We’ve all been there. And there’s no better way to learn than to make a mistake. But the penalty for that knowledge, in this case, comes with a price. A dollars & cents kind of price. So heed these warnings. It’s no guarantee that we won’t make these mistakes again in the future (isn’t it super fun when that happens?) but hopefully the damage to our wallets can be minimized.
#1. The ill-fitting Department Store Suit
Usually sold by a well-meaning, yet not the most knowledgeable salesperson. Thankfully, buying one of these monsters is becoming less and less a common right of passage. Look, not all department store suits are hard shouldered, billowy junk, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not a dangerous trap that’s easy to fall into. Especially if you’re shopping for your first real suit. Be prepared and willing to say “no” to that salesperson and walk away. Here are a few things to keep in mind while suit shopping, here’s a few tricks for getting your fit right, and here’s what to look for in an off the rack suit if you’re on a real budget.
#2. The expensive watch, shoes, or suit so nice you’re afraid to wear it
There’s an easy solution to this: WEAR IT. If you’re more likely to put the thing in a safety deposit box than wear it out in public, than you’ve got to change that mindset. Either that, or avoid those luxury items until you get more practice wearing cheaper alternatives. Going from bare wrist, to Timex, to Rolex can be intimidating. (Shown Above: Carmina burgundy calf boots)
#3. The pricey coat or jacket… that’s not big enough to layer comfortably
Outerwear HAS to fit over your clothes & winter accessories. And that means, sometimes it might not look as fitted as you’d like. Of course you don’t want to look like you’re wearing a whiskey barrel of wool, but when shopping for outerwear, try the coat on over a sportcoat or suit jacket. It has to slip on and lay with relative ease. It has to have enough room for you to be able to tuck a scarf inside, and easily be buttoned all the way to the top. If you’re fighting to get your coat on because the armholes are too small or the back is too tight, you’ll regret it later. You’ll know it when it feels right.
#4. The Over Budget Automobile
What good is having a great looking car if you can’t afford to put gas in it? Cars are a lot like shoes and suits. It can be good to get a good idea for your own personal tastes with less expensive models, before diving into something pricey you’ll have for a while. Meanwhile, if you live in a big city with solid public transportation, having any car can be a serious financial drain. Run the numbers. See how much you could save and put towards retirement (as well as some fun clothing purchases) each month if you ditched the shiny ride.
#5. The drunken night spent throwing money around
“I knew my rent was gon’ be late about a week ago. I worked my ass off, but I still can’t pay it though. But I got just enough. To get up in this club. Have me a good time, before my time is up.” – Pitbull & Ne-Yo
“Shout out to all you kids buying bottle service with your RENT MONEYY! REEESPECT!” – Katy Perry
Respect? This doesn’t bode well for the youth of America. Hard to have respect for anyone who stumbles back from the club straight into a bunk in their Mom’s basement.
#6. Spendy Sunglasses when you’re a notorious shades breaker/misplacer
A well made, great looking pair of sunglasses can run a pretty penny. And they’re a worthy investment for plenty of us. But if you’re constantly crushing, losing, dropping, & scraping your sunglasses, then working through cheaper pairs (say, from Nordstrom Rack) is almost certainly the best strategy.
#7. The final sale item that you just. shouldn’t. have. bought.
Final sale = no returns. Often it means no exchanges. And there’s hardly a worse, retail-based, sinking feeling than opening up that box and knowing it was a bad decision. The siren song of final sale markdowns can be tough to resist. But unless you know it’s gonna fit, and you know it’s your own personal style, don’t friggin’ do it.