20 tips to help you shop smarter and buy clothes you will want to wear

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November 1, 2023

Have you ever purchased an item of clothing only to take it home, hang it in your wardrobe, and never ever wear it? It’s frustrating isn’t it?

An image of an angry women sat in a wardrobe throwing her clothes out

But it might make you feel a little better to know you’re not alone. It happens to more people than you’d think...and much more often than not.

A report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation claims the amount of clothing bought has doubled in 15 years, but the number of times an item is actually worn has fallen by 20%.

We’re buying more clothes than ever, but are wearing each piece less.

And I know for a fact (as you’ve told me, and I’ve seen it for myself) that some clothes aren’t being worn at all. Not even just once.

But don’t worry; if you have a closet full of clothes you’re not wearing, you are in the right place.

Over the past 17 years I’ve helped over a thousand clients to shop for clothes that work for them, that they enjoy wearing, and I’m sharing my wealth of knowledge with you in this post, so you can stop wasting money on disappointing clothes and begin to build a wardrobe you actually want to wear.

This post on how to shop for clothes is going to:

  • Share 10 reasons why you keep buying clothes you don’t wear
  • Share 20 things you can do to stop making so many shopping mistakes and learn how to shop for clothes like a pro
  • Give you a list of questions to ask yourself before you start shopping for clothes, so you can shop with focus and success.

So, scroll on down to get expert tips for how shopping for clothes' and start filling your wardrobe with clothes you can't wait to wear!

Short of Time?

Here are top 3 tips for how to shop for clothes that you will want to wear

stop buying one item at a time

If you have a tendency to buy one piece at a time and then struggle to integrate that into your collection. Change how you shop - purchase a few items at once that compliment each other, or buy complete outfits.

follow the rule of 3

Do not purchase anything unless you can think of three uses for it, or can think of three items you already have that will go with it. 

shop for your shape

Get a good understanding your shape, it's unique characteristics and proportions, then shop for clothes that work for that. 

10 reasons why you are buying clothes and not wearing them

We’ve all made purchases we’ve regretted at some point in our lives, and some of us are repeat offenders, but why? Well, more often than not, it’s down to these 10 factors. Which of them are you guilty of?


you are being influenced by your social media feed

A women scrolling her phone

We’re all guilty of this one, and I reckon it is the biggest culprit when it comes to you buying clothes you don’t wear.

Be honest, how many times have you seen someone wearing something on Instagram and either clicked the ‘shop my look’ link, or gone out and purchased the item?

It is ridiculously easy to purchase things through Instagram and Pinterest and this has led to many ill judged purchases.

Take caution – before you hit ‘add to cart’ take a step back and have a quick think about when you might wear the item and whether or not it fits with your collection and your style.


you are seduced by the discounts

We’re hit with discounts and exclusive promo codes, online and in store, on a daily basis. They’re SO hard to resist (they are marketed that way!) and have a lot to answer for when it comes to those unworn items hanging in your wardrobe.

If you purchase something you wouldn't usually buy, because it was reduced…and doesn't matter if you don’t wear it. All you’re doing is wasting money on clothes that take up valuable space in your closet and make it really difficult for you to see what you have and put outfits together that work.

If you wouldn’t consider the item when it’s full price, don't buy it when it’s reduced.


you're shopping with friends

Shopping with a friend can sometimes result in bad purchases as, unlike a professional personal shopper, they have a tendency to unwittingly pick pieces for you that they like, rather than pieces that they think will suit you.

And if something isn’t quite right for you a friend often doesn’t have the heart to tell you so - especially if they can tell you love it!


you're short of time so are shopping in a rush...on the way to the grocery store checkout

Shopping in a rush is never a good idea, you need time to think if the item is right, if it works with any other items in your closet, and you need to try the item on and check it fits you properly before parting with your hard earned cash.

If you purchase an item with the intention of trying it on at home and returning it if it’s not right…don’t do it. You know you won't return it.


you don't need any more clothes! You need to clear out your closet

An image of a box full of clothes to trash during a wardrobe declutter

When you open up your closet full of clothes, can’t find anything to wear, so wear the same few outfits on repeat, it’s easy to think that the solution is to add more clothes.

But the truth is: Adding more clothes to an already full, unworn collection, is not the solution, in fact it will only make things harder for you.

I’ll tell you what the solution is, it is to edit your wardrobe and become reacquainted with the collection so you can see what you have and identify what is missing.

Only then will you be in with a chance of wearing the new pieces you’re buying.

If you’re ready to edit your closet so it’s easy to use and fun to wear, I recommend you check out my online tutorial (for only $47) that will guide you gently through the process, from start to finish.


you are buying clothes that don't fit you correctly

Well fitting clothing is the most flattering type of clothing, but it’s also the most comfortable type of clothing so the chances are that if an item of clothing isn’t the correct fit for you, you won’t like how it looks, and you won’t like how it feels on, so you won’t wear it.

I know it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint if an item is the correct fit, so I highly recommend that you pop on over and read this post I wrote that shares my top tips for finding a great fit, off the peg. 


you are buying clothes that don't work for your body shape

If clothes don't flatter you and don’t make the most of your shape, then you'll be less likely to wear them, even if you love the item!

I'm not saying that you can't or shouldn't wear clothes that are unflattering (in fact, I wrote a post here about how to improve the look of clothes that are less flattering).

But the fact is, if you don’t feel that you look good in a piece of clothing, or it doesn't do much to show off your shape, you're probably not going to want to wear it.

If you don’t know what clothes wok best for your shape, check out these guides.

And if you’re not sure what your body shape is, you can take my FREE body shape quiz here, or purchase a body shape analysis for only $27 and I’ll tell you.


you make impulse buys

One of the biggest reasons why people buy clothes they don't wear is because of impulse buys. Something that catches your eye, and before you know it you've made a purchase.

When you get home, however, you realize that the item doesn't really fit with your style or wardrobe...or you, so you pop it in the wardrobe (label attached) and never wear it.

A good way to avoid impulse buys, is to have a wish-list on your phone (I have one on Pinterest) to give you some guidance, and help you to prioritize.


you don't know what your style is 

Another reason why you might be buying clothes you don't wear is because you don't know your style.

If you're not sure what looks good on you or what you feel comfortable wearing, you will probably end up buying a mish mash of clothes that you struggle to put into outfits, or you don’t really want to wear.

I recommend spending some time figuring out what your style is, what you like, and what types of clothing you feel confident in.  A good place to start is to head to your closet and identify what your favorite pieces are, then ask yourself why you like wearing them.


you're buying clothes in colors that don't work for you

There are colors that look amazing on you - that add warmth and brightness to your skin, and make your eye color pop.

And there are colors that drain all the color and life from your skin, and make you look washed out and tired.

If you’re buying clothes in colors that do nothing for you, there is a chance that you put them on in the morning…then take them straight off because ‘something doesn't’ look right’.

Take some time to identify what colors look best on you, then take that into consideration when you’re shopping for clothes.  There are some tips here to help you pick colors that look good on you.

20 things you can do to shop smarter and buy clothes you will want to wear

OK, now we’ve identified why you might be purchasing items and not wearing them, let's chat about what you can do to stop this from happening in the future.

Below are 20 things you can do to help determine if an item is right for you and your closet so you can shop smarter and stop wasting money on clothes you don't wear.

And if you’re thinking of writing all of this down, there is no need! I’ve designed a handy, Shop Smarter Checklist for you to download and take with you when you shop! You’ll find it at the end of this article.


revisit your closet before you hit the shops

I highly recommend that you have a quick rummage through your closet before you head to the shops just to remind yourself what you have.

This is useful for multiple reasons:

  • You’ll find it easier to decide it an item you want to buy will work with what you have
  • You might spot a gap that needs filling
  • I will help you to avoid making repeat purchases


catalogue the contents of your closet

This is tip one on steroids.

Save yourself from having to rummage through your closet and drawers before each shopping trips, and catalogue the entire contents of your closet on your phone, so you can take your collection with you wherever you go.

I realize that this is a time consuming solution but once you're done, it takes minimal effort to upkeep it and there benefits far outweigh the time and effort involved in curating it.

  • You will stop making repeat purchases because you'll be able to check in an instant whether you have something like it already.
  • You'll be able to see if an item you want to purchase will work with your collection
  • You'll be able to audition outfits

Obviously, you could photograph each item and add it to a ‘closet’ folder on your phone, but you will probably start to find you need something more organized.

I’ve been using
Trello to catalogue my closet and outfits (and I’m working on turning this into a template for y’all!), but there are plenty of Apps available that might be worth trying.

Many of them not only store your photos in an easy to see format, you can also build outfits within the apps, too, and many of them have a calendar for you to plan your outfits ahead of time.

Here are some of the most popular apps for you to take a look at:

  • STYLE BOOK - Catalogue your closet, Build outfits, make packing lists, pop outfits into a calendar, find inspiration and more! 
  • YOUR CLOSET - Catalogue your closet, build outfits, organize them by season, add outfits to a calendar and pull together packing lists. You can shop from their online catalogue, too but this isn’t something I’ve used. 
  • CLOSET - add your own clothes either by photographing them or select images of your from thousands of brands and retailers. Plan your outfits using their calendar and mix and match looks with your items.
  • STYLICIOUS - Part closet organizer, part outfit planner, part personal shopper. This app has it all!
  • WHERING  - This app's mission is to help you make the most of what you already have, by through digitizing your closet.  
An image of a women holding her phone figuring outhow to shop for clothes


document your outfits - daily

A women taking a photo of her outfit in a mirror

If you can’t bear the thought of cataloguing your entire collection, then at a minimum, I highly recommend documenting your outfits.

It’s so quick and easy to do, you just need to grab a quick full-length mirror selfie each day. They’re for your eyes only so they don’t need to be perfect – just good enough.

There are multiple benefits to documenting your outfits:

1/   It will help you to identify which clothes you're wearing the most (and what you're not wearing).
2/  You'll start to notice which clothes fit and flatter you the most
3/  It will give you outfit inspiration for those days when you're struggling to decide what to wear
4/  And it will give you a catalogue of sorts to flick through while you're out shopping that will serve as a reminder of what you have back at home.

I provide my clients with photos of all the outfits I pulled together during our closet consultations and they tell me they find this immensely helpful!

  • It will help you to identify the clothes you are wearing the most...and the ones you aren't wearing so you can buy more of the good stuff, and less of the not so good stuff
  • You'll start to notice which clothes flatter you the most, or look best on you, which will help you to focus on buying clothes that work for you
  • It will give you outfit inspiration for those days when you can't figure out what to wear
  • And it will give you a catalogue of sorts to flick through while you're shopping that will serve as reminder of what you have back at home.


go to the shops, fully prepared

If you’re looking for an item of clothing to match to something you have, take it with you so you can try it on with your picks.

Take a couple of your favorite shoes and items with you to try on with items in the fitting room.

If you’re shopping for a specific event, take the relevant footwear and underwear with you, such as heels or a strapless bra.


stop buying one item at a time

If you have a tendency to buy one piece at a time and then struggle to integrate that into your collection, change how you shop.

Plan to purchase a few items at once, or buy complete outfits. When I take my clients shopping we shop for a collection of pieces at once, this way I can ensure that each piece compliments the other and can exploit the mixing and matching possibilities.

In fact, when I’m whittling down the items for purchase, any items that aren’t versatile tend to get discarded.


play it (a little) safe

It’s fun to step outside your comfort zone and purchase some exciting new pieces…but it’s not fun if you take those items home and don’t wear them.

I am all for trying new looks, but if you find you’re buying lots of clothes that you don’t feel brave enough to wear, it’s time to re-think how far outside your comfort zone you should be stepping.

Ask yourself how much risk you feel comfortable with and rank it on a scale of 1 - 5, 1 being lowest and 5 being highest. Keep that number in mind when you’re shopping

A fairly safe way to try a new colour, print or trend, is through accessories. A pair of shoes in a bright colour will be a great way to take your style in a new direction without taking too much risk.


set your self some guidelines

If you’re someone who finds that rules and lists make life a little easier, then you might want to set yourself some guidelines for both your budget and your style.

The best way to set yourself some rules when it comes to your style is to think of it as a uniform.

Uniforms are easy - you don’t have to think about what to put with what, and everything just matches and goes together, and there is little choice or variety.

If you struggle with overwhelm and anxiety when you open a closet full of clothes, consider editing and organizing your closet to work for you in a similar way to a uniform - have fewer items, that are versatile and work well with each other, then set yourself some guidelines to help you stick to it.


buy the correct size, and always check the fit

More often than not, the reason you’re not wearing an item is because the fit isn’t quite right. I know what it’s like – you spot a piece you love, you try it on, instantly fall in love, rush to buy it…then you try it on again at home and something’s not right.

Don’t let the love for an item blind you from asessing it properly.

Take a few extra minutes in the fitting room to double check the fit of the garment. If you have time, I also recommend trying the item on in a couple of different sizes.

If you’re not sure what to look for when you’re checking the fit of clothing, then you might want to read
this post I wrote sharing my tips on what to look for


be honest

Ask yourself these 4 questions before you purchase something:

1/  Do you really like it, or are you just getting wrapped up in a latest trend?

2/  Would you buy it if it wasn't filling your social media feed?

3/  Will it work with what you have back at home?

4/  When will you wear it?


listen to your gut

Following on from the last point, if you love an item but are having any doubts about it, it’s probably not right for you.

We all do it. I do it.

You try on an item that you love, that you really want to work on, but when you look in the mirror, something isn’t quite right.

You might not be able to identify exactly what that is, and it feels so disappointing, but if you’re honest with yourself, you know that deep down you know you’re probably not going to get much wear out of it if you take it home with you.


follow the rule of three

This is my simplest, but possibly most effective piece of advice if you want to buy clothes you will wear:

Do not purchase anything unless you can think of three uses for it, or can think of three items you already have that will go with it.

This is where cataloguing your closet on your phone becomes really useful, because you can just swipe through your items and check it will slot into your collection.


figure out what your personal style is

When you don’t know what your style is, or aren’t sure what you like…or you like LOTS of different styles, it can be easy to fill your wardrobe with a mish mash of different pieces that seemingly don’t go together.

Take some time to figure out what your style is, then write set yourself some guidelines to help you keep on track.

If you don’t know where to start, gr
ab some clothes from your closet that you like wearing, pop them on, and ask yourself 👇🏻

  • What elements do I like and why? Is it the color, the shape, the neckline, the length, the fabric...
  • What does it do for my shape? Does it show off something you like about your shape, or does it draw attention away from something you want to hide? Maybe it makes your frame look more balanced, your legs longer, or your waist smaller…
  • How does it make me feel? You might feel confident, strong, pretty? Maybe it projects the image of who you want to be, communicates what you want to say, or how you want people to describe you…
  • What words describe the style of the piece?  List 2-3 adjectives 

As you go, you’ll find you start to build a clearer idea of what you actually like and you can use this to inform and develop your personal style. It’s simple but powerful stuff!

Once you’re armed with all this info, take it over to Pinterest, set up a new board titled 'Style Inspiration', and start to search for looks and outfits that align with your results!

An image of a women using Pinterest to help her find her personal style so she can shop for clothes you wants to wear


consider the colors that look best on you

If an item of clothing doesn't’ look right, but you can't put your finger on why, it’s probably the color.

Some hues will drain your color and make you look tired and washed out.

Others will add warmth, brightness and a healthy glow to your skin.

Choose clothes that to the latter.

Here are some tips to finding the best colors for you:

  • What color are your eyes? If you have blue eyes, blues look great on you. Green eyes? Greens are a great option for you. If you have brown eyes, browns will work!
  • What is your skin tone? Does it have a cool (blue) undertone to it, or a warm (yellow) undertone? If your skin has a warm undertone, your best colors will have a yellowy undertone. And if your skin has a cool undertone, colors that have a bluey undertone will be the most flattering.
  • What is your natural hair color? If it’s a warm hue, shades that have a yellow undertone will be great for you. If it’s cool, colors that have a blue undertone will be best.
  • What is the contrast between all 3 of those? Once you’ve determined if you look best in warm or cool shades, the next thing you’ll want to figure out is what depth of color (strong or soft) will work best for you. For example, if there is a strong contrast between your features, you’ll look great in strong bold colors. But, if on the other hand, there is little contrast between your features, then you will look better in colors that are soft.


keep a wishlist

I have a wish lit board on Pinterest, where I pin anything I spot that I like the look of. It’s helped me to stop making rush purchases and it helps me to see how everything looks together.

how to shop for clothes you will want to wear - create a wishlist on pinterest


identify the gaps in your collection

Quite often, the reason you struggle to put complete outfits together with your clothes is because you’re missing some essential items.

So rather than randomly adding new items that you like to your collection, identify the items that are missing, and fill those gaps.

If you need help uncovering the gaps in your closet, and figuring out what the best wardrobe essentials are for your collection, head on over to this post where I  to share my tips and advice to help you determine which essentials are best for you so you can build a capsule collection that works.


keep track of the looks that inspire you

I highly recommend creating a Pinterest board or something similar so you can store all the outfit inspiration you come across.  

You can then keep this close to hand when you're shopping for clothes, to help you stay focused.  It's a great exercise to do if you feel a little lost or overwhelmed when you’re shopping.


shop to suit your body-shape

One of the key's to buying clothes that you actually want to wear, is understanding your shape, knowing which clothes work best for you, and considering this when you shop for clothes.

If you don't, then you will continue to purchase clothes that you like, but don't like ON you.

If you need some guidance uncovering what your body shape is, and which clothes will look best on you, here are some articles and guides that will help you:


edit your closet to make space

A closet full of clothes, does not guarantee lots of outfits. In fact it’s more likely to guarantee the opposite.

If you have lots of clothes hanging in your closet, and you haven’t been through and sorted it for a while, it’s time to do it.

  • Remove all the items that no longer fit you
  • Remove all the items that dont’ align with your lifestyle or style anymore
  • Remove all the items that are damaged beyond repair
  • And remove the clothes you no longer like

Once that’s done you’ll have more space in your closet and head, to see what you actually have, will be able to identify the gaps in your collection, and will find it much easier to put complete outfits together.

If you want some guidance, I have created a self paced tutorial for only $47 that will guide you through the same process I've been using for the past 17 years to edit my clients closets.  You can see that HERE


shop online for clothes

My preference is to shop online - there is so much more choice, many more sizing options (some stores offer more variety online than they do in store), and there are often larger discounts available if you shop online.

But, you need to be confident that you know your sizing, and you know what you’re looking for, otherwise it can be extremely overwhelming.

I wrote an extremally comprehensive post about shopping for clothes online, successfully, and I highly recommend you check it out

I only shop online for my clients and I have put everything I know into this article to make sure that you buy clothes online that you do not end up returning.


ask for help!

It doesn't matter if you hate shopping, can never find anything that fits, and don't know where to start, because I do!

I've spent the past 17 years shopping for client in the UK and the USA and I can help you finally get the wardrobe you dream of, that's easy to use and fun to wear.

To find out more about my online shopping service, click here.

5 questions to ask yourself before you shop for clothes.

Before I shop for a new client I send them a comprehensive questionnaire to fill in so I can make sure I understand what they want and need, and source the right collection for them.

Some of the questions I ask them are worth you asking yourself before you hit the shops:

  1. 1
    What do you do day to day? What clothes might be suitable for that?  How do you think your closet should be proportioned to align with your lifestyle
  2. 2
    Describe your personal style: Do you like to follow trends? Which adjectives describe the look you like? How would you like people to describe your style?
  3. 3
    What are your likes and dislikes? Which prints do you like/not like?  What colors do you like/not like? What silhouettes do you like/not like? Which clothing items do you prefer to wear? Dresses, skirts, pants etc...
  4. 4
    What’s important to you? For example, is sustainability important to you? What are you passionate about? Do you want to communicate something through your style?
  5. 5
    And what clothes work best for your shape? Which styles are the most flattering and best fitting? And which clothes don't typically fit well, or look good?

some more questions you might have about how to shop for clothes

Below are some other questions I get asked about how to shop for clothes.  If you're question isn't answered here, ask me here

how do i find clothes I actually like?

When it comes to finding clothes you actually like, it's important to start with your personal style. Take some time to reflect on the types of clothes you feel most comfortable in and the colors and patterns that you gravitate towards.

This will help you narrow down your options and make shopping a more efficient and enjoyable experience.

Another helpful tip is to seek inspiration from fashion bloggers, influencers, or celebrities whose style you admire.

Look for outfits that resonate with you and take note of the specific pieces they're wearing. This can give you a starting point for your own shopping and help you discover new brands or styles that you may not have considered before.

When shopping in-store, take advantage of the opportunity to try on clothes before you buy them. This can give you a better sense of how the clothes fit and feel on your body, and can help you avoid purchasing items that don't flatter your figure or feel uncomfortable to wear.

If you prefer shopping online, be sure to read reviews from other customers to get a sense of the fit and quality of the clothes you're considering.

Many online retailers also offer free returns, so don't be afraid to order multiple sizes or styles to try on at home and return what doesn't work for you.

If you want more guidance shopping for clothes online, I’ve written a super comprehensive article here that shares all the tips I’ve learned over the years shopping for clients online.

Ultimately, the key to finding clothes you actually like is to stay true to your personal style and preferences.

Don't feel pressured to follow every trend or buy clothes just because they're on sale. Instead, focus on investing in pieces that you truly love and will wear for years to come.

how to buy clothes that look expensive?

Affordable clothes can look expensive with a with a few simple tips. Here are some ways to buy clothes that give you a high-end look without breaking the bank.

  1. 1
    Invest in quality basics that will last you a long time. These include items like a well-tailored blazer, a classic trench coat, great fitting jeans, and a classic tee. These pieces will never go out of style and can be dressed up or down, making them versatile and worth the investment.
  2. 2
    Pay Attention to Fabric - The fabric of your clothes can make a big difference in how expensive they look. Look for clothes made from natural fibers like cotton, silk, and wool. These fabrics drape well and have a luxurious feel. Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester, which can look cheap and shiny.
  3. 3
    Tailor Your Clothes - A well-fitting garment can make all the difference in how expensive it looks, but it can be extremally rare to get a perfect fit, off the rack, so consider taking your clothes to a tailor to get them hemmed, taken in, or adjusted to fit you perfectly.
  4. 4
    Accessorize Wisely - Accessories can make or break an outfit. Choose accessories that are simple and elegant, like a delicate necklace or a pair of classic pumps. Avoid flashy or trendy accessories that could make your outfit look cheap.
  5. 5
    Stick to Neutral Colors - You might want to consider sticking to a neutral color palette like black, white, gray, and beige.  Neutrals hues tend to give off an expensive, understated vibe, in part because they are timeless.  They also make a great choice if you're shopping with small budget as they are super versatile and can be worn in multiple ways, with multiple items.

why do i get anxiety when shopping for clothes?

Do you ever get anxious when shopping for clothes? You're not alone. Many people experience anxiety when shopping, especially when it comes to clothes.

Here are a few reasons why this might be happening:

  • Overwhelm - When you walk into a store, you're often faced with an overwhelming amount of options. this can sometimes make you feel like you don't know where to start, or that you'll never be able to find what you're looking for. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and stress.
  • Pressure to Make the Right Choice - When you're shopping for clothes, there can be a lot of pressure to make the right choice. You might feel like you need to choose the perfect outfit for a special occasion, or that you need to keep up with the latest fashion trends, or that the purchase needs to work because you're spending your heard earned cash. This pressure can lead to anxiety and indecision.
  • Insecurities - Shopping for clothes can also bring up body image issues. You might feel like nothing fits you quite right, or that you don't look good in anything. This can be especially challenging if you're shopping for a special occasion and feel like you need to look your best.
  • Past Negative Experiences - Past negative experiences with shopping can also contribute to feelings of anxiety. Maybe you've had a bad experience with a pushy salesperson, or you've had trouble finding clothes that fit in the past. These experiences can make it difficult to feel comfortable and confident while shopping.
  • Your personality - Finally, your personality may effect whether or not shopping makes you anxious.  For example, if you're an introvert, you might find pushy sales assistants, noise, or bright lights, uncomfortable and stressful.  

Understanding why you might be experiencing anxiety while shopping for clothes can help you take steps to manage these feelings.   

And if it's too much and you don't want to tackle this alone, let me know, I can shop for you and remove all the stress and anxiety from the process, from start to finish.

how many clothes should one person have?

When it comes to building a wardrobe, it can be challenging to know how many clothes you should have.

You don't want to have too few and be stuck wearing the same outfits every week, but you also don't want to have too many and clutter up your closet. So, how many clothes should one person have?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including your lifestyle, personal style, and budget. However, there are some general guidelines that you can follow to help you determine how much clothing you need:

  • Consider Your Lifestyle - The first thing to consider when determining how many clothes you should have is your lifestyle. If you work in a corporate office, you'll need more business attire than someone who works from home. If you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking or running, you'll need more activewear.
  • Think About Your Personal Style - Another factor to consider is your personal style. If you prefer to wear a lot of bright colors and patterns, you may need more clothing items to mix and match. If you tend to stick to neutral colors and classic styles, you may need fewer items.
  • Consider Your Budget - Your budget will also play a role in how many clothes you should have. If you have a limited budget, you may need to stick to fewer items and choose pieces that can be worn in multiple ways. If you have a larger budget, you may be able to invest in more pieces and have a wider range of options.

In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how many clothes one person should have.

It depends on your lifestyle, personal style, and budget. Use the guidelines above to help you determine how much clothing you need and build a wardrobe that works for you.

how many clothes are too many?

When it comes to clothes shopping, it's important to know how much is too much.

After all, having too many clothes can be overwhelming, can lead to clutter in your closet, and will make it really difficult for you to put outfits together with your clothes.  

  • If you’ve run out of space in your closet
  • You feel guilty each time you buy something new
  • You keep finding clothes in your closet that you’d forgotten about
  • You keep buying more of the same

Then the chances are that you have too many clothes and it's time to whittle them down.

Now, unfortunately I can't tell you what the correct amount of clothes is for you as your lifestyle, budget and requirements will be different to mine, but I do have a few tips to help you figure out if you have too many clothes?

  • Tie a ribbon on the rail in your closet and every time you hang something back that you’ve worn, put it behind the ribbon. After a few weeks you’ll start to see which clothes you’re avoiding wearing. You can then ask yourself why this is and either remove them if they’re no good, or try putting them into outfits.
  • Another way to quickly identify what you’re avoiding wearing is to turn the hanger round each time you re-hang a worn item of clothing.
  • Think about your lifestyle and what you need your clothes to do for you - then ask yourself if your closet is proportions accordingly. If you work part-time and the majority of your collection is tailored for work then it's time to realign it and remove some work-wear to make space for outfits that are suitable for home and play too.

If any clothes don't end up behind the ribbon, or remain on a hanger that's not turned around, that's an indicator that you have more clothes than you need, and it's time to assess your collection and edit it down.

I have an online, self paced tutorial for $47 that will help you do that, or you can hire me to do it for you.

what are the things to consider when buying clothes?

When it comes to buying clothes, it's important to consider several factors to ensure you make the right purchase. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. 1
    Your Body Shape and Size - One of the most important things to consider when buying clothes is your body shape and size. Clothing that fits well and flatters your body shape can make you feel confident and comfortable. Be honest with yourself about your body shape and size, and choose clothes that highlight your best features and downplay any areas you're not as confident about.  If you don't know what your body shape is, take my FREE body shape quiz here.  And if you want to know exactly what clothes are the most and least flattering for your shape, click here.
  2. 2
    Your Personal Style - Your personal style is another critical factor to consider when buying clothes. Choose clothes that reflect your personality and make you feel good. Don't buy something just because it's trendy or fashionable if it doesn't align with your personal style.
  3. 3
    The Occasion - Consider the occasion when buying clothes. Are you buying something for work, a formal event, or everyday wear? Choose clothes that are appropriate for the occasion. For example, a formal dress may not be suitable for a casual day out with friends, and vice versa.
  4. 4
    The Fabric - The fabric of the clothing is another important consideration. Choose fabrics that are comfortable and breathable, especially if you live in a warm climate. Consider the care instructions for the fabric, as some fabrics may require special care.
  5. 5
    Sustainability - If sustainability is important to you, consider the brands you shop from and how your clothes are made.  This fantastic website is a great place to head if you want to find out how sustainable your favorite stores are...and to find great alternatives.
  6. 6
    The Price - Lastly, consider the price of the clothing. While it's important to invest in quality pieces, it's also important to stick to your budget. Don't overspend on clothes that you may only wear once or twice. Consider buying clothes on sale or secondhand to save money.

how to shop for clothes on a budget

Shopping for clothes on a budget can seem daunting, but it's definitely possible to look fashionable without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to help you shop smart and save money:

Set a Budget

Before you start shopping, it's important to set a budget. Determine how much you can afford to spend on clothes and stick to it. This will help you avoid overspending and keep your finances in check.

Shop Secondhand

Shopping at secondhand stores can be a great way to save money on clothes. You can find gently used items for a fraction of the cost of new clothes.

Look for consignment stores, thrift stores, and online marketplaces like Poshmark and thredUP in the US, and Vinted and Vestiaire Collective in the UK and Europe.

Look for Sales and Discounts

Always be on the lookout for sales and discounts. Many stores offer seasonal sales and clearance events where you can find great deals on clothes; sign up for store newsletters and follow them on social media to stay informed.  

Shop Online 

You'll often find that stores offer larger, or more frequent discounts if you shop with them online. 

And I highly recommend signing up with Honey to you earn Gold points that you can redeem for cash, gift cards or PayPal shopping credits.  It's super simple, you sign up, then add their extension to your browser.  When you head to an online store, Honey will pop up and let you know if there are any discounts running, and how much cashback you can earn for your purchase.  Simple!

Invest in Quality Basics

Investing in quality basics that are well made, and wash well, will save you money in the long run.

Avoid Trends

Trends come and go, and it can be tempting to buy into the latest fashion craze. However, trendy items often have a short lifespan and can quickly go out of style. Stick to classic, timeless pieces that will never go out of fashion.

Shopping for clothes on a budget doesn't have to be stressful. With a little planning and some smart shopping strategies, you can look stylish without breaking the bank.

Remember to set a budget, shop secondhand, look for sales and discounts, invest in quality basics, and avoid trends.


Shopping smart for clothes means being mindful of your needs, budget, body-shape and style.

By following the tips and tricks outlined in this article, you can make the most out of your shopping experience and get the best value for your money, and buy clothes you will actually want to wear.

Remember to always start with a plan and a budget, and stick to them.  Focus on quality over quantity and invest in timeless pieces that you can wear for years to come, rather than trendy items that will go out of style quickly.

Consider the fabric, fit, and durability of each item before making a purchase.  Purchase clothes that work for your body-shape, not against it.  

And lastly, don't forget to have fun and express your personal style. Experiment with different colors, patterns, and textures to create unique and versatile outfits. 

Do this and you'll shop smart for clothes like a pro, and build a wardrobe that you love wearing!


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Hi, I'm Niki

author and personal stylist

Over the past 18 years I’ve freed thousands of women from the frustration of disappointing outfits, by showing them how to dress to make the most of their shape, and helping them build a closet that's easy to use and fun to wear.  My blog shares the tried and true tips and knowledge I've developed, to help you stop wasting money on disappointing clothes, and build a closet you enjoy wearing.

You can find out more about Niki here

And you can get in touch with Niki here