The Art of Shopping

Skirmish or reconnaissance mission?

So many women have clothes in their wardrobes that they have never worn, many still have the tags on. Many women have items of clothing they have paid a small fortune for and only worn once. Then again there is an army of women who always seem to be taking clothes back to the shop or returning them. Why this indecision?

If you know what you are shopping for and have done your research then shopping should be a reasonably smooth process. So many of my clients tell me they dislike shopping, finding it tiring, frustrating and demoralizing. I have provided some simple steps that will not only ensure your next shopping trip is easier and more enjoyable, but will also save you making expensive mistakes.

Before you take these steps it is beneficial to check what you have in your wardrobe. This takes time but saves time in the long run. I will soon be posting an article about wardrobe management. So keep your eyes peeled!

Step 1

Know what you want. Is it a winter coat, two new tops or a pair of shoes. This is crucial, unless of course you like wandering about store after store in an aimless and exhausting fashion.

Step 2

Do your research. This involves either going online or visiting shops and stores and seeing what it out there before you buy. This can also result in identifying bargains. Part of this research should be to immediately discount any brands you know don’t suit your body shape or lifestyle. I frequently ‘window’ shop for clients as it gives me an excellent picture of what is available and where.

Step 3

Shop alone. Unless you have a friend or relative who is a style professional I would always advise shopping alone. If you have done your research you will probably find you only need to go to a small number of retail outlets. Friends may mean well but often their taste may be at odds with yours, they may baulk at the price you are prepared to pay and – sorry if this offends – but there may be underlying jealousy issues, so it’s not in their best interest to tell you the truth. I would never ask a sales assistant in a large store if I looked alright in something. They are there to make sales. I would ask for advice from those increasingly rare independent fashion retailers. Why? Because the want you to return and they usually know their business inside out. Often they will instinctively know what you will look good it. Have a budget and stick to it. This will make you a much more discerning shopper.

Step 4

Shop in the morning. You will have more energy and your feet will hurt less. Added to this sales assistants are usually fresher and the stores look better too, as the stock hasn’t been messed about by other shoppers.

Step 5

Be prepared. Once on your shopping trip make sure you are wearing something comfortable on your feet, you are wearing clothes you get into and out of fairly easily and you are not over burdened with lots of jewellery, which you will inevitably end up taking off. If for example you are buying something to go with a particular jacket – take the jacket with you. The same applies to any other item of clothing. Some stores will provide you with shoes to try on, which can be helpful. Make sure you are wearing appropriate underwear especially if you are trying on close fitting garments. I always carry a mirror small enough to fit into my handbag but large enough to use in the changing room if I need to check my rear view. I know many outlets do have mirrors but this is a habit I haven’t been able to rid myself of. Never purchase any item of clothing without first having checked what you look like from behind.

Step 6

Expect and demand good service. Never put up with indifferent service. Some sales assistants think that if they greet you and smile that’s all they need to do. They should be able to answer any questions you have about returns policy or if they can source the item you want at another store. Good fashion retailers often offer a free alterations service if the garment you want needs some slight alteration. Because I am not in proportion I often have blouses and dresses altered. Most manufactures make to standard sizes and proportions – not all of us fit neatly into this.

Follow the above six simple steps and you will transform how you view shopping and more importantly the actual experience. Happy shopping!

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