How to Shop Like a Minimalist: The Banned Brands List

36 items of clothing, 8 pairs of shoes, 3 bags

As part of my shopping rules, there is a banned brands list in place. These are clothing stores I don’t even walk into anymore. I won’t mention the names of these brands, but I will tell you that there were five that I used to frequent. It was really easy for me to walk into one of these stores to ‘have a look’, get worked up over something I didn’t need, and buy it.

I suggest that if you go through a clothing cleanse and intend to keep a small wardrobe, you also establish a banned brands list. My banned brands list has changed my shopping habits considerably. All the places on the list were designed to encourage impulse shopping. It was too easy to walk in with an idea of what I needed and walk out with the things I got distracted by (and got rid of later).

When I shop now I picture these brand names each at the point of a burning pentagram.

I established this banned brands list by analysing my wardrobe purges. These brands kept coming up in the discard pile, and I have barely any of their items left in my wardrobe now.

Below is an explanation as to why these particular brands are banned.

Brands 1, 2 and 3 are too ‘young’ for me. It’s hard to admit to yourself you don’t look cool in crop tops and ripped jeans, but the reality dawns when you realise that everyone else wearing these things is at least a decade younger than you. Also, you cannot wear these things to a professional job, so even if you love them, they are ridiculously inflexible in a small wardrobe. I will admit that I still own some of these crop tops in my PJ/leisurewear drawer, but they won’t be leaving my apartment any day soon.

Brand 4 looks great and is more ‘upscale’ (expensive) than the others, yet all their clothing quality diminishes after but a few washes. I’m not going to fill you in on the pilling $100 tights incident, but let me tell you I went back to that brand anyway. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice – stop shopping at the stupid store already!

Brand 5 looks great on mannequins but features poor design and craftsmanship. I love button ups, but that last one I got rid of (and many before) needed to go because even though I loved the colour and the fabric, the collar looked lumpy and weird when buttoned all the way up.

These are the main reasons I stopped shopping with these brands. What I look for now in my clothing is quality and flexibility above all else. I really hope that in a year’s time my wardrobe still contains most of the things I have bought this year.

Are there brands in your life that let you down? Maybe it’s time to wave goodbye to them.



  1. I know exactly what you are talking about. I’ve been trying to shop online to avoid any temptation. When I know I absolutely need something I will look online at the two quality clothing stores I have whittled my shopping down to. It’s better than walking through a whole store r mall for that matter with multiple items calling your name. Lol.

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  2. I’d bet that the tights incident was lulu 😉 If it was- I recommend searching on eBay for gently used versions from past seasons that were made with higher quality materials. I still love certain brands, but notice an overall drop in quality – and eBay has my back! I can still add the brand to my closet but not waste precious funds on “current” pieces that are going to unravel after a few washes.

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  3. I’ve thought about writing about my banned list too but struggled to get myself to name the brands. For two reasons, I don’t want to alienate my readers that still shop at those places and I still wear old items already purchased from these brands so that would be confusing. I’m glad you found a way to talk about this covertly. Great post. =)

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  4. Love your idea of having a “banned brands” list! You have clearly classified what goes on in an avid shopper’s mind! I already have a list and am going to also follow your way of doing a clothing cleanse! Keep the good stuff coming 🙂

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  5. I’ve been struggling to get my wardrobe down to the essentials because I’m afraid I’ll get bored of the outfits, so keep things around even though they don’t quite fit my style. I’m impressed that you were able to get it down to 36 items in your closet!

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  6. Great idea, and I love how you identified the banned brands.
    I think I created the opposite list, a small list of ‘go to’ brands. I’ve learnt over the past couple of years that these brands create clothes that I enjoy wearing and that fit me really well, plus they’re well made and last for a few years. They’re also a little more expensive which means it’s harder to impulse buy. When I deviate from my list I usually end up with a bunch of clothes I wear only once or twice.

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  7. Very good advice! I just recently lost a great deal of weight ( I was ill, it helped) and my closet is overflowing with clothes of different sizes. I’m going to have to suck it up, ditch the clothes and start over. I only wear a few things, anyway. The choices are very slim when you are so busty you need the plus sizes. Here in Canada, we have Old Navy, which is okay if you don’t mind shabby and casual, or quite high end, and since I no longer work due to my pain condition, I don’t really need. It’s a challenge! 😊

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  8. Banned brands, great idea! I am serious need of a clothing purge, it is hard to let go of my “treasures” “bargain finds but I realize I am collecting vs. enjoying. I just started the Year To Clear on Daily OM in hopes the rehab will prevent me from acquiring more!

    Liked by 1 person

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