This Not That: 7 Vogue Editors On their Shopping Fashion Rules

We all have fashion purchases we regret making. There’s likely an ill-fitting pair of jeans or an outdated blouse currently hanging in all of our closets, untouched from the day they left the store. It’s OK—we all fall victim to overzealous shopping sprees we like to call retail therapy.

Despite the obvious disadvantages of buying items we don’t love, lessons are to be learned from these purchases, which in turn establish the very foundation for the shopping habits we live by. For one Vogue editor, investing in staple pieces like Roger Vivier’s timeless satin mules proves worthy of creating a wardrobe with longevity, while another embraces mindful methods of shopping by focusing on the quality of the products filling her closet. Vogue Features and Commerce Editor Lilah Ramzi’s love for mid-century fashion lends to two personal rules to avoid second thought purchases—shopping vintage and waist-accentuating pieces.

As we all grow into our individual style, so too do we develop our own shopping habits. From shopping small business to online purchases, discover the tried and true rules 7 Vogue editors follow for a carefully curated closet below.

Rachel Besser, Market Editor

“When shopping online, I try to shop from retailers that have helpful return policies. The sad reality of ordering online is that not everything will be perfect upon arrival, and if you have a busy schedule, ordering from stores with complicated return policies can often result in no return at all.”

Christopher John Rogers color-block ribbed-knit sweater

Le Specs Oh Damn! rectangular sunglasses

Stella McCartney Air padded flip-flops

Mara Hoffman Emma one piece

Alexandra Michler, Fashion Initiatives Director

“I never buy something that doesn’t fit me, no matter how much I love the look. Moderate alterations are one thing, but to try to tailor something to a completely different size or fit is costly and I am less likely to wear it. Clothes that do not fit properly are never flattering.”

Proenza Schouler fluted-cuff rib-knitted cardigan dress

“I very rarely buy things that are specific to one occasion. I like anything I’m spending money on to have some longevity and purpose beyond a single event. Even the dressiest pair of shoes for a black-tie event can be worn with denim for a more casual night out.”

Roger Vivier Broche Vivier crystal-buckle satin mules

Charlotte Diamond, Assistant Market Editor

“There was a moment in time, whether I wanted to admit or not, that I had a massive shopping problem. I would spend hours scouring the “new arrivals” section of various fast-fashion websites, purchase a handful of outfits for one event, and felt I needed a whole new wardrobe for each season. The last year, however, has made me reevaluate my shopping habits. Now, any new purchase–be it, clothing, jewelry, or accessories—needs to be something that I can wear at work and after-hours drinks, an item that can take me through the winter and summer, or is sustainable/ethical in some way. While I do indulge from time to time, my closet is now filled with classic staples and tailored pieces rather than looking like an absolute mess!”

Alex Mill Bobby striped cotton poplin shirt

Gucci Vintage GG Canvas Jackie O hobo

Frame Le Jane straight-leg jeans

Kinn Studio North Star Dome ring

Lilah Ramzi, Features and Commerce Editor

“Shop Vintage: I mostly buy clothing from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and the ‘80s. There was a ‘50s-style renaissance in the ‘80s (think midi-length full skirts and ladylike silhouettes), and those pieces tend to be in better condition. My vintage orientation has less to do with me being sustainably minded and more to do me thinking contemporary clothes just look wrong on me.”

Awww Shucks vintage 1980s Does ’50s purple floral dress

Bobby Pin Boutique vintage late ’50s striped faux lace dress

“Waist Theory: I like for all my clothes to have a waist, which is surprisingly hard, especially with pants. This goes back to my propensity for all things mid-century—I want the area below my rib cage and above my hip bones to be nipped and accentuated. So I shop for ultra high-waisted pants and dresses with princess seams or belts.”

Rag & Bone Simone stretch ankle pants

A.L.C. Cade high-rise slit trousers

“Baby Steps: All my shoes have kitten heels—no catwalk stilettos for me! During the day, I opt for block heels like those found on Roger Vivier’s Belle Vivier. For dressier nights out, I gravitate toward a pointed toe slingback pump with a lower heel. Dolce & Gabbana and Prada seem to always offer this shape done up in lovely satin or festooned with a bow.”

Roger Vivier Decollete Trompette patent-leather pumps

Dolce & Gabbana gathered-effect kitten-heel pumps

Willow Lindley, Accessories Director

“Always check the materials. I like to try to get as close to 100–percent of as natural a material as possible—cashmere, cotton, linen, merino, silk—especially when stocking up on basics or buying lower price points or sale items. The pieces will fit and feel better while lasting longer.”

Mango Oversize cotton shirt

J.Crew Regent blazer in wool flannel

La Ligne cropped striped Merino wool sweater

Tory Burch poplin trench coat

Tove Thea gathered organic cotton-poplin top

Madeline Swanson, Market Editor

“One parameter that seems to guide my shopping habits as of late is to steer away from fast fashion and big brand names as much as possible and to instead focus my funds towards supporting small, independent brands who champion the idea of unique, handmade pieces that no one else will have. One-of-a-kind, hand-embroidered vintage denim from My Dear Tejas, limited-drop quilted vests from La Veste, bird-motif beaded jewelry from Emily Levine, and funky cow-print bucket hats from Sincerely, Tommy all lend themselves perfectly to this shopping ethos.”

La Veste Kindergarten Orange 100% cotton vest

My Dear Tejas Therapy Pants No. 18

Sincerely, Tommy fuzzy bucket hat with cow print

Emily Levine hand-painted animals necklace

Ciarra Lorren Zatorski, Assistant Market Editor

“Shop realistically—It’s so easy to fall in the traps of tempting Instagram ads and viral TikTok products in hopes of keeping up with the trends. Before making any purchase, I always ask myself two questions—will I actually wear the piece, and will I wear it enough to get my money’s worth. More often than not, the answer is no. Shopping realistically for me means investing in elevated basics that allow for a more versatile wardrobe when paired with statement-making pieces.”

Mango 100% leather blazer

Agolde + Net Sustain Lana distressed organic mid-rise straight-leg jeans

Madhappy campus heritage crewneck

Ninety Percent + Net Sustain organic cotton jersey tank

Mejuri Double Curb chain necklace

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