Your Signature Style Part II: Analyze Your Mistakes

Find your signature style: analyze your mistakes. Picking my favorite “go-to” pieces was fun and easy! I am not so happy-faced about the second step in Real Simple’s series, Define Your Signature Style. As it reads:

Step 2: Analyze Your Mistakes

Like rehashing a bad relationship, this cringe-inducing ( yet cathartic) exercise helps ensure that you don’t go down the same dead ends again. Ready? Take out five things you wish you hadn’t bought and ask yourself the questions in step one, plus the questions below. Then let go of those items, plus anything else that’s not pulling its weight—even if it still has its tags or it will be perfect once you lose 10 pounds or you have friends who throw fancy parties. “Your wardrobe should reflect who you are now,” says Kendall Farr, the author of Style Evolution. “Don’t hang on to images of what worked for you 10 or 20 years ago.”

Do you have anywhere to wear this?
Is it high-maintenance?
Is it poor quality?
Did you buy it for the thrill of the bargain?
Did you buy it only because it was trendy?
Was it a panic purchase for a big event?
Does the color make you look pale? Yellow? Ruddy?

Your answers reveal: Your shopping blind spots. (Write down details about your mistakes so you never waste another cent falling into the same trap.) If your favorite pieces are tailored and crisp, that’s why you’re not reaching for the ruffled chiffon top. You will want to hold firm to your “likes” and “dislikes” lists.


Here I go: I really, truly don’t own five things I wish I hadn’t bought. Oh yes, I have bought them – but they don’t stay in my closet for long. So here are a couple of sad-sack memories, and why they were mistakes:

  • Polyester print 60’s mini dress. Too short to feel comfortable, poor quality fabric, made me feel a little “young and silly”, bought for the Thrill of the Bargain on eBay (“it’s vintage!”).
This is not my dress, and I would def wear this one, with black tights and a cropped cardigan.
  • Ankle length camel corduroy skirt. Made me feel old and frumpy, bought for the Thrill of the Bargain at a thrift store.
Now this one, I like. And I’d wear it just like it’s styled here.
  • Floral print cotton blazer. Colors washed me out, construction was poor quality, bought for the Thrill of the Bargain at Target on clearance.
This one‘s also vintage and colorful, but with a sophisticated Asian design.

I see a trend in my fashion “mistakes”, eh? I have fallen for the Thrill of the Bargain without considering if a piece is truly functional, good quality and a flattering color for me. I’m getting better at resisting The Bargain, and I don’t have a recent purchase to put on this list.

Next installment will be Find The Missing Pieces!

How about you? Care to share any purchasing “mistakes” and what you’ve learned from them?  Do you have a shopping blind spot?

Stay fabulous, xo

Wear what you love, always. Here are some goodies to browse:


Please be aware that links to vendors may be affiliate links. I may benefit from your purchases through the links on the blog. Header photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash.

(Visited 2,730 times, 1 visits today)



  1. I am grateful for the information and the suggestions that you have provided. I will make an effort to understand it better for more.

  2. I sometimes fall for the “thrill of the bargain” (although not as much as I used to) and end up getting rid of those pieces later. My “mistakes” have mainly occurred when I buy vintage pieces online. Despite comparing the measurements, etc. they often don’t fit right, and I have realized with the shape that my body is now, I can’t buy pieces without trying them on.

    • Hello Shelley and thanks for coming by. I agree 100% about buying (most) clothes online, at least those that have to fit properly. Stay well and fabulous up there, xx.

  3. Patti, sure enjoy reading your blog and I’m loving this series. It’s my goal to do a serious closet purge this month; and most likely into the next. Another mistake category I can add is tourist shopping! What was I thinking?! I’ve been doing a much better job shopping the past couple of years (not necessarily due to COVID) but actually taking the advice I give my colleagues: be true to yourself! Have a great weekend!

    • Hi Pam and thanks for coming by. Oh yeah, tourist shopping! That delirium that takes over and makes me buy the fringed hat. Keep being true to yourself, xx.

  4. Great guidance for fashion introspection thank you.My mistake pattern is when I get in an impulsive mood and decide to purchase items on fashion trend lists or promoted by decades younger fashion bloggers.My comfortable style is neutrals designer silk scarves for color and antique jewelry for individuality.My most recent mistakes have been a cobalt blue midi skirt and a leopard midi skirt both in my closet. I hate to waste money so I have decided to pair each with neutral tops, and wear them to the Modern museum and lunch with friends.

    • Hello dear Joan and thanks for coming over. I think I’d love both of those midi-skirts! I am sure you wear them beautifully. Take care, xx.

      • This post resonates with me. I just had a ruthless “clean out” of my closet. Sales items have sucked me in and things that sorta work but miss the mark, especially related to color. I feel lighter mentally for removing these items and am consigning them and donating to nonprofit groups that help women returning to the workplace. I refuse to feel guilty for these purchases. Live and learn is my mantra.

  5. Off the top of my head I can thing of two (identical) blouses that are “too soft,” they are rayon and I prefer the stiffness of cotton or linen. Also a darling lace jacket I bought, but don’t reach for because the collar and front opening are rounded–I prefer squared edges.
    I’m glad you are going through this process, Patti. Had I read the article alone, I probably wouldn’t have gone through the specific steps on my own.

    • Hi Kimberly, nice to see you! It’s interesting that the details of an item make it or break it for us. I think the pieces that are closest to our face, like collars, can make a huge difference in our happiness. Have a wonderful day, xx.

  6. several years ago I had a dress with a bold geometric pattern. I purchased it online as it was the same style and size as and earlier purchased dress I owned. In theory I liked the idea of the somewhat edgy print but I hated the colors. it looked different online. It went into the donation bin after a few wearings.

    • Hi Darby and thanks for coming over. It’s true that colors can look good online but not on us. I do love an edgy print! xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.