How to Shop For Clothes

16 March 2021

clothing curated closet

It never occurred to me until I started reading The Curated Closet that there is a correct way to shop for clothes. Only when I read its “THIRTEEN questions to ask oneself before making a purchase” did it dawn on me that most of my clothes were bought on a whim. Let’s take a look at how to shop for clothes that you will love and wear over and over again!

trying on clothes

The very first thing you want to do is make a shopping list. Hopefully after reading the previous Curated Closet post on closet composition you did this already.

But just as a recap, here are key factors to consider when writing a shopping list:

  • Overall style
  • Color
  • Cut, silhouette, and fit
  • Material
  • Details
  • Sleeve length
  • Neckline
  • Pattern

For example, one of the items on my list was a black, leather cropped moto jacket. Be as specific as possible! Get in the habit of deciding what you want to buy before you hit the shops, online or in person at a brick-and-mortar store.

When to Buy and When To Keep Looking

Now here’s a checklist of 13 questions you want to ask yourself as you are shopping:


1. Does this piece reflect my personal style?
2. Do I like how it looks on my body?


3. Can I think of a clear role for this item within my wardrobe?
4. Does it work with my lifestyle, and do I know exactly which type of activities I could wear it for?
5. Is it mixable?


6. Does it fit well and is it comfortable?
7. Is the garment well-constructed and made from a high-quality material?
8. Am I prepared to properly take care of this item?


9. Will this piece fill a gap in my wardrobe or only add to an already overrepresented area?
10. Is buying this piece a good use of my budget, or would a different item make a bigger impact on my wardrobe right now?
11. Do I want to buy this because it’s on sale or I need a pick-me-up, want to celebrate, or am just plain bored?


12. Can I think of at least three concrete outfits I could create with this piece that I would be excited to wear?
13. Can I see myself wearing this for many seasons?

BOY do I struggle with number 11!

Clothes that fit well

Obviously, it is a lot easier to buy items in stores. You can feel the garment quality and more importantly, try it on. Here’s how you can tell if the clothing fits well:

A piece with a good fit

  • hangs on your body just as the designer intended it to
  • feels comfortable and allows you to move freely
  • stays put without having to be readjusted

A piece with a bad fit

  • looks distorted and may be too tight in some places but too loose in others
  • digs into your skin, feels uncomfortably tight, and restricts your movement
  • slips down, pulls, gaps, wrinkles, or bunches up as you move and needs to be constantly tucked back into place

Mirror Check

Something I never did while trying clothes (but now do!) is step 2 of the mirror check:

  1. Try on your piece in front of a full-length mirror and inspect it top to bottom.
    • Does it look as it should? Or could your crop top be mistaken for a baggy tank top?
    • Is there any creasing, pulling on the seams, or sagging? Pay special attention to the shoulders of tops, jackets, and dresses and the waistband and crotch area of pants and skirts.
    • Does the waistband fit snugly around your body? Or is it too tight, loose, or unsupportive?
  2. Movement Check
    • Hug someone (or pretend to).
    • Sit down.
    • Walk.
    • Bend over (as if you were tying your shoes).

Stay tuned, because in the next post, we’re going shopping! I put together a list of all of my favorite stores to shop online from in the comfort of my home. It’s finally time to crack that wallet open, baby!

I learned all this and more from the book The Curated Closet. Buy The Curated Closet on Amazon.

What is your experience shopping for clothes?

P.S. I will get a small commission if you make a purchase through these links at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!

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