Not minding how fashionable you think you are, there is every probability that there is something  you’re getting wrong about fashion.

Below are 5 major wrong things that most women do when it comes to fashion.

Desperation Shopping

The Problem: A big event—a we­dding, a Bar Mitzvah, a special birthday— looms on the calendar. Instead of heading to a store you can count on, with plenty of lead time, you refine a list of reasons not to shop: I don’t know what to get. I don’t have the time/money/energy. Maybe there’s some­thing in my closet I can wear! At the last minute, you panic and race to make a purchase, perhaps plunking down extra cash for express shipping—to end up with something pricey that you don’t love and may never wear again. You don’t look your best, and you feel like a ding­-dong for overspending.

The Solution: As soon as you get an invitation, schedule time on your calendar to figure out what to wear. When assessing your own clothes, bear in mind that with the addition of borrowed, thrifted, or rented accessories, your problem­-solving dress or outfit might be right in front of your face. If you’re certain that you have nothing that’s right, consider a site like Rent the Runway, where you can borrow from an extensive library of new­-season designer clothes at reasonable prices. (An evening dress for a wedding can rent for as little as $30.) Make sure to leave yourself at least four days before the event—a minimum of one for shipping and three to exchange (just in case). If you would rather own, you might want to sign up for a service like Keaton Row (keatonrow.com), which pairs you with a personal stylist who can help you pick out items or put together a head­-to-­toe look. Meanwhile, do a gut check. Maybe you’re stressing about choosing an outfit for reasons that have nothing to do with clothes. Is there something about the event that makes you uncomfortable? Are you scared to encounter someone you haven’t seen in a long time, or worried a family event will remind you of a loss? Maybe you’ve imbued your outfit with magical qualities. (If I don’t get the perfect dress, the day will be ruined.) Identifying your feelings—either on your own or with a trusted confidante—helps put the task of getting dressed into perspective.

Undie-Lying Issues

Colorful panties close up picture.

The Problem: Your panty lines aren’t just visible through your clingy skirt—they’re unmissable. You’re spilling out of the top or sides of your bra, and the lace cups are making your shirt stick where it should slide. Your shapewear is squeezing you like a sausage casing, you can’t remember the last time you didn’t have a wedgie, and you feel deeply unsexy.

The Solution: First, see a bra fitter at least once a year. Bodies are constantly changing, and skilled guides are at your service—free. Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, and the mall stores Aerie and Soma all employ well­-trained fitters with the know­how to address everything from back bulge to gaping shirt buttons. Second, explore the vast array of seamless panties. (Buy a single pair of a few different styles, then stock up on the winners.) Third, know that shapewear should not torture you. The key is to opt for breathable, lightweight raw­-edge pieces (try the Vanishing Edge line from Soma) and select the size that you really are. Remember that underthings have a limited life span. Stretched­-out elastic and wires that poke through are signs that items are ready for the trash. (Once the garments are purged from your drawer, there’s no chance you’ll accidentally wear them.) And, finally, as you restock, think about matched sets and pieces in your favorite colors.Then the first things you put on in the morning will make you feel comfortable, confident, and attractive. And that will make a happy difference in your day.

Markdown Mania

The Problem: Sales and special offers cause you to lose your mind. Budgeting and good sense leave the building. You end up with clothes that you don’t need, would never wear, and don’t even look good in.

The Solution: Bargains are the number one reason that people end up with useless items, and flash sales only heighten the risk. So before you click “buy” or bolt to the checkout counter, pause. Reflect. Is it the thrill of the bargain that you’re responding to or the item itself? Ask your­self, If this were full price, would I still want it? Do I need it? Imagine what you’ll wear it with and for what occasion. Ask yourself what else in your closet serves the same purpose. Then think about how many hours you work to earn the money that you are about to blow on this item. And take a second to consider what else you could spend that cash on if you didn’t spend it here. If you’re good with the answers you come up with, then proceed with confidence. (And, by the way, congratulations on money well spent.)

Cobbler-Phobia

The Problem: Failure to engage in preventive maintenance and regular rehab of footwear. Such behavior can result in beyond­ repair leather, trashed soles, and premature shoe death.

The Solution: Spare yourself and your wallet grief with this simple regimen for your best pairs. Treat new shoes with a lightweight, breathable water­ and stain­-repellent spray before the first wear. (Try Protect All, kiwicare.com.) Then, depending on how often you use them, give shoes a spritz every week or so. (It’s like putting on moisturizer: It’s not a one­-and- done situation.) Keep daily grime from setting into permanent stains with a quick once­over after each wearing; use a soft cloth for leather and a bristled brush for suede. (Spots on suede can be treated first with a special eraser.) When leather­-soled shoes and boots are young, have a skilled cobbler add thin protective rubber soles. The look won’t be compromised, and they will last much longer. Don’t put this task off: If the original soles are too far gone, thin rubber soles won’t save them. Have the rubber replaced when it starts to wear.

Closet-Disorder Disorder

The Problem: Piling multiple tops onto a single hanger, over­-stuffing drawers, and cramming hanging rods so tightly that the jaws of life are required to extract clothes. Plumbing the depths feels so overwhelming, you default to grabbing what’s just out of the laundry—which means that you end up wearing the same things over and over and over again.

The Solution: First, carve out and honor an off­-season storage spot. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Attic, basement, a spare dresser, under­-bed bins—whatever you can make happen. Twice a year, move off­ season clothes out of sight. During this transition time, get rid of what no longer fits, suits your life, or makes you happy. And to ensure that you never (again?) end up with 12 pairs of black pants, organize the winners first by type and then by color. Use the correct hanger for the task: Lightweight, flat flocked hangers work for thin, light tops; sturdier hangers maintain the shape and structure of coats and blazers. Heavy knit sweaters and dresses will stretch if hung; instead, fold them and store in drawers or on shelves. Protect trousers from those telltale knee creases by hanging them from the bottom, on clip­-style trouser hangers. Store handbags (emptied of pens, gum, and anything else that might leak or attract pests) on a shelf separated with clear dividers or, if you have no shelf space, on large S­-hooks on the closet rod.

 

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