Photography by Peter Stigter

Photography by Peter Stigter

If you’re a woman who is into fashion, chances are you’ve spent money on some big trend or other and then tried to make it work for way too long before realizing it just. Isn’t. Worth it. It can be hard to know ahead of time which purchase is going to be worth the money. Shoes that fit great in the store turn out to be too painful to walk even a block. The high-waisted jeans that looked good on the online store’s model go all the way up to your boobs and make you feel self-conscious. The bag that you saved up for forever suddenly goes out of style the very next season. Hindsight is 20/20, so it would be nice if someone warned us ahead of time: “Put the tight leather pants down—they’re not going to be worth it.” At least we can do that for you by putting together this list of all the times it’s okay to save your money and energy. Whether because it’s overpriced, uncomfortable, or just too damn painful, here are the top fashion items that just aren’t worth it.

Painful shoes

Everyone fashion girl has sacrificed comfort for beauty at least once, and the number one category where this happens is footwear. Sometimes a pair of shoes is just so killer that we pretend we don’t mind when they kill our feet, or that it’s somehow worth it. It’s not.Research has shown that heels can cause bodily harm from temporary issues (such as back pain and blisters) to permanent damage (such as osteoarthritis and chronically shortened tendons). If you’re the type to wear heels several times a week or even every day, try to cut back. The good news is that thank to the athleisure trend, sneakers are so hot right now.

Cheap fabrics

Ever notice how your cute fast fashion shirts tend to get stinkier faster than your other clothes? Take a look at the tag, because chances are they’re made of polyester. There’s a certain kind of bacteria that flourishes in the sweaty armpit area of polyester clothes, making it almost impossible to get that smell out. Unfortunately,most of the clothes in fast fashion stores are made of cheap synthetic materials, such as polyester, and very poorly assembled. So if you notice your clothes don’t stand up well to repeated wears and washes (or don’t fit right, or develop a funky smell under the arms), it might be a sign to stop visiting fast fashion shops. Look for quality fabrics instead, like silk, cotton, cashmere, and wool. You don’t have to break the bank either: check out thrift and vintage stores for older clothing made of quality fabrics.

Jeans that just don’t suit you

Whether it’s flared, ultra high-rise, ultra low-rise, super skinny, boxy boyfriend jeans, every style of jeans has had its moment in the sun. Some denim trends cycle in and out, some remain steadily popular, and others should never have happened in the first place (ahem, acid wash). By all means, try them all out—but when you find the jeans that work for you, wear them regardless of what the current trend is. Just because everyone else is wearing low-rise skinny jeans doesn’t mean they’ll work for your body type or sense of style. If they don’t suit you, you won’t look trendy; you’ll just look uncomfortable. Wear the jeans that you like, even if everyone else is wearing the opposite.

The pricey handbag

An expensive designer handbag might be worth it to one person and an unseemly waste of money to another. Everyone has different priorities and wants in life, and that’s okay. However, there are some times when a designer handbag really isn’t worth it. If you can’t pay your bills because of a designer handbag purchase? Not worth it. If you don’t care about what bag you carry but you feel pressure to appear stylish? Not worth it. If it’s a trendy style that will no longer look good years from now? Not worth it. And paying full price? Never worth it, and not even necessary. Check out eBay and follow the sales, girl.

Painful lingerie

Fancy lingerie can be a lot of fun, not only for your partner but for you too. In fact, we’d wager that between the two of you, it’s more important that you get some pleasure out of your lingerie. If you’re wearing lingerie that makes you feel hot and confident and comfortable, you’ll look hot and confident and comfortable. But if you’re wearing something called “The Starfish” that makes you feel like you got caught in a painfully tight fishing net, it doesn’t matter how hot your partner finds it. You don’t have to give up your comfort to be sexy. The same thing goes for your regular day-to-day underwear as well. You actually don’t have to wear bras with underwire or lacy thongs if they make you feel like your private areas are constantly under attack.

Items that need to be tailored or dry-cleaned

Only for a very special kind of person is it worth it to buy clothing that needs to be tailored or dry-cleaned. You know who that person is? The kind of person who WILL ACTUALLY DO IT. You can lie to yourself if you want, but everyone knows deep down inside if they’re the kind of person who is actually going to go to the tailor and the dry cleaner. If you know you’re not, just put it back on the rack. Otherwise it’s just going to sit at the back of your closet for all eternity.

The cool jacket that doesn’t keep you warm

Leather jackets look so cool. Denim jackets are adorable. Everyone looks chic in a trench coat. But what do all three jackets have in common, besides being stylish? They’re not going to keep you warm in the winter. So unless you live somewhere perennially warm, if you’re outside wearing a leather jacket as a coat in February you’re not going to look cool. You’re just going to look as teeth-chattering cold as you feel. Layer the light jacket that you love so much under a warm winter coat. That way you’ll have extra warmth and still be able to show off that leather jacket once you get indoors.

Restrictive leather

Leather, pleather, whichever: if it comes in the form of a very tight dress or pair of pants that make it hard for you to sit, eat, or breathe, it is NOT worth it. Yes, you do look super hot in that dress but you also deserve to be able to breathe. Surely you can find some leather pants that aren’t so tight they make you want to never eat again.

The wrong size

We’ve all been guilty of wearing the wrong size clothing at least once, sometimes without even realizing it. But if you find yourself shopping for the size you used to be or the size you want to be, or holding onto the clothes in your closet even though they’re not the right size anymore, do yourself a favour and stop. Nobody can see the size on the tag, but everyone can see if your clothes don’t fit comfortably. What IS worth it is going to the tailor for some reasonable alterations and to get your measurements, so that way even if you shop online you’ll always be able to buy the right size.


Don’t fall prey to the idea that you have to squeeze into a vice that rearranges your internal organs just so that you don’t appear to have a stomach. However, there’s nothing wrong with using a nice slip or some other kind of structured undergarment to create a smooth line under your clothes (and prevent wardrobe disasters like the wind showing everyone your underwear). Check out these awesome undergarment recommendations and don’t ever buy painful shape wear again.