Many people have trouble shopping from time to time, whether it’s an issue with finding clothes you like or ones that fit. One strategy that can make the search easier is to develop a “nope list” that streamlines your shopping process.
A “nope list” is a list of items that you have learned through trial and error do not work for you. This limits the types of clothes that you can consider or try on in any given store. Not only does it save you time, but it frees you from FOMO (fear of missing out) on something cool. You can admire that boho-style bell-sleeve blouse, and yet not feel the need to buy or try it on because you already know that bell-sleeve blouses don’t work for you. With a nope list, you can breeze through sections and whole stores by just scanning what’s available. If tees are on your nope list, then a thrift store with mostly tees is one you can pass up. When eighty percent of a store’s stock is a certain color or palette that’s on your nope list, you can tell from just a glance that it’s not worth the time to shift through the remaining twenty percent that might appeal to you. Here are some strategies to help you find what to put on your nope list:
Find patterns in your closets.
The first step in optimizing your wardrobe is to be aware of your shopping habits and how they’ve worked out for you. Analyze what you try on in stores, what you buy, and what you actually wear. Is there a certain color, fabric, or style that you keep trying on but never buy? If, during a trouser reconnaissance mission, you have tried on multiple pairs of palazzo pants and didn’t like how they look or feel on you—put them on your nope list! When you feel that something doesn’t work for you, it’s okay to decide to skip those style of pants in the future, no matter how trendy they are.
Sometimes there are also items that people try on and buy, but don’t end up wearing when they get home. Usually this is because these items are uncomfortable, ill-fitting, or unsuited for your lifestyle or the rest of your wardrobe. Whatever the reason, look through your closet and take note of these things—then add them to your nope list. Maybe you bought some colorful pants but don’t feel like you have things that coordinate, or perhaps you’ve bought several of a wardrobe staple—say, white tees—that you just don’t end up wearing. In that case, analyze whether it’s the color or the style that’s not working for you, and avoid that in the future.
Describe your personal style and consider your style goals.
Sometimes we try on things that we that we like in theory, but that we just don’t like on us. You could love the look of long, flowy, pastel-colored summer dresses and, at the same time, just not feel that comfortable in them because your style is more androgynous, more practical, or bolder. Take a few minutes to describe your personal style, how it makes you feel, and how you achieve the look. Items that generally don’t work with your style description and current wardrobe can go on the nope list.
Assess how well your wardrobe corresponds to your weekly activities.
Sometimes, we end up with a disproportionate amount of clothing for a certain activity (which could be exercise, but also sleeping!). You may already have an idea of how your wardrobe corresponds to your weekly activities, but look at your schedule and estimate how many hours during the week you spend at work, at home, out and about, or engaged in sports and exercise. Then, open your closets and drawers to figure out roughly what percentage of your clothing is dedicated to workwear, loungewear, activewear, etc. If you find that you’re in the office 40 hours a week, but you have much more loungewear than workwear, for instance, you may want to put loungewear on a short-term nope list, until you wear some things out and need replacements.
Sometimes we can get caught up in trying multiple versions of things, hoping that one of them will work. (This can be especially true when we have well-meaning friends or family who love a certain item and insist that there’s a good pair out there for everyone.) But there’s a freedom in creating a nope list that limits what you are willing to try on, buy, and wear. The nope list gives you more time to do activities other than shopping, and it helps reduce the amount of unused items in your wardrobe--something that is good for all of us!