We try to be thoughtful and discerning with our wardrobe purchases, making sure they are comfortable, good looking, great quality, and suit our needs. We prance around at home in new wardrobe items for a bit, and when they pass our at-home test, we store them until their first outing. But sometimes this isn’t enough for a good decision. 

I bought a pink dress back in January at a discounted price. I’ve worn it twice, and although it was very comfortable and I like the colour and silhouette, it did not pass the road test to my satisfaction. I cannot get the lining to lie flat once I’ve moved around in the dress. That makes the dress look very creased. I tried pressing the dress and wearing different underpinnings. No luck. It’s a quality issue with the fabric, lining, or both. I returned the dress to Nordstrom, who apologized for the problem.

There is nothing like truly putting an item through its paces in order to figure out whether it will behave or malfunction. It’s after that all-important road test that we ultimately know whether new items will work for us. Most of the time they do because we were thoughtful upfront, but sometimes they don’t.

When you can return a malfunctioning item easily, like I could in this case, it’s all good. The irritation is when you can’t return it, and you simply have to write off the purchase as a mistake. This happens to me with shoes more frequently than any other wardrobe item. A new pair seems fine when I walk at home in them for a while, but disastrous when I pound the pavement outside on their first road test. Occasionally I can figure out the cause of the discomfort and successfully troubleshoot. Other times I have to pass on the shoes because I can’t return them.

You can’t always do a road test before committing to an item, so there is some luck involved. Have you had similar experiences with your own purchases?