It’s a new year, which means new you, right? Well, the easiest way to create a new you is to revamp your wardrobe.
Like it or not, the clothing we wear affects everything about our life from how we feel about ourselves to how others perceive us. That’s why we’ve identified eight bad style habits that might be preventing you from feeling great in what you’re wearing – and we’re vowing to leave them behind in the new year.
1. Buying Trendy Items Rather Than Timeless Items
Fashion companies used to have two major seasons: Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. That meant trends changed slowly and there wasn’t so much push to “always have the newest thing.” But now, thanks to fast fashion and social media, trends can literally change by the week. That much change is impossible to keep up with as an average woman.
Beyond the push to constantly keep up with changing trends, trendy items tend to go out of style quickly. What was “in” six months ago might be totally passé today. But that doesn’t mean you’re getting your money back on it. Now, I’m not advocating for never giving into trends or completely ignoring modern fashion altogether. But use caution when investing in a new piece. Is this something you’ll still be wearing six months or five years from now? If the answer is no, then skip it.
2. Buying Clothes You Don’t Feel Amazing In
This includes just buying something because you feel like you “should” or it’s on sale. But that online shopping list said everyone needs a black turtleneck in their closet! However, if that item is just not flattering on you, you don’t need to buy it.
Save your time and money for items that make you feel great when you put them on.
We’ve all had the experience of going to the mall looking for something specific, like a new pair of jeans. Even if we hate every pair we try on, there’s a voice inside our heads telling us just to grab a pair (they’re on sale, after all!) because we’ll have wasted our time if we don’t get anything. But really, the waste is spending money on something that’s going to sit at the bottom of your drawer, taking up space for the next five years while you feel guilty about never wanting to wear it. Save your time and money for items that make you feel great when you put them on.
3. Wearing Cheap or Ill-Fitting Shoes
It can be so tempting to opt for the $25 mockup of those gorgeous designer heels you’re seeing everywhere. But please, resist the urge to buy them. No matter how tempting it is to snag a cheap version of the latest trendy heel, keep in mind that an ill-fitting pair of shoes can do much more than waste space in your closet. Over time, wearing cheap, tight, or pointy-toed shoes can lead to back pain, collapsed arches, and bunions, which in extreme cases can require painful surgery.
These shoes might look cute when you’re sitting down, but as they say, these shoes are made for walking. Shoes that hurt your feet will do more than just hurt, they’re probably making you walk funny as well. Ladies want to have an elegant, confident walk, not a pain-induced shuffle.
Do your future self (and feet) a favor and be very careful about the shoes you wear every day. TV shows may show all those high-powered career ladies in their 4” stilettos, but they’re leaving out the decades of foot and back pain that will result. Stick to flat shoes when you can and block heels for work or going out. Don’t squeeze your foot into a half-size-too-small shoe just because that’s what they had at the store. Make sure your foot fits comfortably in the shoe, without slipping or pinching, and look for shoes made of quality material like leather and with arch support.
4. Opting for Fast Fashion Just Because It’s Inexpensive
Websites like Shein look oh-so-tempting because who can resist those prices?! But we all know the dirty little secret about these too-good-to-be-true prices: the quality is terrible and that trendy dress will fall apart the instant you wash it.
Keep your eyes out for when higher-quality brands go on sale and snag them at a great price.
Not only are you wasting money on an item that’s built to fall apart, but you’re also supporting an industry that pollutes the environment, takes advantage of exploitative labor, and commits intellectual property theft left and right. If you’re on a limited budget, you’re much better off keeping your eyes out for when higher-quality brands go on sale and snagging them at a great price then.
5. Buying Something That Doesn’t Match Anything Else You Own
Everyone has fallen victim to buying that one item – you told yourself “It’s a statement piece!” – that now just looks at you sadly, unworn, every time you open your closet. The harsh truth is no matter how much you may like a single item in your wardrobe, you can’t wear it all by itself. So when you’re out clothing shopping, stop and ask yourself for each item you’re thinking of buying: What do I already own that I can wear this with? Will it work for more than one outfit? Is this something I would wear at least once a month?
If the answer to any of those questions is no, take a pass. Most of us simply don’t have such a high fashion and exciting lifestyle in order to justify items we won’t get constant use out of. Your money is better spent on something you’ll love and wear regularly.
6. Wearing Comfy but Unflattering Clothes
Comfort is a trap. Especially with so many of us either working completely or partially remote, it’s easy to get complacent and just throw on the same pair of sweats every morning. And given how casual American society has become, you can basically go out wearing whatever you want. But just because you won’t be refused entrance to the grocery store in sweats doesn’t mean that you should go there in your comfy but slubby clothing.
Our outer appearance affects our confidence and our competence.
Psychologically, we feel better about ourselves when we dress well and worse when we don’t. As shallow as it may sound, our outer appearance affects our confidence, our competence, and even how competent others perceive us to be. Set yourself up for success each day by taking the time to wear an outfit that helps you feel prepared for whatever is ahead. You’ll thank me later.
7. Focusing on the Clothing Size Instead Of Picking Something That Fits
This is going to be a touchy subject for many ladies, so please hear me out. There is no standardized size metric shared by all fashion companies. Vanity sizing has only complicated the matter. You may go into one store and fit into a size 8, and at another, you’re wearing a size 12. Don’t let this get you discouraged. There’s a lot that goes into why clothing sizes aren’t consistent, including the fact that each company tries to “predict” the perfect body type for their customer.
So the next time you go shopping, don’t worry about if you have to grab one size up from your normal size. No one should be stopping you in the street and asking to see the tag inside your clothes, so it really doesn’t matter what the tag says. What matters is how it looks when it’s on! We want clothes that fit smoothly but not tightly (no horizontal pulling lines). Avoid clothes that are baggy, shapeless, or where the proportions don’t match up to your body.
Remember, the size on the label is completely arbitrary. It’s no one’s business what size the label says. Buy clothing that fits nicely and looks good, and ignore everything else.
8. Not Owning a Nice Purse
So, you’ve taken the time to build a chic, sophisticated wardrobe. You’re feeling more confident, and you notice how much more attractive you feel every time you leave the house. But then… it hits you. The item that’s ruining this perfect wardrobe you’ve worked so hard to curate. Your old, cheap purse.
A nice purse will elevate any outfit you pair it with.
Purses can be a big expense, we get it. And there seem to be more kitschy, weird options than classy ones. But taking the time to find a nice purse will elevate any outfit you pair it with. On the other hand, if you only have an inexpensive, cheap-looking purse, you won’t have anything to bring if you get invited to a nice dinner or a fancy party. And who wants to show up to an important work lunch with your boss, only to be embarrassed when you take out your wallet for the tip?
Take a few months, save up a bit, and treat yourself to a nice purse.
Although taking the time and expense to improve your wardrobe may seem like a frivolous expense, it’s not. As you start being more intentional about your clothing purchases, you’ll realize how much money you’ve been wasting on items that you don’t wear or don’t love.
Building a wardrobe you love isn’t something that happens overnight, but each time you make a better decision about your clothing, you’re one step closer to building that dream wardrobe.
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