Before you buy anything, ask yourself the following questions to keep from making purchases you'll regret once you're home.
Does it really fit well everywhere?
Make sure the item fits your body right now: Don't count on losing five pounds. Taking things in is relatively easy; letting them out is much harder.
Do I own pieces to wear with it?
A safe bet is to purchase classic separates in neutral colors that you can easily work into your wardrobe year-round--like slim black pants, a khaki blazer and a white shirt.
Does this replace something similar?
Before you go shopping, scrutinize your wardrobe and check the condition of your favorite pieces. If they're worn or shabby, then now is the right time to replace them.
Is it too trendy to last another season?
It's fine to buy a fun piece to update your wardrobe instantly if it's not too expensive. (When you're out to find right-this-minute trends, start at big retailers or online to find the most-affordable prices.)
If I change my mind, can I return the piece?
It may not be a great "bargain" if you can't return it. Keep the receipt and don't remove the tags until you wear your new purchase. Most stores allow returns for two weeks up to 30 days after the purchase.
Does it make me feel good about how I look?
Don't buy it unless you love it! It's easy to fall into the trap of buying something just because it's a great deal, but it's OK to walk out of a store without purchasing anything. Chances are next time you return to that store there will be lots more to choose from!