15 New York Women On The Biggest Waste Of Money In Their Closet

This story was originally published on February 10.

Confession: I currently have a silk-charmeuse dress in my closet with an intricate print, high collar, flared sleeves, and a matching belt. It’s as intense as it sounds, and it was over $400. I have worn it a grand total of...three times. It is by far the most insane and impractical thing I own, and I cringe every time I see it, thinking of the myriad other things I could have done with that money. My only consolation? Knowing that every woman has at least one regret-filled purchase lurking in her wardrobe, be it a pair of shoes she's never been able to walk in or a stack of fast-fashion items that fell to pieces after just one wash. I'm not alone, and neither are you. Ahead, 15 New York women share the items of clothing they still can't believe they spent their money on.
Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
1. “I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I have, like, 10 pairs of Abercrombie jeans that are all ripped up, lightly flared, and very 2007. I worked there for six months and basically bought out the entire store, and now I don’t know what to do. Even with the discount, I probably spent over $1,000 there over the course of one summer. I can’t even sell these things on eBay, so I’m hoping that A&F jeans will ironically come back into style.”
Michele C., Graphic design

2. “A pair of Christian Louboutin burgundy kitten heels that I bought at a Barneys Warehouse sale when I first moved to the city. I was 18 and managing the front desk of a high-end hair salon, and basically spent every penny I earned on rent and ramen. But, when the sale rolled around, I just couldn't help myself. I blame Sex and the City. Honestly, I never wear them (they're not really my style), but I also can't bring myself to get rid of them. They stay tucked in the corner of my closet in the nice red dust bag they came in, with barely a scuff on the soles.”
— Megan Collins, Style Girlfriend 3. “I have a number of pairs of 'statement' heels — a.k.a. flashy or colorful — that I plan to wear with simple black dresses. The statement I usually feel like making, however, is, 'I don't want to have to hobble around for most of the night and take a cab home because my feet weep at the thought of the subway.' So, I almost never wear them.”
— Chloe Angyal, Feministing
Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
4. “A. [I had] so many dresses — whether cheap, single-use Forever 21 ones or others I wanted to have on hand in case a special occasion should arise — that I'd either worn once and forgotten about, or never wore at all. I don't go to fancy places. I don't need fancy dresses. I could easily get away with one LBD that nobody would know was reused. But, for a very long time, if I saw a pretty dress on sale, I would buy it, just in case. Well, 'in case' never happened, so I got rid of a lot of those dresses. I did save a few and told myself that I had to go and make reasons to wear them, not just wait around for an invitation. "B. Heels. I buy them all on super-sale or consignment (my two most glorious shopping moments were finding a pair of black Manolo Blahniks for $48 in great condition, and selling a pair of Louboutins that fetched a month's rent, but that I'd bought for way less), but I just don't ever wear them as much as I tell myself I will. I walk everywhere. I take the subway. I run around like a crazy person. I am clumsy, even in flats... So, they just sit on my shelves looking pretty. (But, they do look really pretty, and I refuse to give them up.) "C. I have a compulsion when it comes to buying grey sweaters and sweatshirts. It's not even that they are impractical things to own, but no one in their right mind needs as many grey sweaters as I have. There are so many other colors I could buy! So many other types of clothes! Yet, I still buy grey sweaters: cable-knit, sheer, cropped, teddy bear, embellished, jersey, V-neck, cashmere... I have them ALL."
Ella Cerón, The Cut
5. “My biggest wastes? $15 designer nail polish, endless little wallets, and banana hair clips. Seriously, hair things add up!”
LivinLikeLarz, Lifestyle blogger 6. “Cowboy boots. Ugh. I spent over $100 on these babies and refuse to get rid of them because of what they cost. They look and feel dreadful. They're currently collecting dust in my closet...”
Cristina C., Advertising
Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
7. “The biggest wastes of money in my closet are beautiful, sky-high heels. Despite my best intentions, I have terrible feet and can barely wear these for an hour before feeling excruciating pain. So, they're more of a very pricey art installation in my apartment. I've since wised up and now only buy shoes with a more reasonable 2" to 3" chunky heel or wedge. My feet have never been happier.”
Alisa Richter, Small Girls PR 8. "I just built myself a closet in my bedroom, and with a fancy 'big-girl closet' came purging a lot of clothes that I've wasted a lot of money on. Interestingly, what I consider to be the biggest wastes of my money aren't even the most expensive items I own. The things I've spent my hard-earned cash on are investment pieces that I really love — rare treats to myself after weeks of hard work and saving away. "But, the biggest waste? Impulse purchases, like a heinous flower-printed skirt from Forever 21 (WHY!?), an ill-fitted tank top that I bought on sale while I was studying abroad in 2009 (it could literally fit a child), and an Abercrombie button-down that I haven't worn since college."
— Carley Barton, VP of Wunwun
9. “The biggest waste of money in my closet right now is cheap tops! I went through a phase when I was younger, where I was all about getting everything and fine with sacrificing quality to fit my budget. Now, I've realized that I much prefer quality to quantity when it comes to my wardrobe. I'll spend money on a nice top from Madewell or Free People and wear it multiple times in different ways, and feel great about it each time. "The cheaper tops I used to buy on instinct fall apart, don't feel as great on, and are more of a waste of money. Growing older, coming into my own, and really knowing who I am has made me realize that quality pieces [are] so much savvier.”
Cassandra Bodzak, Lifestyle blogger
Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
10. “I have a really bad habit of going through phases with my wardrobe, where I decide I want to emulate a ‘look’ I’ve seen somewhere without any consideration as to whether it will actually look good on me. I’m just now starting to develop a personal style that is more tailored to my personality and my life, but, for a long time, I would go through a total overhaul of like, ‘Okay, I’m going to be Nantucket WASP now,’ or, ‘I’m gonna be an upscale punk.’ (Yes, 'upscale punk' was actually a look. Don’t ask me why or how I came to that conclusion.) So, right now I have a bunch of very costumey pieces in my closet — red Dr. Martens, Lacoste polo shirt dresses, pearls — that are hard to integrate into a normal wardrobe. Those were huge wastes.”
Elaine D., Web design 11. “The biggest waste of money in my closet is a Preen dress I have worn twice since purchasing it, right after Blair Waldorf wore it in an episode of Gossip Girl. In 2012. On eBay. God, how much was it? I think $400. I'm the fucking worst. Please, stay away from eBay, everybody."
Anna Breslaw, Cosmopolitan 12. “I deeply regret the three years in my early 20s where, instead of buying a single thing that really looked good on me, I would impulse shop at fast-fashion stores every day after work, filling my wardrobe with cheaply made, ill-fitting things that I now hate and look terrible in. It wasn’t until I was about 26 or so that I started shopping like an adult. If I could trade everything I bought before that for a handful of quality pieces, I definitely would.”
— Lily T., Advertising
Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
13. "Designer rain boots; a really expensive angora sweater that itches so much I literally cannot wear it; jeggings; and one of those Tiffany & Co. charm bracelets that felt so, so cool in 2004 but unfortunately has not stood the test of time."
Janine D., Visual merchandising 14. "I have a dress sitting at the back of my closet that I bought at Intermix for a holiday party, and it makes me so mad every time I see it. It was about $400, but I justified it to myself at the time by saying I deserved it for finishing a year at my first ‘big-girl’ job — although a real ‘big girl’ would have saved that money. It’s glittery and flowy and looks absolutely insane in any context other than a dressy holiday party. And, since I’ve already worn it to one, I basically have to wait until I get a new job to ever wear it again. $400 dollars...down the drain.”
Sara M., College administration 15. "I definitely regret every pack of bad earrings, like novelty studs in the shape of hearts and stars, and anything else that seems cute under fluorescent lighting. They always ultimately made my poor earlobes feel like they’d been assaulted by sandpaper, and had to be removed slowly, sometimes pseudo-surgically. Sorry, cartilage piercing. I never learned."
— Crissy Milazzo, Thought Catalog

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