I asked NY-based image consultant Melanie Lippman to give us some more pointers on our wardrobes after her super successful Women Who Wow webinar (you can watch the replay here).

Melanie works with professional women to strategically use their clothing to give them confidence.  She does this by redefining their style in a way that’s authentically them… just amped up a little, closet edits, personal shopping and creating preplanned outfits (so women no longer stand in front of your closet thinking what the hell am I gonna wear).

Melanie feels that getting dressed is so much more than pretty clothes – it’s about your presence, stepping into who you are becoming and powerfully owning your corner of the universe.

There are so many great sales happening right and they are pretty tempting as we are redefining our style as wardrobe needs have changed over the past year.

I love me a good sale! My clients constantly tell me that they love how I am finding them exactly what they need at great prices… everywhere from H&M, Nordstrom Rack, the Outnet to Poshmark

But that’s the key… it’s exactly what they need! We should be strategically adding to our wardrobes not just buying stuff they will still have their discounted price tags hanging from them a year later.

So how do we ensure that we are strategically sale shopping and not just buying because it’s a good deal? Here are 7 questions to ask yourself before you add it to your physical or virtual cart.

1 – Do I already own this? 

We are creatures of habit and try to avoid being uncomfortable, so we typically go with an item that we know will work for us and will fit. Besides owning multiple v-neck black tees – this is also true for an item that serves the same purpose.

Even if a skirt might be different in color and print, if it gives you the same styling options as the pieces you already own, it’s not really adding to your wardrobe, it’s going to worn instead of the item; which isn’t very useful.

To see what I mean, let’s take a look at my recent obsession with a puff sleeve.

I just love how this detail makes your waist looks smaller and gives a modern twist to an outfit. The second I see a puff sleeve poking out from a rack, I run to snatch it up. But while I might get excited over the pretty piece, I almost never buy it. Why? Because I literally already own 7 puff sleeve tops, I definitely don’t need any more, even if that one in particular was in a different color or came in a new texture.

Stop yourself from making repeat purchases by going mentally back into your closet and seeing if you have anything similar. If you do, step away from the piece.

Assignment: The next time you pick up a your version of the puff sleeve top, try and see if it’ll contribute a new “pop!” to your wardrobe. For example, if it comes in a color you don’t own, is it a color that will make a difference? Will it make old jeans feel new again? Does it have layering potential that your other shirts don’t? If the answer is no, put it back. Because even if it’s a little bit different, if it doesn’t give you wild new styling options, it’s just another item in your closet.

2 – Can I build three outfits with it?

How many pieces do you have hanging in your closet right now that are absolutely beautiful but you have nothing to pair them with? Avoid having a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear by first seeing if the item in question will play nice with the rest of your wardrobe.

Assignment: When you’re excited to buy a specific piece, take a second and see if you can create at least three outfits with the items you already own. If you find it too tricky or you can only come up with one or two, don’t  buy it.

There’s no need to spend money on a piece that will only bring you two outfits a year because it doesn’t work with your wardrobe. It might be hard, but your wallet (and the back of your closet) will thank you.

3 – Am I 100% comfortable wearing this in MY life? 

If there is one thing that has come out the pandemic, it’s the desire to feel comfortable in our clothes.

I can’t tell you how many pieces just don’t fit right once you start living your life wearing them.

When you’re bending over, sitting down or layering it with another piece. [Note from Stefanie – this is how I feel about pencil skirts!] What usually happens to those pieces usually stay in the back of your closet for a few years until you finally give up on the charade and give them away.

In order to cut back on that, make sure you’re 100% happy with the fit. Be honest with yourself—don’t just say you’re fine with how you can’t move your arms, or how it kind of sort of gives you a wedgie, or that you’ll get it tailored, because you won’t be in the long run!

Another thing, if you need a special bra to wear with a top and you don’t already own that bra, it’s probably best to not bring that top home with you!

Assignment: Become a pro at making returns! When get something new, practice some yoga to see how the item moves with your body. Sit down on the bench, cross your legs, bend over, lift your arms and move them around. If you feel anything off—a mini camel toe, a bra hanging out, a pinching at your sides, don’t even bother. You might be fine with it now, but just wait until you’re in 2 hours into sitting in stressful meeting and all you can about is the skirt digging into your stomach. You’ll want to throw them in the trash and consider elastic waistbands for the rest of your life. If it’s not perfect send it back!

4 – Does this piece work for my lifestyle?

Do you keep buying sequin tops but always go out for pizza and beers on weekends? Do you have lots of heels, but can’t wear them as you chase after your kiddos all day? Do you keep buying off the shoulder tops, but have no desire to wear a strapless bra?

Try to avoid having a closet full of items that you have no occasion to wear to them, shop for your own lifestyle. Not the one you want, not the one you had before kids, but the one you have right now.

Assignment: Even as your heart is tap dancing in your chest over the beautiful gorgeous dress you have ever laid your eyes on, take a moment and examine your lifestyle. Ask yourself questions like will you have places to wear that item to, are you okay running to the dry cleaners every other week, is a leather jacket too hot for where you live, are you not mentally prepared to wear that fringe vest out for errands?

Think first if it fits into the life you have, not the one you wish you had or will have when your kids get older.

5 – Is it filling a wardrobe gap?

Think of your wardrobe as one cohesive puzzle and each item is a piece that fills in the gaps to complete that jigsaw. Before you pick up that blazer, consider whether it’s filling a wardrobe gap or creating a new one.

Assignment: Envision what you could do with your piece in question. Will it be easy to layer with? Will it give some old top or blazer new life? Will its color work with your palette or is it going to be tough to work into your wardrobe? If the piece fills a closet gap, get it and go home to make some new outfits. If it isn’t going do much of anything, don’t get it.

6 – Can you keep up with the maintenance?

If it’s dry clean only and you have a bag to go to cleaners that hasn’t left your closet in months, I don’t think this item will inspire a change inside you. If you despise ironing, it’s best to steer clear of linens. You already have 3 pair of jeans that needed to be hemmed for a year – it’s best to buy cropped or petite jeans.

Assignment: Always double check the labels! If you don’t mind a trip to the dry cleaners after work and the expense, then there’s no problem. But if you’re the type that just leaves it there for months, it’s best to put it back.

7 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Buy Something New (1)

7 – Am I buying this just because it’s on sale?

It was $300 and now it’s $30… you think what a deal and convince yourself you like it. If you don’t have much use for it or you’re not going to wear it, then it’s not much of a deal, is it?

Assignment: Before you going running to purchase, pause and think about if you actually need/like the piece, or if you’re buying it because it’s on sale. If you’re tired of editing your closet every year and tossing out huge hunks of purchases, don’t fall into the clearance trap! Only buy things you truly need and like.

Okay so there it is… if you’re still wanting to make a purchase after asking yourself these 7 questions, you have a keeper.

If shopping in general is extremely overwhelming to you or you don’t have a clear idea of how to create a wardrobe that supports, you are not alone! Click here to grab a spot on Melanie’s calendar to book a FREE style strategy session. 

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