5 Tips to Shopping on Your Own; as told by a personal stylist

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As a personal stylist, I hear a lot about why people hate getting dressed every day. Sure, they feel they have nothing to wear, but the bigger issue is that they HATE to shop. Although I love shopping (for myself as well as for others) when I stop and think about it, I can totally understand why they hate it. With fast – fashion ruling the world these days, you’d be hard-pressed to walk into a shop that isn’t swarming with people, a complete and utter mess, or just too much product to ever navigate through. As a result, I’ve compiled a quick list of 5 shopping DO’s (because, who cares about the don’ts?) for shopping on your own.

 

1) Identify your concerns

The only thing worse than not knowing what you’re looking for, is being in a store with tons of product and not knowing what you’re looking for. I hear it all the time; “I need clothes”. Sure you need clothes, that’s a fair point, but what are you missing? Are you missing basic bottoms to mix and match? Is it tops for work? Do you have nothing for your casual weekend hangouts? Don’t overwhelm yourself by saying “I need everything” you don’t need everything. If you like, take a pen and paper and identify your most pressing issue. Start with the sentence “I feel most overwhelmed when trying to dress for…” and whatever that event is (work, social gatherings, formal gatherings) that’s your number 1 problem area.

2) Get your online pre-shop on

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So now that you know what you’re missing, start looking for it from the comfort of your own home. This is a guaranteed way to not overwhelm yourself early on…if you do, just close that lap top and turn on some Netflix! Of course, you can buy online too, but if you’re anything like me you like to try things on to ensure you won’t need the ever-so-tedious “return/exchange” trip <<< the worst! Browse online; make a quick list of shops where you’re finding product you like that you think can work. We live in a glorious age of technology. Now you can find several sites (Banana Republic, Bloomingdales just to name a couple) where you can search online for store locations that have your product and size in your local store. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

 

3) Head out and stay focused!

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So here we are. You know what you want, you know where you want to get it, and you’ve ventured out into the world of shops. Good for you! The key here, is to STAY FOCUSED. There is nothing that will derail you faster than losing sight of your goal. If you’re headed out for a pair of jeans, do not let yourself be distracted by a pair of sale boots. Not yet, at least. Remember why you headed out in the first place; because getting ready in the morning is anxiety producing. Head to the stores you’ve pre-shopped, try on your pieces, see what you get. If you find that you have some left over energy after you’ve hit all the shops on your list, THEN you can start to check out other things…but don’t waste the little energy you have on distractions that will not contribute to your ultimate goal.

 

4) Do you love it???

It seems so simple, but the answer to this question can be the difference between a closet you love, and a closet FULL of items you’ll never wear. Do not buy it unless you love it. I’ll say it again: DO NOT BUY IT UNLESS YOU LOVE IT. I hope you heard me. I don’t care what the deal is, money is money, and money spent on an item you don’t love and won’t wear is money poorly spent. If you have money to burn, I’ll send you my address and you can send it my way, but do not buy pieces that’ll just sit in your closet and overwhelm you even more when it’s time to get dressed. Ask any of my clients and they’ll tell you about this rule of mine and how it’s changed the way they shop.

 

5) Give yourself time (and be patient)

If you give yourself enough time, you can do it! I cannot tell you how many clients of mine (in a rush) have spent thousands of dollars on pieces that were not suitable for their body type or lifestyle because a commission based stylist at the shop had pulled and recommended it. Not to mention the clients who weren’t in a rush and didn’t know better. This isn’t to say that every commission based stylist is a liar; but they do have a bit more incentive to spend your money, and if you walk into a shop saying what most of my clients do “I don’t know what works for me and I need something NOW” its music to a commission based stylist’s ears. If you give yourself ample time, you’ll find that you can visit and re-visit things without the pressure of having to buy right away. It’ll give you the flexibility to assess. Sure, we all have busy schedules, but for major events we usually have an appropriate amount of notice so use it to your advantage. If you need style help, find a local personal stylist, pay for their services and expertise rather than paying someone’s commission. When I say be patient, I mean don’t just buy because it’s taking you some time to fill your closet. We’re not trying to FILL, remember??? We’re trying to address and improve need by need. If you know your problem area is bottoms, and your next area will be tops, don’t get sidetracked buying some of this and some of that just to get it all done. No one gets it all done in one shot.

Candace Hanna