Don’t waste money on “what was I thinking?” purchases: WIN $200 Westfield voucher

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 61 Comments

Sponsored By Nuffnang

I’ve spent a lot of money on fashion.  My first job was a holiday job in a fashion store.  I was 15 and I blew my entire two-week pay on clothes from that store.  I may have purchased a fuchsia ra-ra skirt. (Actually, I still don’t know why I wasn’t asked back – it was seriously a win-win situation for that boutique!). 

Now, I’d like to think I’ve (ah hem) matured a little.  I’m no longer after the quick fashion fix.  I want wardrobe pieces that will go the distance.  I want clothes that I love; clothes that work for my body shape and my multiple wardrobe personalities.  And I want my clients to change their thinking too.

Less really is more in a wardrobe.  If you can open your wardrobe doors, or step into the robe, and see at a glance everything that you own, knowing that it ALL works for you, then getting dressed and looking AMAZING every day is a whole lot easier.

And I only have TWO rules when it comes to shopping for clothes.  You have to try it on first and you have to LOVE it.  If the love ain’t there in the change room, it ain’t going to be popping up when you get home.  It will become one of those “what was I thinking?” purchases that will clutter your wardrobe, its swing tags “winking” at you every time you reach for something to wear.

I’m not alone in this way of thinking.  A host of industry experts have these tips and more …


So, want a little help with your fashion budget for this season? 

For your chance to win* a $200 Westfield gift voucher, leave a comment below telling me which of the industry experts in the video had the best advice and what are  your best tips for fashion savings?  The most fashion and financially savvy response will the voucher.

This competition is now closed.  The winner, as judged by the sponsors, is Donna from NappyDaze.  Congrats Donna and thanks everyone for entering.

Comments 61

  1. Although I totally agree with Kerri-Anne’s quality over quantity statement, I’m leaning more towards ‘Bianca Spencer’, If I don’t love it, I leave it! My weight and size changes so often, that I depend on bargain buys to get me through, it’s often the cheapies that end up being my favourite pieces!

  2. Whoops,I forgot!,never buy anything because it’s on sale!,my sister does this because “it’s down from $50 to $10”
    Great,but I always ask if she would have liked it enough to buy it at $50,her answer is always no,it ends up at the charity bins with the tickets still attached!

  3. Only buy what you love -Biancas advice,so many things I have purchased because I needed something to wear out and couldn’t find the perfect thing,so it ends up being a case of “that will do,it looks okay”I buy it knowing I’ll never wear it again!
    My biggest tips for fashion savings is never judge a book buy it’s cover!.some of my best buys have been at little shops that most wouldn’t consider because they are not merchandised well or just don’t look the greatest,get in there,dig around,you’ll be amazed what you’ll find!

  4. Kerri-Anne’s emphasis on quality is sound advice, I invest in good quality basics that will last wear after wear and season after season, cheap, poor quality basics will be worn to death really quickly so quality investments pay the best long-term dividends! These types of basics (think blacks and whites in wool, crepe and silk) are the best foundations for outfits which can be then styled up with statement pieces (especially one of a kind bargain and vintage finds from op shops, markets and ebay) to keep your look fresh, unique and fashion forward withot spending a fortune each season.

  5. Kerri-Anne’s timeless advice on quality over quantity. I really do agree with her statement as I am more likely to cherish and love something that cost me a little bit more that I am in love with over multiple garments that I didn’t necessarily spend a lot on, but wasn’t over the moon with them.

  6. Kerri-Anne’s advice about buying what you love resonates the most for me. I am on a very, very tight budget at the moment so when I go shopping I never buy straight away but go away & think about it. If I really love the item of clothing that I saw then I won’t be able to stop thinking about it & then I know that it is meant to be mine!

  7. I love the advice of Bianca Spencer ” only buy what you love” I am really living by this now. If I try something on a don’t fall in love then it doesn’t come home to live in my wardorbe!!!

  8. Deb Thomas – Cost per wear. i often spend a fortune on a dress and never wear it again! At least i make Goodwill fashionable as i donate everything to charity!

  9. I missed the name but “taking your time” is probably the best to me. I often rush or cram when I shop so I end up buying things I really don’t need, don’t really love or won’t use ever again. Planning ahead demands effort but it makes the shopping experience more worthwhile & rewarding.

  10. Claudia Novone’s invaluable advice of ‘spending more is spending less’ is truly profound- a quality wardrobe will last a lifestyle and never date!

  11. Deborah Thomas sits positively with me. I firmly believe in being sensible with shopping and buying classic pieces that can be worn for many years with different combinations of outfits.

  12. Keep it simple…1)re economy, only buy shoes if you REALLY need to match an outfit… people notice the top half so ensure clothes suit your shoulder width and flatter your face.

    2)Agree whole heartedly with the “only buy things that I absolutely love” Bianca Spender philosophy… you ll always feel confident and be happy to wear the article often.

    3) Re Justine Cullen’s comments of creating a clever wardrobe, take a classy friend who ll freely express her opinion, when buying.

  13. I think that all ladies had excellent tips and they all resonate with a lot of women – those who don’t have the money to be investing in expensive clothing should really then just be buying what suits their body shape best – so I agree fully with KAK with the only buy what you absolutely love and then I also agree with Deborah about cost-per-wear ratios and Justine Cullen about if you have a clever wardrobe you can then put the rest of your money aside. So ultimately you should shop for your body shape, only buy what you love and try not to buy into trends but more so stylish pieces that you can incorporate into a larger “clever” wardrobe for seasons to come.

  14. I adore sound advice and KerriAnne has changed the way I shop- buy what I love, need and want rather than 3 of what is on sale…and wont last!

  15. Deborah Thomas her comment taking your time. It is true if you take the time to really think about what you want vs what you need, you will save money and not end up with a wardrobe full of items never worn.

  16. I think Claudia Navone’s “Spending more is spending less” is especially true for those wardrobe staples like versatile trousers or skirts, classic little black dress – things that can become the foundations of a great wardrobe. They’ll last season in, season out and you’ll have more money for up to the minute accessories and cute little pieces to spice up your look.

  17. I’m with Bianca Spender and try to “only buy things that I absolutely love” because even if they are expensive, you will always get value from them. Having said that, I think you need a mental checklist when you shop, that checks how the garment measures up against what colours and styles you know suit you. I am now very conscious and confident about what styles and colours suit me (there have to be some benefits to getting older!), so I am unlikely to really fall in love with something that doesn’t do anything for me.
    Best tip for fashion savings is to never shop with husband or partner, who will say anything to get you out of the shop as quickly as possible 🙂

  18. Cost per use a concept from Deborah Thomas is extremely resonant with me i have many pieces that i spent a fair amount on but have worn so many time with many different outfits that it is worth it. But on the other hand Ive also bought cheap things that in the long run, have turned out more expensive because they have fallen apart after one wear.
    Its very true that you must absolutely love it before you buy it. If you don’t, when you get home, away from the pushy shop assistant and the slim mannequins and starry lights, that piece you bought will become a dust gatherer in your wardrobe!!

  19. KAK buy what you love! It’s no fun wearing the same things all the time even if they do have an impressive label in them! You have to be creative to find the best bargains and the money to build a wardobe that always feels new and exciting. I do this mainly by recycling things. If I splurge on something than I make myself purge (by listing on ebay) and bring some money in towards it. If you are buying and selling in one season you might buy a fab dress wear it a once or twice and then be lucky enough to get your money back and give someone else a chance to love it! Shop the States (on-line dept. stores / shopbop etc) atm when the dollar is near parity – crazy savings to be made. Outlet shopping can have you looking a million bucks with in-season stuff for a lot less. It’s hard work but if you’re dedicated to looking good that’s half the fun of it!

  20. I agree with Deborah Thomas and shop with a “cost per use” attitude. I spend more on things that I’ll wear frequently and that are timeless (leather bags, black pumps, jeans, jackets) and less on trendy pieces that I won’t get as much use from (like a metallic summer dress, which I’m refusing to buy at full price).

  21. I agree with Lyn McGraths comment!
    Its depressing to go shopping without money, we all need to focus on a buget and have a saving goal, at the end of the day you have reached a goal and can reward yourself with something nice 🙂

    My tip: Keep it simple and affordable, accesories are the outfit!

  22. Deborah’s words of wisdom – I purchased a beautiful expensive designer scarf a few yrs ago and to this day it enhances and beautifies every outfit I wear! Well worth the initial outlay!

  23. I agree with Lyn McGrath’s advice on having a savings goal. Then you won’t be in debt and because you actually took the time to save up the money you won’t just spend the money on nothing, you’ll make sure you spend it on something you really want.

  24. I think Lyn McGrath’s advice to have a “saving goal” is the best advice because if you have a saving goal then only you will be able to analyse your spending and be able to limit your spending.

    My best advice for fashion savings would definitely be to be able to have proper idea of what you actually want and what is going to look good in you. Beacause sometimes you purchase things that doesn’t suits you or is not what you wanted.

  25. Definately Deborah’s “cost per wear” comment rings true for me. I bought a Lisa Ho LBD 11 years ago for $360 and have easily worn it 50 times so am looking at about $7.20 per wear and it is still going strong!! Just wish I could remember that when I am out shopping and see something cheap and usually nasty…..walk away Kerri, walk away!!

  26. I like Lyn McGraths comment about having a savings budget.. NO point going shopping with no money right??!! SO if you save up and go with a decent amount there is no guilt shopping and you can buy what you love!! She also makes a good point about having to LOVE it

  27. Justine Cullen- By putting a clever wardrobe, you wont run out of ideas to mix n match , you are on the go:)

    Spending more is spending less, i definitely in for that advice from Claudia too. If you make a good choice and buy something worth , it will last you for ages and if you carefully accessorize it makes a world of change , evolving your own style.

  28. I honestly believe in Claudia Navone’s sentiment that sometimes “spending more is spending less”. Fashion is a wise investment – after all, we wear clothes everyday! And what better way of expressing your true style than in your outfit. However, a common mistake that women make is buying a new outfit everytime a party/event/BBQ/function/date comes up. Their wardrobes are being filled with amazing frocks that are worn once, and their bank accounts are in decline. After making this same mistake year after year, I’ve learnt a trick or two to keep my wardrobe trendy, full and stylish while keeping the debt at bay.
    Trick 1: Spending a fortune on something you love is OK! However, make sure these expensive purchases are timeless, classic and unlikely to go out of fashion. These should be staple pieces such as a little black dress, a structured blazer, a winter coat, a court shoe, jeans, evening top, handbag etc.
    Trick 2: The whole outfit does not have to be expesive. Pair your expensive black silk top from that London trip 2 years ago, with a basic black skirt. Target, Supre, David Jones etc have great basic items that can be matched with your expensive pieces. Basic white singlets, nude cami’s, black tees etc should be cheap! I bought an amazing turquoise and coral neckpiece in New York and when paired with my plain white summer dress from Supre the whole outfit looks expensive!
    Trick 3: Accessories can change the entire look of an outfit. Opt for plain dresses that can be changed with the help of some accessories. You’d be surprised how different your dresses can look after accessorizing!
    Spending more can definitely mean spending less – its all about mixing an matching and still achieving that polished look. Claudia Navone’s words are definitely full of wisdom!

  29. I agree with Claudia Navone – in some cases spending more is spending less. For example, spending a little more on my yoga clothes will get me a longer lasting and more comfortable outfit than if i buy something cheap where the fabric isn’t appropriate for working up a sweat and I don’t feel great wearing it!

  30. Personally, the most profound pieces of advice gleaned from the industry experts are twofold. As Lyn McGrah extols, you must have a savings goal – as there is nothing like a guilt induced debt to make you feel slightly sick at the sight of a purchase you can ill afford. And if you do work hard and save hard, it makes that magical purchase all the more memorable (and amazing!) when worn.

    I’m also quite partial to Deborah Thomas’s words of wisdom – this doyenne of female fashion certainly knows her stuff! “Know the value of taking your time” is imperative; an impluse buy rarely equals love at second sight, when it comes time to be worn.

    Heartfelt thanks to all the fashionista’s for helping we less style savvy with your invaluable advice!

  31. Debra Thomas’s sound advice to watch, wait and then go in for the kill, striking when the iron is hot. Then, you are going to bag great bargains of classic pieces with longevity. Say no to impulse buying!

  32. Deborah Thomas gives sage advice – I’ve always invested in classics (mainly black!) and dress them up or down to suit the occasion. Accessories are an important part of a chic wardrobe!

  33. Lyn McGrath setting a saving goal, no-one looks good when they are in debt trying to keep up with the Jones’s. Accessories can add life to an old outfit until you can afford something new.

  34. Debra Thomas had great advice- Its important to buy great staple pieces that will last for many years and through every season. For unique finds go op shopping for bargains and vintage shops for one offs 🙂

  35. We go for a mix… e.g. we might wear a Leona Edmiston Ruby Collection (the cheaper range) dress with a fabulous pair of Choos or Louboutins. Similarly, the Havaianas might get rolled out with 7 for all Mankind. We’re not into ‘disposable’ fashion though; we generally wear most items in the wardrobe – will depend on what kind of food week we’ve had 🙂

  36. I think Kerri-Anne’s advice, the same as yours, is best. That is, only buy it if you love it. My advice is to have a clear budget for each month (which you can spend or save) as it forces you to choose carefully.

  37. Claudia Novone, spending more is spending less. Buy something cheap and it’ll be quickly out of fashion and can fall apart, lose shape etc.
    Saving your pennies to purchase a quality piece two seasons ahead of Australian Trends and you’ll have a piece you can flaunt with absolute confidence knowing your in fashion and look fantastic.

  38. I like what Deborah Thomas has to say, especially about saving money by planning, waiting and making clever purchases. Her cost per wear calculation works for me, plus taking the time to really think about a purchase, equals buying pieces that really work and you will wear them over and over again. All great advice-thanks!

  39. I definitely agree that you have to absolutely love it before you buy it (I think about three of the lovely ladies said that), but I also definitely agree that you should put together a clever wardrobe, which can be worn in many different occasions and with many different items of clothing. If you can only wear something once and then its finished, that is definitely not cost effective!

  40. I liked K-A’s advice about buying what you love – “having one of those rather than having three of the other.” There’s nothing more depressing than having a cluttered wardrobe full of mediocre clothes because they were a “bargain”. My best advice is to think before you buy.

  41. I agree with Justine Cullen – “its better to put together a really clever wardrobe and then save the rest” If you have a cleverly put together array of clothing that you can mix and match – then you can save for that something special or expensive. My advice is to always look around and find what is practical and get many uses from, and really love the clothing.

  42. Deborah Thomas’s advice on cost per wear… I am a firm believer in this philosophy. Can you wear it to different occasions plus every day just by changing your accessories? By dressing the item up or down? Will it go with everything else in the wardrobe?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.