Things To Consider When Shopping For New Clothes

It’s been a cold one and the new word in the news is Polar Vortex (actually two words). Apparently the entire country is going through some kind of cold front that hasn’t hit the country in years. I recently experienced the Vortex’s fickle nature this week. After walking a few blocks I ended up damp and cold  during a snow/rain storm. My Steve Madden down coat took on water!!! I was not happy, I was cold and damp the next four hours of work. What did I do? Find the nearest sale and buy a new coat (thanks Zara and your winter sale), but I had to keep in mind that I needed the right material, construction and read the care label (I think my Steve Madden got ruined because I washed it at home and didn’t dry-clean it).


That got me thinking of some important questions you should ask yourself when buying new clothes as well as important information to look for. I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice and buy a coat that failed me during the next Polar Vortex storm. I don’t want you to make the same mistake either, so here we go…

Questions to ask:

  • When can I wear this, preferably during which seasons? This will help you gauge how long you will wear it and the use. Something that is going to get a lot of use should be of a higher quality.
  • What material is it made of? I needed to look for a water-repellent fabric the first time around, not just a down coat. This is a great question as some fabrics breath better than others while some hold in heat better. Some might even irritate the skin.
  • How is the construction/quality? this is self-explanatory, don’t be afraid to be hard here when examining your garment.
  • How is the fit? Pay special attention to pieces that might be layered or fitted on the body, for my coat I got a size large since I would be wearing layers under it.
  • Will it meet a utility or fashion purpose? You might want to spend more on items that are for utility not fashion. Not to say you shouldn’t have quality fashion pieces. You can tend to get away with fashion pieces being more from the fast fashion category from time to time (think H&M, Forever 21, Wal-Mart, Target, etc.).
  • How much am I willing to spend or how much is the item worth? Look at it this way, I bought the Steve Madden coat for $68 and the new coat on sale for $99 totaling $167. I could have bought a great coat at that price or a little less the first time around.

Important things to look for:

  • Maintenance/care instructions. If it says dry clean it’s for a reason. Yes, you don’t have to dry clean everything. You can wash it at home, but you take a risk of ruining the fit, cut, shape, fabric or construction of the garment. I learned me lesson, I ended up wet and cold!

Make sure to write these questions  down or save them in the notes section of your phone. They will come in handy and help you on your next shopping trip, trust me. You will be buying the right pieces that meet your needs and expectations.

About Crystal Gardner

Professional fashion stylist and blogger, styling personal wardrobes and commercial/editorial fashion shoots.

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