05/28/2015 10:13 am ET Updated May 27, 2016

This Dress Was Expensive, Therefore I Should Keep It?

Are you keeping, or even worse, wearing an article of clothing that does not show off the best you because of the label on the item or because you originally paid a lot of money for the item?

The first place to start is determining your image priorities. If it turns out that one of your priorities is to project the best you, then let go of items that do not suit you. Many people tend to sacrifice so much more than the money they have shelled out by prioritizing expense (perhaps even from decades ago) over fashion sense.

When I go through my clients' closets, I never factor in the label or the original cost of an article of clothing in determining whether an item is a keeper versus a donation candidate. I can rhyme off several examples where a client wanted to keep an outfit because of the label attached and/or the original cost of the outfit. However, when they put the outfit on, it did not give off their best and in many cases they looked like an outdated flashback to the time period when the outfit was originally purchased.

Any time a client indicates they would like to keep/wear an article of clothing that does not give off their best because of the label on the item or the original cost of the item, I always ask how much is this item really costing them in the long run? - a job, a promotion, a missed romantic opportunity, lower energy?

Why would you want to keep and/or wear an item that...
-Is not in your seasonal color palette? [revealed through a color analysis consult]
-Does not maximize your body silhouette?
-Does not show off your personality?
-Looks outdated or worn?
-Does not excite you?

The best way to avoid overspending and/or filling your closet with items that don't belong there in the first place, is to place a higher priority on shopping with your color palette, style, lifestyle and personality needs in mind. By doing so you will stop wasting your time and money filling your closet with items that are costing you more than money in terms of potential lost job, promotion, social and romantic opportunities, etc.

I also recommend reviewing the contents of your closet once every season to ensure your closet remains up-to-date to align with your changing lifestyle needs.

My suggestion, base your clothing decisions on your personal fashion sense rather than original expense.

I hope this article inspires you to wear your authenticity!

Carol Brailey is an Image Consultant based in Toronto, Canada. More of her color and style blogs can be found at and