Waste not, Want Not


Do you buy clothes only to return them?

Do you buy clothes thinking that if they don’t work you will return them, but never get around to it?

How much money and time is this costing you?

Waste not, Want Not

In my work as an image consultant I see heaps of waste, whether it be waste of money on clothing that doesn’t suit (for many reasons), waste of time having to take back an item that doesn’t work, and also lots of stuff that was bad decisions that will end up as waste in landfill.  It saddens me to see all this waste, when a few easy steps could have been taken a little earlier to prevent it.

  1. Try on the clothes in the shop before you take them home.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been tempted to not try on, say a t-shirt, which when I look at it looks like it will fit perfectly, and as I’m in a rush I think, I won’t bother trying it on, but fortunately that little voice in the back of my head says “Imogen, get thee to the change room” and I follow it there and discover that there is something wrong in the cut of the garment for me. Phew, I leave that garment behind, rather than spend my hard earned money on it, then have to spend more of my precious time returning it at a later date (if the store will even let me).
  2. When you get the garment home that you have tried on in the store, before you take off the tags, try it on again with a few other clothes you have in your wardrobe to make sure it works in with your existing clothes.  If it doesn’t, the store had a ‘skinny mirror’ or it just doesn’t feel right now you’ve got it home, then take it back straight away.  The longer that garment is in your possession, the more likely that it will become a mistake that takes up expensive real estate in your wardrobe, and you’ll never get round to taking it back.
  3. If you bought it knowing that it needs an alteration or two, take it to the alterations person either on the way home, or as soon as possible now that you’ve got it home. Don’t let it languish, if you realise that it was a mistake, take it back now.   Stores are not interested in old stock, once that garment has gone onto the sales rack you may either not be able to take it back, or only get store credit (and maybe there is nothing else in that store that appeals to you, unfortunately store credit doesn’t pay the rent or buy you food).
  4. Don’t buy clothes because they are on sale, always ask yourself ‘would I buy this full price?’  If at it’s full price you can see that it’s not something you’d normally wear, then you won’t wear it when it’s on sale either.  Put it back and save those pennies for a great garment that will work for you.
  5. Never shop because you’re tired, emotional or when you’re hungry and just can’t think straight.  Bad decisions will be made.  Make sure you’re fed and watered before hitting the shops so all your mental faculties are firing, so good decisions are made
  6. Understand who you are, what suits your body shape, body proportions, personality style, colouring.  The more you know about who you are as a person, what your style is, and what makes you look smokin’ the better your choices will be.  In the end this will save you lots of money as you eliminate those bad choices

Remember, your time is worth money (you can figure out your hourly rate, if you don’t already know it, based on what you are paid at work).  Do you really want to throw away half an hour or work, half a day of work or half a week of work on a garment that doesn’t flatter you?  Have you ever figured out the real cost of all the clothes you’re bought that just don’t work for you? If you need hep with any of the above, then you should check out my 7 Steps to Style program – discover your style to make shopping a breeze and never waste your money or time when shopping again!

Discover your colours and style with the best, most comprehensive online style program


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • Thanks for your thoughtful comments on my current post – I didn't know the negatives behind wordpress!!

    I wish you were here, I would hire you in a second, it's been writing my blog and reading yours that has made me realize that I would absolutely save money by hiring someone to just go through my current wardrobe to figure it out. Every time I buy clothes outside of my comfort zone because I want to be more chic, they sit in my closet anyway and I end up still wearing turtlenecks because I'm comfortable and they are warm.

    I either need to continue to buy turtlenecks or hire someone to show me how to make better use of what I have!

    Great post, as always!

  • Thanks for the great post! I have learned that for me it is better if I only buy items in person (at an actual store with a trip to the dressing room) rather than trying to shop online. Many websites offer free shipping, but I have realised that most of these offer only "one way" shipping. In addition, I spend so much time repackaging and dropping off at a UPS/Fedex/Post office!

  • You are s o right Imogen! I feel as if you are addressing this post straight to me. And I do feel guilty. I´m a very hasty customer. I don´t have the patience to sleep a night over. As I´ve told you, this goes back to my childhood, when only looking was what ever happened. Then I buy clothes, that are too fine to be worn by me. This is psychological, i know, and I´m working on it.. A very good post!

  • "Have you ever figured out the real cost of all the clothes you're bought that just don't work for you?" I did this for the first time in '09, by writing down everything I bought, then assessing at year end if it was a good buy or not.

    Sales were my downfall! I spent well over $1.000 that I regret.

  • I should do this listing too. So far, this year, I have bought 4 articles already! I try to avoid sales, the fur stole was an exception. Would I have bought it for full price? Yes.

  • This is the reason I find shopping so stressful. I go into this myriad of shops and racks and stuff all over the place, knowing there're a precious few items that work for me, and locating them is a daunting mission. Patiently trying things on is what it takes … Also, I find actually needing something helps; if I don't need the item, I'll be picky and buy nothing at all.

  • SUCH great advice! As always. Shopping and building a wardrobe take time and effort. If you spend a little of both in the beginning, you'll save so much money and frustration in the end. Love all these tips!

  • I know this is strange but I have learned to use your advice about not being tired, rushed, can't think straight…. at home. If I don't wear the new item right away then the next time I take it out I may be out of sorts and think to purge it because I was mistaken and it wasn't flattering after all. I have learned to be less hasty in my home "change room" and try on again more patiently another day. I'm ultra sensitive to sensations on/in my body and sometimes I'm just like that horse that puffs itself up and you can't cinch the saddle.

    I've also been diligent recently about doing the alterations I need to. I started to discard a new pair of charcoal denim bootleg jeans because they looked so awful. I hadn't remembered them that way. Started thinking I should never again buy bootleg jeans. Then I laid a pair of white jeans I liked on top of them and saw that if I took in the entire side seams and the upper inner thighs, they felt and looked fine.
    They needed to be a more modified, less exaggerated bootcut for my short legs. Am wearing them now.

  • I have been asking myself "if I would not buy this at full price – why do I want it at sale??"

    Stopped me buying a number of times! LOL

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