shop responsibly!

I was so tired of seeing those generic “Shop better” or “Stop impulse buying” articles that just tell you to the same thing (“budget yourself!”) in 5 different ways.  I always come away with absolutely nothing.
So I’ve compiled my own list of the ways to become a smarter shopper (mainly when it comes to clothes).  These have helped me immensely and hopefully some of these tips can help you too.

1. Spring clean your wardrobe!  Give away all the clothes you’ll never wear.  A general rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn it in over a year, chances are you won’t wear it again.

2. Take an inventory and conclude what you have, what you need and what you want.  Remember to put away your winter clothes (or summer clothes, if it’s winter time) .  I like to put mine in the back of the closet.  This helps me to clear my mind and figure out what I have/need/want more easily.

3. Only buy clothes you absolutely love.  If it’s only $8, but you feel indifferent about it, then pass.  It’s not a good deal if you’re never going to wear it.  Bye-bye, $8!

I’ve been guilty of doing this from time to time.  Case in point: I bought this top for $6.99, but when I brought it home I thought,  “I really don’t like those longer sides  “.  I was a sucker for a good sale.  But luckily,  I kept the receipt and tags so back to the store it goes!

4. If you can’t decide whether to buy something or not, put it on hold (if the store allows it).  If I’m still thinking about it a day later, I’ll run to the store to buy it.  If you forgot about it…well, that says something.

5. When you buy an item, let it sit with the tag attached and the receipt for a couple of days (unless it’s one of those situations where you simply must wear it right away).  This gives time to examine the item in the right lighting and think: Can I produce multiple outfits with this?  Does this look as good as it did in the store?

6. When buying for a special occasion, try to find a dress or an outfit that you can see yourself wearing more than once.  Or something that can be dressed down or worn to work.  Accessories are your friend!

7. Be mindful of who you’re shopping with.  Friends or relatives who will be nothing but completely genuine and honest with you are the ideal shopping companions.  This is why I like to shop with my Mom.  She tells it like it is.  “Sorry, but that does nothing for you” is her favorite line.

Got any more tips you’d like to share?

-jillian m.

35 responses to “shop responsibly!”

  1. M@coffeeandkitsch says:

    These are excellent tips! #5 is something I've started doing this past year and I've made many, many returns. It is usually a sign that I have to head back to the store when I go to put on a newly purchased item for a night out….and then switch to something else.

    I often struggle with trying to convince myself that something will look good if I get in better shape or I am blinded by how cute it is on the hanger – and you know those store mirrors lie to you until you get home and see that you look like a doily!

    My tip would be: if it doesn't fit now – don't buy it now, and if you have nowhere to wear it yet – don't buy it!

  2. jillian m. says:

    That is awesome advice!

    I've done that before…when I buy something with nowhere to wear it to. You end up doing nothing with it for months or years!

  3. sherri lynn says:

    These are great tips! I am usually thinking about all these things when I go shopping too….which is why I usually end up with hardly anything! I am super picky, which is great for my wallet :)

    Also when I try something on, if it isn't a perfect fit for my body type, then I don't buy it. I only want clothes that make me feel confident!

  4. Fashion Meets Food says:

    I seriously need better shopping habits. i am so impulsive!


  5. Ruthiegyll says:

    i love those tips. So true! I spend SO much less money when I only buy clothes I love. I keep my running wish list on Kaboodle.. and I find that most of the things I put on my wish list, I actually forget about within a few days.

  6. jillian m. says:

    Sherri Lynn- Agreed! Wearing clothes that look, fit and feel great is the way to go. The most important thing is feeling comfortable with yourself and what you're wearing.

  7. jillian m. says:

    Erica-I can be a little impulsive myself! It happens to the best of us!

  8. Felicia says:

    I love these tips. I try to only buy things that I love and make me want to dance!

  9. Vasu says:

    thanks….love the pictures….u have an amazing blog

  10. Meghan @ My Wishful Thinking says:

    These are some really good tips Jillian! I think I am a pretty crap shopper! I buy loads of junk because it's cheap and then never wear any of it or give it away! I start out with an objective (like I really need a new winter coat) and then come home with flip flops and bikinis. Gotta try and remember these tips and not get lured by bargains!

  11. says:

    Great tips!!!

    I totally do the 48 hour rule…if I'm still thinking about something in the next 2 days then I go back for it. And I return/exchange like it's my job!!! My boyfriend always makes fun of me, but I tend to be impulsive or my mirror is not the complimenting mirror that are in some stores so I don't like it anymore. Returning is the best!

  12. Leslie *Fresh Out of Lemons* says:

    I'm a receipt saver too! In fact, I just bought a dress on Friday that I've decided I don't love. The dress is actually another good tip– if the piece is already wrinkly just hanging in the store, do you really want to slave over a hot iron every time you wear it?!

  13. jillian m. says:

    Meghan – At least, you start out with the right idea! Haha. I'm weak when it comes to bargains, but I always take a step back and think, Am I really going to wear/use this?

    Jamillah – Returning IS the best. Especially when the policy allows you to bring it back 90 days later.

    Leslie – That's a great point! I hate ironing clothes. I just bought the Downy Wrinkle Releaser, which is a spray that takes out mild wrinkles for you in under a minute. I love it and it's saved me so much time!

  14. Alena: Oh, It's Just Perfect! says:

    Such great advice Jillian! Thanks for sharing. Hope you're having a great Wednesday!

  15. Diana Mieczan says:

    Those are totally brilliant tips, sweetie and I agree that its always better to buy a special occasion outfit that you can wear more than once. Kisses and have a lovely afternoon

    Ps: I’m hosting a great sportswear GIVEAWAY today! Perfect for morning yoga practice!

  16. magdalena says:

    I NEED to do this!

  17. la petite coquine says:

    I love shopping with my mama-we've been doing it for years, and there's no one else I trust to help me! After losing out on one spectacular dress, we agreed that if it's right, it's right, and you shouldn't chance walking away from something truly spectacular. On the other hand, if you're not sure, walk away and give it a little time-if you're still dreaming about it the next day, it's meant to be yours!

  18. Kristy says:

    Super tips! My tip would be I always plan the day before, check stores websites for what I'm "looking" for and check availability and price. I then, only bring enough to buy that and cover the tax that way it eliminates the ability to overspend (shittiest thing ever) and I usually am well prepared so I already know what I want! :) x

  19. Alison says:

    love love love these tips! so true!

  20. Ashley says:

    AWESOME and fabulous tips! Good job, girl!

  21. jillian m. says:

    Kristy-That's a great tip! You are super disciplined.

  22. Justine @ Urban Scarlet says:

    great post with awesome tips! they are certainly useful! i like the idea of leaving the item attached with its tag — usually i run home, remove its tag and hang it… and, in turn, totally forget about it :( bummer!

  23. Brookelyn says:

    This is great advice, and I definitely try to shop this way!

  24. Aquí says:

    Great post! I'm totally guilty of the impuse buy. Got your email today whenever is fine! Can't wai to see how this turns out :)

  25. catflicks says:

    i've been needing to sort through my stuff for ages, and i'm at that stage where i'm really picky with what i buy now, it has to be perfect :) great post and blog!

  26. Sam {} says:

    these are really great tips! i try to be a mindful shopper, but i fall into all the traps every now and then :)

  27. The Many Colours of Happiness says:

    These are great tips!!! One thing I found that helped was I made decision to only buy ethical clothing (vintage; or made in Australia with Australian material- obviously you'll switch this up depending on where you're living; and clothes from places like 'eco fashionista'. Since most ethical clothing is SO expensive, I have ended up buying nothing… Hello savings! :p

  28. The Blushing Fox says:

    aweosme i wallnt all of these <3 it

  29. Ruby Girl says:

    these were helpful tips! your intro got me. i was like. hm, she is certainly right about most budget-shopping advice posts being pretty generic. and i liked your thoughts a lot! <3

  30. Angel Garcia says:

    Awesome tips.. Completely agree with all of them. Especially the last ones.. I hate the friends who tell you "you look great" even though you look like crap.. I like people who say it like it is.. That's how I am and many of my friends often get mad..

    All the best, Angel

  31. Michelle's Style File says:

    Great tips- I'm a big one for putting things on hold to think about overnight.

  32. jillian m. says:

    Kaylia – That's really cool. I have noticed that ethically made clothes are pretty expensive, so don't blame you for being frugal!

    Lindsey – I'm so glad you agree with me! I was just done wih reading the same things over and over. It's like, give me some real advice here!

    Angel – Haha! I guess it's all in how you say it too. But some people just can't handle the truth!

  33. Valerie says:

    I always shop alone. I hate shopping with friends. I only bring friends along to choose from items I love but cant make up my mind on which one to buy. I'm too ecclectic and my friends' taste vary. I've learned to trust your instance and only seek a second opinion when needed.

  34. theeclecticlife says:

    Jillian! I love what you've written out here and I couldn't agree more! Especially the "buy what you absolutely love" tip. I also think at our age we're in a constant battle of quality (high price) over quantity (more pieces for cheap). The only tip I would include just to piggy back on what you've basically implied is versatility. For a thifty spenders like me, I want to buy a piece that I can pair potentially day or night, with a skirt of jeans, for work and potentially for the weekends. It increases a piece's value by so much if it's versatile!

  35. jillian m. says:

    Versatility is one of the characteristics I look for in clothing as well. I tend to go out after work so having something that's appropriate for the office, but can be dressed up without looking too "officey" is so important!

    And such a great point about quality vs. quantity. I try to look for quality, but sometimes fall into that trap of buying a bunch of cheap things. It's a vicious cycle!

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