How to Stop Buying Clothes You’ll Never Wear

What if I told you I have clothing in my closet that I have never worn? I’m sure you do too. There are items in your closet that still have the tags on them because you bought them and never worn them or only wore them once. There are things you keep taking out of your closet thinking that you should wear it, but never do. It ends up getting shoved back into the closet wasting precious money and wardrobe space.

I have always loved shopping. Browsing through the racks of brand-new styles. Sifting through sales searching for amazing pieces that others have overlooked. Reading the price tags and calculating in my mind how much I could buy (that’s the most math I ever do!).  The feeling of the shopping bag in your hand. It’s a rush.

I find that, occasionally, there are garments that I loved in the store, but once I get home, I don’t love them quite as much. Several years ago, I bought a cute lace cardigan. It is a floral print lace that has shades of black, pink, and yellow. It has leather trim around the edges and zippers on the side. I thought it was such a cool, unique piece when I bought it. However, I have only worn it once and I didn’t even make it through the whole day in it. I had to change my outfit.

The cardigan has several problems; the main one being that I never know when to wear it. It has long sleeves, but it is entirely sheer. I find that the weather is either too hot to wear long sleeves, or too cold for something so sheer. There is no happy medium. The day I wore it, I was in college and I wore it over a thin camisole on a warm, fall day to my morning classes. Unfortunately, I was freezing the entire time. The wind tore right through the fabric and it felt as if I wasn’t wearing anything at all. I had to change partway through the day because I was too cold to bear it any longer!

Another problem is that the leather trim around the edges is very stiff and the lace fabric is very light and flimsy. This causes it to drape awkwardly on the body. The edges twist and look messy. I’ve tried using a belt or wearing a scarf to try and make it work, but it never looks quite right.

So if I have all of these issues with this lace cardigan, you would think that I would have thrown it away or donated it by now, right? Wrong. It is still hanging in my closet. I keep thinking there will be a chance for me to wear, but in the back of my mind, I know that I won’t.

I am not alone. QVC shopping channel did a survey and found that, on average, a woman has 22 pieces of clothing or accessories in her wardrobe that she never wears, but holds on to.

Why would you spend your money on something that you never wear? This is a common occurrence and there are several reasons why there are pieces we never wear. Maybe you find a garment you like, something is not completely perfect about it, but it is on sale, so you bought it and never wore it. Sound familiar? In order to stop buying things you won’t wear, you must understand why you’re doing it in the first place.

How to Stop Buying Clothes You’ll Never Wear. There are 5 reasons why people buy clothes we never wear and questions to ask ourselves before making a purchase, Contemplate buying clothing instead of regretting it.

Here are the 5 most popular reasons women buy clothes that they never end up wearing:

  1. It was on sale

Shopping sales and looking for great bargains can be a money-saving hunt or an over-blown obsession. Often times, seeing a sale or a discounted price will convince customers to buy things they don’t need and may not buy at full price. A phrase I hear often is, “it was so cheap I had to buy it, even though I didn’t really love it” or “it’s too good of a bargain to pass up, but color didn’t look that great on me.”

Don’t let rock-bottom prices persuade to buy something you don’t love. If you don’t end up wearing it, it does not save any money. It only wastes it. Ask yourself if you would still buy it if it weren’t on sale.

  1. Fear of ruining it

Have you ever found a gorgeous velvet top or a little white dress that’s the perfect fit? Score! Unfortunately, by wearing an item we run the risk of potentially ruining it. By wearing it to a nice restaurant, there is a possibility of red wine spilling all over your white dress. Going out dancing in your velvet top could become a nightmare if sweat soaks through the fabric, permanently staining it. Occasionally, we have a garment in our closet that is so perfect and beautiful, we are afraid to wear it. It is a piece of art that hangs in our closet. We admire it, but don’t touch it.

If you’re too worried about ruining a garment to ever wear it, don’t buy it to begin with. If you know you’re a messy eater, maybe white isn’t the right color for you. Consider this before swiping your card.

  1. You bought it for your future self

This occurs when you buy something that you see yourself wearing in the future, but it never happens.  The best example of this is when you buy something to wear after you’ve lost weight. You hold onto clothes or buy too small clothing in hopes of losing weight. In the end, your diet didn’t work out and you’re stuck with a closet full of stuff that doesn’t fit.

Unfortunately, life gets in the way and the outfit never gets worn. Instead of shopping for the future, try to limit yourself to shop for right now. Buy new clothes after you’ve shed the weight or after the trip is booked.

  1. It doesn’t fit your lifestyle

Do you ever imagine yourself living a different life? Sometimes we buy clothes that we truly like, but never wear because it is not practical in our everyday lives. You may fall head-over-heels for a cute leather mini skirt. It fits within your personal style, but is so different from what you typically wear. That might have been great for your college days, but now, you work a corporate job and are a mom of three kids. When are you going to pull out that leather mini? A client meeting? A trip to the park with the kids? No. Most likely, it’ll never get worn. It will remain in your closet and remind you of the things you don’t get to do anymore.

Buy clothes for the life you are living, not the life you imagine living or remember living. Be realistic with what your day looks like. Spend your money on pieces that you know you will wear every day and will serve a purpose.

  1. Sentimental clothes

Purchases can often invoke emotions. We buy things that make us feel good or remind us of a time when we did feel good. While shopping, you come across a beautiful maxi dress with a huge palm tree print all over it. Immediately, you are reminded of a special trip you took the beach a few years back. You try it on and it’s almost as if you can hear the waves on the shore, feel the breeze on your face, and smell the salt in the air. Ignoring the fact that it’s too long, too baggy, and doesn’t go with anything in your closet, you proceed to buy it anyway. Once the emotions wear off and you’re trying to style it at home, you realize that all of the faults that you didn’t see before.

Don’t buy with your emotions. Buy with your mind. Make smart decisions about what you’re purchasing.

How to avoid buying things you won’t wear

How to Stop Buying Clothes You’ll Never Wear. There are 5 reasons why people buy clothes we never wear and questions to ask ourselves before making a purchase, Contemplate buying clothing instead of regretting it.


If you are guilty of doing any of the top 5 things listed above, ask yourself these questions before you buy to avoid making these common pitfalls and stop buying clothes you’ll never wear.

Does it fit within your personal style?

Buy items that go with the rest of your closet. You may be tempted if you see your favorite fashion blogger on Instagram wearing a cool new trend, to try it for yourself. This would be fine, except when it’s not something you would typically wear, but you absolutely love how it looks on her! You screenshot the picture and buy the whole look. When you try it on, it doesn’t look how you imagined. It’s a little too far outside your comfort zone and it doesn’t go with anything else that you have in your closet. Styling it becomes difficult and frustrating. After a while, you simply give up on the item. Don’t push yourself to wear things that are trendy or being worn by others if it doesn’t fit within your style. It’s okay to pass on a look that just doesn’t work for you.

Do you own something similar?

Many people tend to forget what they already have in their wardrobe. Take an inventory of your closet before you head to the mall to prevent yourself from coming home, only to find an almost identical top you had already purchased. Even if there are differences, too much similarity will prevent it from getting worn, especially if you like the original more.

Where will you wear it?

Find a practical occasion in your mind of when you will wear a skirt with feather and fringe. Can’t think of one? Leave it in the dressing room. If you can’t imagine where you’ll wear it, you won’t. Most likely it is a piece that you love, but doesn’t fit with your lifestyle.

Does it fit great?

If there is a nagging voice in the back of your mind telling you that it’s a little snug or a tiny bit too short, put it back on the rack and walk away. Don’t try to convince yourself it can be fixed, because it usually can’t. Not easily anyway. Even if it can, you most likely won’t take the time to fix it yourself or take it someone professionally. Every time you go to wear it, you will feel self-conscious and not fully confident. It will never end up leaving your closet.

Do you have to have it?

If you’re not absolutely sure if you love it, then you shouldn’t buy it. If you look in the mirror and aren’t already planning where you’ll wear it, it’s not going to get worn. It should have a “wow” factor that makes a big smile spread across your face and make you feel like your best self. The best garments are the ones that keep you up at night and immediately become a go-to piece.

Is it a good value?

Look for items that are versatile and can be worn over and over again. If an itchy wool sweater is 80% off, it does not mean that you should buy it. Paying less money for it doesn’t change the fact that the sweater is itchy. Don’t fall for a great bargain if it doesn’t add any value.

Is it easy to care for?

Machine wash versus hand wash versus dry-clean only. Items that must be hand washed will be get worn less often because they lack ease of care. Similarly, dry-clean only items will be worn even less because taking them to a dry cleaner is a hassle. Read the tag before you buy it and be honest about how much effort you’re willing to put into it.


If you’ve taken the time to think through all of these questions and still aren’t sure, sleep on it. Take some time to picture styling the item and if it is still on your mind the next day, buy it. Otherwise, you will have moved on and will find something better to spend your money on.

Of course, there are always exceptions to any rule, but these guidelines should help you weed out the “maybe” items and avoid making purchases you regret.

If you have clothing in your closet that you haven’t worn or no longer wear, stop holding onto it. Often times, we keep them because we don’t want to admit that it was a mistake to purchase it. Let go of the guilt and keep these tips in mind for the future. By doing this, your closet will have much more functionality and your personal style will be much more defined.

How many pieces do you in your closet that you never wear? Comment below!

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