10 Tips for Shopping Success
If shopping were easy, I’d be out of a job. Too much/not enough choice, pushy sales assistants, not knowing what suits, buying individual garments not outfits, sticking to the tried and trusted – all play a part in making shopping some people’s nightmare and not the retail ‘therapy’ we are led to believe. Even those who love it still tend to have clothes that hang, unworn in their closets! So here are my tips for getting it right – from the start.
1. Focus. Don’t get side-lined. Make a list of what you need to buy and do not deviate. Otherwise, you end up with something you don’t need. If you’re just browsing, go with no money and then you can freely look without any obligation or pressure to buy. You’ll probably find it quite liberating if you’re not used to it. If you find something you really love, the sales assistant will always put it on one side so you can purchase later.
2. Take your ‘props’. If you’re looking for something specific, it makes sense to take the accompanying shoes, underwear, hat and so on. Trying on a cocktail dress wearing trainers and socks will possibly not give the desired effect! The same applies to grooming. If it’s a special occasion you’re shopping for, wearing makeup will create the right affect.
3. Be your own counsel. Beware of advice from others, unless you’ve paid an independent image professional, who you know and trust, to go with you. Other people have reasons to persuade you to buy something that might not be your best option. Sales assistants are often driven by sales target while ‘friends’, not happy that you look so good, may steer you towards something less flattering.
4. Sizing. We all know how sizing differs not only from one manufacturer to another but also within the same store. Use the size label as a guide. That’s all it is. If you don’t like the number, cut it out when you get home. Most of us have at least 3 different sizes in our wardrobes. It means nothing. What is important is the fit. With this is mind, if you find something you like it’s worth taking the sizes either side of your normal one into the changing room. Once you have them on your body, move about (a lot), sit down, swing your arms, walk around so you can check for comfort and note any drag lines (horizontal lines in the wrong place mean it’s too tight), bend over to make sure neckline isn’t gaping and that there are no gaps between buttons or other fastenings. I personally always try on new clothes in the store changing room because I hate returning goods. However, if you don’t trust the store’s mirror, don’t like the lighting or want to try on with your accessories (which you couldn’t be bothered to carry) then it’s fine to take them home with you. Just remember to return anything that’s not perfect. If you’re an on-line shopping fan, it’s common practice now for shoppers to order 2 or 3 different to make sure they get the right one first time round.
5. Labels. On the subject of labels, don’t think designer is always best. A designer label is only worth buying IF the garment looks fabulous on you, fits perfectly, coordinates with your current wardrobe, is appropriate for the occasion and you LOVE it. If it ticks all those boxes, then go ahead. Don’t think that you have to wear designer labels head to toe. Clever dressers mix with high street to get uniqueness and authenticity in their styling.
6. Co-ordinate. Generally, it makes sense to buy clothing that fits in with your current wardrobe. This doesn’t mean it has to be boring, so don’t go down the route of buying the same item in a number of different colours so they hang side by side like a uniform. Try something new and see how you feel about it. Stick to two or three neutrals such as grey, navy, black and add favourite accents. Plain fabrics are more versatile than patterns but you can ring the changes with accessories. If you find something you love but it doesn’t go with anything else in your wardrobe, you have to make the decision on whether to purchase the rest of the outfit or walk away. Only you know the answer to that one. My own ‘rule’ is that I like to wear the same garment in at least 3 different ways. That then justifies any cost implications and gives me the versatility I need.
7. Bargain hunting. Sales unleash something wild in us. I’m not sure why a garment we wouldn’t have looked at full price suddenly seems like the most attractive ’must-have’ once the price has been reduced. I’m not saying that all sale goods are not worth the effort, but most are there for one reason only. They didn’t sell!
8. Emotional shopping. Don’t go shopping to fill a void. You’ll end up with clothes that never get worn and a massive hole in your bank balance. If you really have to buy something, buy a fashion magazine, or something low priced, that still makes you feel good. Better still meet a friend and have a laugh.
9. Foundations are key. Any outfit can look cheap if the underwear is wrong. It really does pay to get this right.
10. LOVE it. If you don’t, why are you bothering? But do make sure, the feeling is reciprocal!!