We’re all guilty of making a ridiculously out-of-budget purchase or shopping a little too often for thrifty thrills, but as we’re all getting older, we figure we might as well work on getting a little wiser, too. In this spirit, we went ahead and rounded up the common shopping patterns that might be holding you back. From something as simple as your choice in denim to knowing when and where to start investing in a long-lasting wardrobe, read up the shopping habits to ditch that will show you how to dress in your 30s and beyond. Scroll down to see if you’re guilty of any, and to check out our solutions.
1. Going over your budget
Newsflash: You may tell yourself you’re going to eat ramen for the next month to afford that purse, but that won’t happen. It’s just plain delusional—trust us, we’ve tried enough times to know. Here’s our guide to what you should be spending on clothes.
Instead, find smart ways to stay on budget, like shopping discount sites such as The Outnet:
Alexa Chung High-Rise Kick-Flare Jeans ($128)
Ganni Agnes Two-Tone Satin-Faille Pumps ($142)
2. Shopping exclusively at fast-fashion stores
Here’s what happens when you continually replenish your closet solely from stores like Zara, Topshop, and H&M: You’ll be pleased with the new additions for a month or two, but then have to start shopping all over again once the trendy items don’t feel quite so current.
Instead, invest in quality clothes:
Everlane The Drape Trench Coat ($138)
By Far Kim Silk-Satin Mules ($415)
3. Buying items that look too young
Here’s our guide to the items that should be weeded out of your closet by age 30.
Instead, shop for sophisticated pieces:
Violeta by Mango Double-Breasted Structured Blazer ($130)
Anine Bing Rosemary Printed Silk-Satin Midi Dress ($380)
4. Buying a new outfit for every event.
You likely have a packed social calendar, and if you use every invitation as an excuse to go shopping, you might soon have an empty bank account and a closet full of worn-once dresses.
Instead, shop your closet or try a rental service like Rent The Runway:
Mara Hoffman Vivica Dress ($85)
Reformation Nikita Dress ($50)
5. Buying with the intention to return
If you buy something you kind of like with the mentality of “I can always return it,” you really shouldn’t buy it at all.
Instead, purchase only pieces you’ll love long-term, like these bags:
Danse Lente Zoe Box Bag in Marshmallow/Toffee ($480)
A.P.C. Demi-Lune Shoulder Bag ($470)
6. Buying items that don't fit.
Be wary of any purchase that comes with this thought: “Sure, it’s a little tight, but this will motivate me to get in shape.”
Instead, make sure you buy items that work perfectly for your body, and when in doubt, buy items with stretch:
Re/Done Originals High-Rise Ankle Crop Ultra Stretch skinny jeans ($225)
Good American Good Curve Straight Leg Jeans ($159)
7. Buying an item without an occasion to wear
We hate to break it to you, but that invitation for that black-tie gala might never arrive, so maybe pass on that gorgeous beaded gown.
Instead, buy items only when you have a place in mind to wear them, like this jumpsuit for work or weekend:
Who What Wear Belted Utility Jumpsuit ($29)
Also available in more sizes.
This story has been updated by Anna LaPlaca.
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