it’s all in the details.

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Alfani flower top (Macy's clearance) | M.S.S.P. embroidered denim skirt (Dillard's sale, $39.99) | Gianni Bini embroidered bag (hand-me-down from Mom) | Nine West sandals (Macy's clearance, $30)

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I like to consider myself a born-again shopper.

When my retail obsession first began many, many years ago, I committed a multitude of sins. The biggest of which was focusing more on quantity than quality. Super clearance sale at Macy’s? I’ll take 5 of those $2.99 trendy graphic tees, please, one in each color. My closet was a big conglomeration of ill-fitting and cheaply-made fads, picked from the scraps that smarter shoppers had tossed aside. We won’t even talk about the state of my bank account during those dark years…

Now that I’m much older and wiser [ha!] I try to avoid the temptation to stockpile 10 cheap things, and instead opt for a couple of high quality items that will last through lots of wear and lots of seasons. Unique touches like pretty appliques, embroidery, and interesting prints make an item feel more special (and often more valuable), so I try to keep my eyes peeled for distinctive details that will play well with the basics in my closet.

What are your rules for smarter shopping?

What Do You Think?

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26 Comments

  1. Posted 9.29.11 Reply
  2. I agree! I feel like I’ve gone through the same transition. I guess it’s just a part of growing up! Love your whole outfit!

    Lindsey Turner
    http://thriftandshout.blogspot.com

    Posted 9.26.11 Reply
  3. Aliya wrote:

    What a pretty skirt! And those sandals are to die for!! You look so lovely in all your pictures!!
    I’m so glad I found your blog!

    My giveaway is up and running:
    Win the Vintage Dress of Your Choice! (open to everyone)
    http://papermoonsandmacarons.blogspot.com/2011/09/giveaway-in-springtime.html

    x Aliya

    Posted 9.25.11 Reply
  4. ShopFast wrote:

    Well Hello, Cuteness! You look just perfect! Love the whole ensemble.

    Posted 9.23.11 Reply
  5. lunaday wrote:

    I have written a couple of posts about this, I am currently purging my closet and also in a kind of a shopping band (one item a month), focusing on quality. I didn’t have financial problems, but my closet was full of crap things I wasn’t wearing and this made fill so stupid…

    http://lunaday.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/205/

    http://lunaday.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/rules/

    Posted 9.23.11 Reply
  6. shopfreak wrote:

    Love those sandals! I could learn from you about the stockpiling 10 cheap things..but it’s hard!

    Posted 9.22.11 Reply
  7. lyndsay! wrote:

    I love it! I just bought about 10 pieces at the good will for $20! They all need to be altered but that’s the great thing about a sewing machine : )

    -Lyndsay
    http://craftanista.blogspot.com/
    http://www.etsy.com/people/lsenerch?ref=si_pr

    Posted 9.21.11 Reply
  8. Tariro wrote:

    I absolutely love your bag!

    Posted 9.21.11 Reply
  9. I’m loving this outfit, so pretty!

    Posted 9.20.11 Reply
  10. Pretty outfit!

    Posted 9.20.11 Reply
  11. I most definitely agree. I am in the middle of a challenge I made for myself where I don’t shop for anything for 6 months in hopes of actually being able to assess my shopping habits. Now, I am convinced that my closet it full of cheap rubbish. I most definitely will be buying higher quality stuffs now!

    Posted 9.20.11 Reply
  12. Carrie wrote:

    a. wonderful, wonderful print on the skirt.
    b. love the bag.
    c. with you on the quality front. avoiding the 10 of the same thing is a great habit to break…work in progress.

    xo,
    c

    Posted 9.20.11 Reply
  13. Jan wrote:

    Yep quality over quantity any day. Wish I had found that skirt! Love it!!

    Posted 9.19.11 Reply
  14. That skirt is wonderful, and I love the way you styled it :)

    http://www.chillairandperfume.blogspot.com

    Posted 9.19.11 Reply
  15. I now go for quality over quantity, too. Now that I’m more… well poor… I won’t purchase an item unless I can think of three outfits I can create with said item. It’s my way to make sure I’m really buying something I will utilize immediately.

    Posted 9.19.11 Reply
  16. Valerie wrote:

    My rules for smarter shopping:

    -Do I really need it?

    -Do I love it?

    -Do I have someplace to use it/wear it?

    Those questions have saved me from a lot of impulse buys.

    Posted 9.19.11 Reply
  17. Amy wrote:

    That’s an adorable skirt

    Posted 9.19.11 Reply
  18. rhiannon wrote:

    gorgeous sandals and bag!
    http://www.modernsuburbanites.blogspot.com

    Posted 9.19.11 Reply
  19. I used to be just like that! I’d pick everything at BR or ON that was under 9.99 and had a huge closet full of non very functional stuff, as we get older and hopefully wiser we understand things don’t work that way! Adore that skirt it’s really unique! and totally in love with the bag, it’s a perfect color and size!

    Cess O. <3 The Outfit Diaries

    Posted 9.19.11 Reply
  20. spaciety wrote:

    Sage,

    I think you make a great point. More than just quality over quantity, I have to focus on not buying the same things all of the time. I often get stuck with tunnel vision, buying the same clothes – while parts of my wardrobe need updating.

    I’ve never thought of making a “grocery” style list when I go shopping, but hopefully that will help with my will power.

    Thanks.

    Posted 9.19.11 Reply
  21. You are so right…quality pieces are worth so much more and last longer! I’m currently trying to do a retail detox, hopefully, I’ll get to a place where the cheap scores won’t bring a rush with them! Lol

    Posted 9.19.11 Reply
  22. Sage wrote:

    This is great advice. I try to remember to look for quality over quantity too.

    I also make a list of outfits at home so I can see what I might be missing in my wardrobe. Then I take my “missing pieces” list to the store with me and only look for those items. If I see something trendy that’s not on my list, I remind myself that the stuff on my list is top priority because they’ll actually go with the clothes I already have.

    I also reduced the number of store email lists I subscribe to. It’s easier to pass up a big sale if I don’t get an email reminder about it.

    Posted 9.19.11 Reply
  23. whoops, sorry for the double commenting!!

    Posted 9.19.11 Reply
  24. I am in love with your nine west sandals. I think I’ll need to hit up macy’s clearance…

    Posted 9.19.11 Reply
  25. Anonymous wrote:

    im in love with your nine west sandals! i think i will need to hit up macy’s clearance…

    Posted 9.19.11 Reply
  26. Stefanie wrote:

    I totally agree with you on quality over quantity! I always try to shop for my body shape and what suits me. I will always choose something that is flattering to my shape over what is ‘trendy/fashionable’. If it suits me AND is fashionable, well that is an added bonus :-)

    On another note, I scooped up 2 pairs of HUE tights in my local TK Maxx today at £3.50 each ($6?)! I recognized them from your last post and just had to get them! I got them in a dark grey and berry colour and the quality is just fantastic! So thank you, you are amazing ;-)

    Posted 9.19.11 Reply