run for miles and yet never sweat buckets) because the situation in real life is often different.

Another thing is that if you dislike ironing, do yourself a favour by buying clothes that you need not iron or can be ironed quickly. This is something I have learned because we tend to put off ironing and the clothes does pile up after a while.

Few years ago, I have find the type of clothings that make me feel good wearing them- blouses that is quite absorbent but requires minimal or no ironing. I buy from that brand and usually, their clothings last for sometime so I need not be making purchases all the time.

3. If you are a shopaholic, identify the triggers
Sometimes, a person who constantly go for shopping sprees could signify a deeper issue or feelings of emptiness. Some people fill up their feelings of emptiness with sustenance abuse but some does it with food or ‘retail therapy’.

Buying a lot of clothes gives a momentary dopamine rush which would quickly sizzle off. It is okay if you can well afford your purchases and pay your credit card each month in full, with a lot of balance left for savings. However, if the ‘retail therapy’ is causing you to go in serious debt, it is going to ruin your life one day.

Possessions does not make one truly happy. There is a story behind every compulsive behavior and you need to dive deep down into your soul to find what’s actually bothering you and do your best to deal with the issue within. It is tough and takes courage but it will liberating to be free.

When I was in corporate world, I wasted a lot of money on shopping for branded items and gourmet coffee but these things does not make me happy. It was after I took a break, and went towards the direction that my heart truly wants that I do not need not use material possessions to make me feel happy.

4. First impression counts but eventually people will like you for you and not your clothes
In my previous job, I wore clothes that made me feel comfortable to be able to carry out my work. These are not cheap clothes but neither are they expensive. Initially when I join I used to wear knee length skirts but the air con in my office was just too cold. So I switched to wearing pants to work.

Sometimes, I admit I look like an auntie with my ‘old woman’ style of dressing. But the clothings were functional and made me walk and carry out my work duties with ease. We shared the same floor with the sales department. I have seen the articulately dressed newcomers who took one look and me and snuffed their nose at me…immediately looking down at me.

Eventually this always changes once they realize how much their top managers are in good terms with me because of my work ethnics and capabilities. I also attended meetings with big bosses dressed just the way I am and after some participation and contribution, they looked past my physical appearance.

At times, I almost wanted to give people a bad first impression so that my direct line in office would stop ringing off the hook and my emails would stop. But often, I find that people get past first impression very quickly.

The point I am trying to make is that, it is what that is inside us that matters. If we really understand this, then we would not waste so much of money buying stuff that we do not need, going for expensive hair/facial treatments when we really cannot afford it.

5. Reduce social media, TV and going to shopping complex to reduce the temptation to buy

In 2008 when I resigned from my first corporate job and lived on my savings for a year, I could kick myself at the amount of unnecessary purchases I have made. That time, my brother earned half of my salary and yet he could save more than double of what I save.

Two years later when I went back to my second corporate job, I was a little wiser. However, I still notice that despite the lessons I have learnt, if I ended up watching too much of TV or going to shopping complex, I would naturally be drawn to spending money.

When your friends post on Facebook about the wonderful meal they have or the beautiful pictures they have taken from their visit to Japan or Europe, you would be tempted to try out the food or go for a holiday. Or some people may feel envious and they themselves also wanna ‘show off’ and in order to do that, they would need to spend money.

But the truth is, your true friend would not care even if you do not do those things.

Recently, I have place a limit of the time I spend on social media because I also find that it is truly a time suck. I ended up being unproductive. If you find that you never seemed to have enough of time, check on the amount of time you may be mindlessly wasting away on social media.

In conclusion

There may be deeper reasons why we feel compelled to shop and buy for clothes that we often end up not needing or wearing. It is hard to throw away especially if we have spent considerable amount of money on these clothes which we know is cluttering up our closet and living space.

The best would be to lessen the impulse of shopping sprees and hauls. Being able to do that is liberating. Realizing that people who mattered would not judge us for what we wear would free us from trying to look good and impress those who does not matter. Well, unless if you are in sales, marketing and PR…. where a few good quality pieces of clothing would generally suffice.

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