5 In Getting Dressed/ Shopping Tips

My Best Shopping Tip: The deal breaker question that can save you money

Chico's hot day outfit

The cotton tank under my linen shirt helps with the sheerness factor


I always know I’ve made good shopping choices when I come home from a shopping trip, hang up the pieces I purchased, get up the next morning and wear one or two of the items in my outfit du jour. It’s a quick turnaround from “brand new” to “gently worn”: 24 hours or less.

I think wearing something soon after purchasing it is a good goal to set for yourself. When I’m in the dressing room with a client I’ll say, “Where do you see yourself wearing this? How soon could you wear it?” I always want my clients investing the bulk of their dollars in clothes they can use right away. Haven’t we all at one time or another purchased outfits that were perfect for an alternate lifestyle? One we didn’t live in? And regretted it?


white jeans for the wine country on Brenda Kinsel website

White jeans are perfect in the Wine Country

 The question to ask yourself to stay on your shopping track

It’s simple. In the privacy of your dressing room ask yourself this one question: “Can I wear this tomorrow?”

If you can’t see it working into your life within a few weeks, best to consider leaving it behind.

Note: You don’t literally have to wear it tomorrow but how about in the very near future?


Erin adopted this mantra

One day Erin, my trusty assistant and eldest daughter said, “Mom, I need your help! I have so many clothes but I don’t know how to put anything together. Can you come over?” She added, “Oh, and I’ll make you dinner.” She knew the dinner invitation would make it happen.

On our scheduled afternoon I set up my rolling rack in her apartment and she pulled things from her closet. She’d picked up great pieces (many of them at bargain prices) that weren’t serving her lifestyle needs at all. They were pretty, gorgeous, fabulous, and wonderful…for someone else.

I told her, “Honey, you can’t continue to buy things without a plan. You’d probably have twice as much room in your closet if you’d go shopping and before you purchase anything, ask yourself, ‘Can I wear this tomorrow?'”

It worked. That one sentence turned her shopping habits around.

Here are some of the things she asks herself now.


Am I buying a piece that I’ll need to tweak in order to make it work?

Will I need to buy other things to go with it?

Am I buying special event clothes and not having a special event life?

Can I wear it tomorrow? Or soon?



Feeling lean in Chico's white jean

Feeling lean in my So Slimming Girlfriend Ankle Pant from Chico’s purchased less than 24 hours earlier

Following my own advice

This weekend I did what several people in Sonoma were doing on Saturday: racing out to find some cooler clothes to wear. The temperatures were in the high 90s.

I went to the Sonoma Square and walked into Chico’s and made a few purchases.

I was heading out at 8 a.m. the next morning to meet my friend and colleague, Helena Chenn. I put my “Can I wear it tomorrow?” mantra to the test. I left the house wearing three of my purchases:


The So-Slimming Girlfriend white ankle jean

White cotton sleeveless V-neck tank

White linen shirt with low front tie


I added some favorite jewels: a light-colored necklace, earrings, rings and a bangle.

I slipped into my light-colored Prada sandals (in their fourth season) and headed out the door.


Mixing Chico's with my favorite jewels on Brenda Kinsel website

Adding my personal favorite necklace to the mix


I was comfortable and happy all day. It was a perfect hot weather outfit for Sonoma.

To answer my own question “Can I wear it tomorrow?” the answer is yes. In fact I may wear it tomorrow, the next day and maybe the next day after that.


Is this a shopping tip you could adopt?


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  • Reply
    August 2016 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links | Recovering Shopaholic
    August 31, 2016 at 12:14 am

    […] “My Best Shopping Tip: The Deal Breaker Question That Can Save You Money” – Personal development guru Tony Robbins says that if we want better lives, we need to ask better questions.  Well, the same can be said about shopping! Wardrobe stylist Brenda Kinsel gives us one question we can use to help determine whether an item should come home with us or remain in the store.  She also shares a few examples of when this question was put to the test, as well as a few additional questions to ask when shopping for clothing and related items. […]

  • Reply
    Dana Lynch
    November 5, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Great advice, Brenda! I am very careful about buying for my lifestyle. On occasion I will buy something I’m not 100% sure about in the store, with the thinking “I’ll decide if I really want/like it at home.” If I’m not compelled to even try it on to check again fairly soon, I return it. Even if I love something, but end up not reaching for it within a couple of weeks, it goes back. I’m at the “mall” a lot, so it’s never a problem, but if I weren’t I wouldn’t buy something I weren’t nuts over in the store.

    Recently I bought a party dress and will try to wear it to some holiday parties, but in the mean time a friend and I made a dinner date to wear our stylish dresses…felt fab and had so much fun being the dressiest ones in the restaurant.

    • Reply
      November 8, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      I love hearing your experiences about shopping. I just did that myself. I bought a pair of shoes in two colors because they are so comfortable. I had to order them. One color, the burgundy one, I opened and wore immediately. The gray ones (gorgeous) have stayed in the box they were sent in and I haven’t had any desire to wear them. So I took them back. I love having time to sort things out.

      Your party dress idea is brilliant!!! I have a couple of friends who might be game to try that with me. Why not? We don’t get as many opportunities to dress up so seize the moment! Thanks, Dana!

  • Reply
    September 26, 2017 at 6:02 am

    I would LOVE to find a V-neck tank that’s not tight ( because I’m, um, lumpy) that would skim my (big) hips. I try JJill over and over hoping to find something and I’ve come up dry. I know this is an old post but if you have any tips or links I’d be incredibly appreciative. I would die happy if I had a navy AND a white one.

    • Reply
      September 26, 2017 at 11:17 am

      Believe it or not, this seems to be the million dollar question: finding a decent t-shirt! I wish I had a surefire solution, but I don’t! I’m just pulling this out of my head at the moment but I wonder if stores like Target or Kohl’s would have roomier tees. Just a thought!

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