How to Shop for Clothes Like a Stylist

how to shop

how to shop

I know what you did last weekend, and I have to say that I’m a little disappointed. You spent the day at the beach, didn’t you? I saw the pictures on Facebook, toes in the sand, holding a fruity drink, and I’m here to tell you that it’s not okay.

You could have spent the day shopping, the way the good Lord intended.

Sure, hanging out at the beach may be fun or relaxing or whatever, but when the day is over, what do you have to show for it? Skin damage, that’s what. And you could have had shoes.

I’m just going to pause for a minute and let that sink in.

You could have had shoes.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. There are lots of people who find other activities more fun and relaxing than shopping. They spend time on things like yoga or boating or sports, but not one of these activities ends in shoes, or even the possibility of shoes. If you don’t care about your own feet, think of your kids. Don’t they need shoes? Exactly.

Oh. You hate shopping? Really? I bet you also hate ice cream and watching makeover shows on HGTV. Fortunately, I can help!  Clients who hate to shop hire me to do the shopping for them, either at a store or virtually. And along the way, I give them some pointers. I help reluctant shoppers become confident shoppers, and all it takes is a few simple tips. Here, how to shop for clothes like a stylist!

10 Rules of Shopping Like a Pro

1. Go Pretty

After I was old enough to wear makeup, my mom would insist that we wear blush and earrings every time we left the house. She didn’t need to say lipstick because, well, that was a given. Set yourself up for a successful day of shopping by making sure you look and feel your best. Fix your hair and apply makeup. Wear a stylish two piece outfit (so you can try on just a top, or a skirt, if you wish) and slip on shoes. Keep your undergarments neutral. And don’t go when you’re bloated, hungry, or tired. It’s the quickest route to a regrettable purchase.

2. Make a List

So you’ve done a quick closet overhaul and made room for some new purchases. The next step is to make a list of all the gaps you have in your closet, and any new trends or accent pieces you might want to try. Are there items you reach for again and again that you don’t have? Or perhaps a quick glance at your freshly organized closet shows a lack of color, or or accessories. Make a list of the items that you need, and make it as specific as possible. Make sure that each new purchase will work with more than one item in your existing wardrobe.

3. Go Solo

Don’t confuse shopping with socializing. If you’re looking to do some serious power shopping, then going solo is best. That way, you won’t feel rushed or tied to someone else’s schedule. Also, friends can be shopping enablers, encouraging you to buy things you don’t really want or need. If you do need a second opinion, take along a single trusted friend for help, but no more.

4. Know Your Body Type

Walking into a store is a lot less daunting and overwhelming when you’re armed with a Shopping Cheat Sheet and an awareness of your body type. Knowing what works for your unique shape, and what doesn’t, immediately narrows down your options and makes zeroing in on the perfect item so much easier! It also dramatically reduces the chances that you’ll walk away with something that you don’t love and will never wear.

5. Try Something New

There’s a difference between knowing what works for you and falling into a fashion rut. If you’re intrigued by a new trend, and it suits your shape and your lifestyle, give it a try. Just because you’ve always worn skinny jeans doesn’t mean you have to wear them forever. A shopping trip is the best place to experiment with that new pants silhouette, or to try a pretty new dress in a fresh silhouette.

6. Skip the Size Shaming

By now, it’s pretty well documented in the fashion industry that every brand has its own sizing system, and that some of them vary dramatically. According to Racked, the waist measurement of a size 8 garment at The GAP is 28″, while at Uniqlo it’s over 33″. So, unless you plan to wear your clothes inside out, use the size only as a guideline. And after you find your best size in a favorite brand, make a note of it for future online purchases.

7. Follow Your Bliss

By now, you’ve heard about the super-trendy Japanese Konmari method, a system of tidying up by keeping only the items that bring you joy. The same rule should apply to anything new that enters your closet. If it fits, flatters, and makes you so happy that the thought of leaving it behind is painful, then buy it, immediately. If you’re on the fence, leave it behind. It’s appeal will only diminish after you get it home.

8. Fill in the Gaps

Ideally, your wardrobe should consist of two categories only: Things that you find beautiful (and that make you feel and look beautiful) and those that are useful. The useful category consists of the items in your capsule wardrobe, the tried and true workhorses of your closet that make everything else work. Sure, these pieces are a little more humdrum than the joy-inducing finds, but they’re critical to a balanced wardrobe. When you find basics you love, with good quality, fit and price, buy a couple.

9. Take Notes

Keep a running list on your Smartphone, or on Evernote, of the brands, sizes and stores that work best for you. This information allows you to shop online with more confidence and to take advantage of sales. (More about online shopping tomorrow!). Whenever you have an opportunity to shop in a new place, try a few things on to get an idea of the fit.

10. Use it Or Lose It

Just  because something makes its way into your closet, that doesn’t mean it’s earned a permanent place there. Try on your new purchase with items from your existing wardrobe to see if they work together as well as you had planned. Sometimes, you have to try things on to see how they will look together. Then, wait until you actually wear the item before cutting the tag off. We all want to wear our cute new purchases right away, so if you don’t wear it, that might be a sign that you don’t love it. Leave the tag on until you wear it!

With practice, these 10 tips will become second nature, and your shopping confidence will increase! Do you have any shopping tips to add to this list? I’d love to hear them!

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