How I’m Trying To Make Better Clothing Purchases

…even when the returns process is a ball-ache


I asked on Twitter if you guys would like to see fashion be given the Anti-Haul treatment and the majority of you said yes (16% said no, so apologies to you – hopefully you’ll enjoy this post instead?). Scroll down below to see the video, but to accompany it I thought I would talk you through the four methods I’m using to stop myself making damn right ridiculous decisions when it comes to buying clothes…


Stick to a capsule wardrobe. You can read about my most recent capsule wardrobe musings here, but in essence I love the idea because it enforces a self-imposed shopping ban throughout most of the year. I of course tend to find ways around it, but on the whole it stops me making impulse purchases and buying out-of-season items that by the time the appropriate time to wear them comes around I no longer want them in my wardrobe. It just makes me check myself whenever I come across something I want to buy. I think, do I really need this? Have I got something else in my wardrobe already like it? Can I just wait till my summer re-jig to see if it’s something that I still want then? It just puts the brakes on things a little.

Conduct an assessment. This is where I’ve really fallen down in the past. You know when you try something on fresh out of an ASOS parcel or you’re in a fitting room and you wear it for all of about 5 seconds before you remove it and conclude that it’s alright. Yep. Been there, done that, had a wardrobe full of ‘itchy, scratchy, digs into my belly’ items. These days I’m trying to conduct a real assessment of an item before I decide whether it’s something that could sit in my wardrobe and I wouldn’t have any niggles about it. Before I even try an item on I have a look at the label; firstly to check the material and then the cleaning instructions. Then I try it on and I do all sorts of crazy moves around the flat or in the fitting room. I try and go for a bit of a walk, wave my arms up in the air, pretend to hug someone, sit down – I look mad – but by doing all of these things I can check to see if there’s something about the piece that would get really darn annoying.


Not allow ball-ache factors get in the way. I’m talking about the times when you have to walk all the way into town to return an item when you’ve got a mad week and the thought of taking an hour out of your day to do that gives you heart palpitations. Or when the returns process of an online purchase is a five-step, call up customer service, get a returns number, have to pay for the delivery, complete and utter pain in the arse situation. I’m doing it. Even if it takes an age. Even if I have to talk to someone on the phone (EW!). Even if I have to walk into town and it makes me a moody mare for the rest of the day. I’m returning everything and anything that doesn’t make me feel like a million dollars when I wear it. Bad purchases will not be hung on to for all the wrong reasons/because I’m lazy.

Ignore the pressure. I always tend to shop alone and I’m ok with that. I like to be a bit of a loner when I peruse the shops. It allows me to go at my own pace, stick to shops that I actually want to visit and means I don’t get a pang to make a purchase just because the person I’m with is spending a small fortune. There are of course exceptions to the rule when it’s fun to hit to the town with a friend, but overall I’m a lone ranger. The fact that I’m a lone ranger, combined with the fact that I love to chat often means I end up getting chatty with the shop staff which then makes me feel like the world’s worst person when I’ve spent an age in there, tried on mountains of clothes and then leave empty handed. But the fact of the matter is, what if you just didn’t like anything you tried on? Surely it’s better to leave without buying a lacklustre jumper than it is to drop money on an item that will gather dust in your wardrobe because you only got it as a ‘guilt’ purchase. My innate ability to please hates whenever I do this, but I’m trying to get better at not buying things just because it’s awkward not to. It’s time to embrace the awkward turtle! 

Photos by Lauren Shipley