Everyone makes a fashion mistake once or twice—it’s how we all learn to become better dressers. It’s only a problem when those mistakes turn into habits. Some bad style habits only drag your style down, while others have a less visible but nonetheless negative effect. Here are the ones that you should break this year:
Stress shopping is the new stress eating. Given the ubiquity and ease of online shopping, it’s now easier to do than ever, too. According to a 2013 HuffPost survey, 1 in 3 Americans copes with stress and anxiety by going shopping. That number must be even higher now: ecommerce and online retail are booming industries that have seen meteoric growth over the last handful of years. The easy, almost mindless distraction also offers instant gratification, a feeling that can be very addicting.
Stress-shopping for clothes is a problem because stress impairs your judgment. You end up buying clothes you don’t need, or clothes that don’t fit, or clothes that looked great in the pictures but don’t live up to your expectations. Yes, you should absolutely “add to cart” with your heart, but there are healthier, less costly ways to cope with negative feelings and discomfort.
Wearing the wrong underwear.
Most people take underwear for granted, because let’s face it: hardly anyone ever sees them. However, what you wear under your clothes can change the shape of your body. Something as simple as a properly-fitting bra can transform your posture and give you a trimmer silhouette.
A pair of seamless panties can prevent the dreaded VPL (Visible Panty Line) when you’re wearing cotton leggings. Shapewear offers robust support while keeping all of your lovely lady lumps in check under bodycon dresses and other tight-fitting clothes.
Cotton underwear is cheap and widely available, making it an ideal everyday choice. It’s also the healthiest: cotton is a lightweight, breathable fabric that doesn’t trap or retain moisture, thus preventing bacterial or yeast infections. You’ll want to save the silk, satin, and lace underthings for special occasions.
Color matters, too: light colored underwear can still show under dark fabrics, and wearing white underwear with white clothes actually makes them more visible. Coordinate the color of your underwear to the clothes that you’ll be wearing—dark with dark, light with light. Go for nude shades close to your skin tone if you’ll be wearing white.
Holding on to clothes you don’t wear.
Having a hoarding problem is hardly an uncommon affliction. For women, it usually happens with clothes, shoes, and accessories. We hold on to these items for all sorts of reasons, even if we barely notice their presence or put them to use.
If your closet is full to bursting but you still can’t find anything to wear, your vision may be clouded by all the clutter. Instead of a wardrobe full of things you want to wear, all you see are the garments that you decidedly don’t.
Purging is a difficult process, but it can be an immensely freeing one. Letting go of the pieces you don’t wear will streamline your style and simplify the process of putting an outfit together when you need to. You also prevent yourself from making bad fashion choices when you eliminate the most questionable garments you own from the available options.
To start, get rid of any clothes that are tattered, threadbare, or discolored. A good rule of thumb to follow when discarding clothes is organization expert Marie Kondo’s: ask yourself if it sparks joy. Any article of clothing that does not spark joy goes in the donation pile. The same goes for “someday” clothes—items you hang on to because “you might need them someday”. If you’re honest with yourself, these “someday” clothes have been neglected for a while and you’re holding out for a day that might never come. Donating these items gives someone else a chance to wear and love them.
Drowning in fast fashion.
Fast fashion is universally loved and widely patronized because it democratizes high fashion, making hot-off-the-runway styles available to the masses at price points that anyone can afford. However, these fresh threads can come at a steep price—and we’re not talking about money.
The process to manufacture fast fashion garments at the speed and scale it’s done today involves copious use of natural resources while producing nearly 10% of global gas emissions and 20% of waste water. Consumer attitudes towards fast fashion, on the other hand, produce tons of textile waste annually—193,000 tons for the city of New York alone, for instance. Fast fashion pieces are also largely made with synthetic materials that can be toxic to plant and wildlife when released into the environment.
The industry hurts more than it helps. Offset the environmental impact of fast fashion by buying less or patronizing more sustainable brands.
Breaking free from these bad style habits will make you a better dresser and a more conscious consumer. Commit to small changes today, and you might be surprised at how much of a difference they make!