How Not to Buy Crap Ever Again


I often hear from women just how frustrating shopping can be.  My clients tell me when we’re on a personal shopping expedition that they normally give up really quickly, and my online community of 7 Steps to Style members has also let me know just how dissatisfying and unfruitful a shopping trip can be.

My advice is to change your expectations and reframe your experience.  Now I’m going to share with you some of my professional shopping experience so you will feel more empowered next time you go shopping, plus these tips will save you money as they help you stop buying the wrong clothes.

This Easy Shopping Strategy Will Change Your Life and Save You Money

How to Become a Successful Shopper

How do you turn a shopping trip which yields nothing great into something worthwhile?

In my experience, the way to do this is to consider it to be a learning experience.

Shopping brings out the ancient “hunter/gatherer” instinct in us.  We have to bring home the kill, the berries, the fruits of our labour.  We are innately programmed to do so.  If we come home empty handed we feel that we have “failed” in our mission.

Yet, frequently there is little in the stores for us.  Sure you may see thousands of garments in a department store, but really only 10-20 of those may be possible (worth trying on because they suit your lifestyle, wardrobe gaps, personality, body shape, colouring, proportions, and other needs), and from that small number, how many are really great?  How many fit you?  How many really work?  Often from that it will be 5 or less (and sometimes that means a big zero).

I love hearing when a client of mine who has learned about her style tells me that instead of feeling disappointed when she went shopping and brought home nothing.  Instead she feels empowered.  She knew there was nothing there for her.  She was not talked into buying something by a sales assistant that would have been a mistake.

Feeling empowered rather than disappointed is an enormous win!

There is no point in buying something that doesn’t tick your boxes, that isn’t representative of your style recipe, and that fits poorly.

There is no point in buying replicas of garments you already have if they are not filling a wardrobe hole.

Instead, as one of my clever 7 Steppers said recently in a Facebook conversation after a webinar:

My lightbulb moment was when you explained that shopping trips triggered the hunter/gatherer instincts in us all. I need to treat the shopping experience more like a chemistry class in school. 7 Steps provides the lectures, shopping expeditions should be like chem lab — all about preparation, experimentation, and documentation of the results. If I learn a single fact from a brick-and-mortar trip, the lab will be considered a success. Thank you!

I treat my  own shopping trips as exploratory missions.  Finding out what is currently in fashion, the colours, and styles, what I do and don’t like.  Trying on for the sake of seeing how something will work on my body.  Discovering more about me.

I see shopping as research.

I don’t take clothes that don’t fit or don’t suit my body as a personal affront, or that there is something wrong with me (remember, it’s the clothes, not your body).  And I know that the majority of the stuff in stores is not for me.

How to stop buying crap - the one shopping strategy you need

One Strategy to Stop You Buying Crap and Save Money

There is no point in filling your wardrobe with crap – those pieces that don’t tick all your boxes.

What to do?

Rate your purchases.

Before you leave the store, rate the garment on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being perfect and 1 being crap.

Then don’t leave the store without it being at least and 8.

When you get home, in the cold light and your own mirror, put the garment on again and rate it again (sometimes the lighting or the skinny mirror, or just the sensory experience of shopping may get the better of you).

If it doesn’t live up to that 8 -10 rating, then take it back!

So, your new shopping mantra?  “Make it an 8!”

And view your shopping trips as a scientific experiment, not a hunting trip.

That way, you will learn so much more about your likes and dislikes, your body, colouring, fabric and texture preferences plus so much more.

In the words of another of my fabulous 7 Steppers:

  • Don’t get discouraged
  • Don’t buy crap
  • Use every shopping trip as a learning experience

How will using this strategy change the way you shop and feel about shopping?


7 steps to style solve the style puzzle


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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  • Fantastic article! I feel discouraged very often because I can’t find garments that tick the boxes, and that makes for a really small amount of options to choose among… It’s all about changing the point of view. Will give it a try!

    • For most of us that actual percentage of what is great is very small (we are just conned into thinking there is more by the volume of “stuff” out there!

  • I employed this strategy this weekend while clothes shopping and it IS really empowering. My intention was to only fill gaps in my wardrobe/replace items.

    My empowerment moment came when I found a jacket on the clearance rack for $7. I have a weakness for jackets so I grabbed it because it was “such a good deal”! Before it could make it’s way to the check out I made myself rate it and put it back on the rack. My brain tried it’s best to spin things but nope, it didn’t work this time.

    I left with what I came in for and that was it.

    I’ve been paring down my closet to only what I wear as the season calls for it. Now I can say I’ve finally managed to pare down my shopping to where I am not bringing new orphans to replace the ones I got rid of.

  • The idea of “the gatherer” and going to our primal instincts makes so much sense when it comes to shopping Imogen!
    Lately I’ve been feeling empowered, like your customer.. since I am on a shopping ban I guess its the feel I need.
    Just look for whatever I need in the closet.

  • Hi one thing I have noticed that there is very little for a 5’1” who has a large bust and wide hips. Consequently I need to upsize to a 20 or 22 because I don’t like clothes that cling particularly in the hot summer we experience. However very few stores stock theses sizes and if they do they only have 1 or 2 which as you can imagine go very quickly yet side 20 and 12 are still on the racks. Are designers deliberately not designing lovely fashion for larger sizes and buyers not buying enough of larger size garments. We larger ladies like to look elegant,classic and smartly dressed too.

    • Carryn, I don’t know where you are located, but in Brisbane area, I have seen in the last couple of weeks that TS14 now stock a petite range, which I was told is suited to ladies of shorter statue … 5’1″ish I think she said. Hope this helps.

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