Clothes Shopping Tips

Shopping with my mother is quite an amazing experience. We don’t just walk around, try things on & say, “Oh, that looks nice” to one another. No, no, no. It is strangely efficient, fuelled by intuition & coffee, & everything is dissected, analysed, pored over — from the shop display to the sales assistants, from the clothing construction to the way the garment looks on.

After talking it up with her the whole time, I decided I should write down some of my observations.

Don’t just buy it because it fits
Just because you can slide those jeans over your hips does not mean you should own them! When looking at clothing, always always always take your body shape into account, & trends be damned. Why would you want to make yourself look bad just so you can be “in fashion” (which is so boring, anyway)?! It doesn’t matter HOW popular skinny jeans get, I am never going to wear them — because they are unflattering. Look in the mirror & assess your image before buying ANYTHING!

Choose your shopping companion carefully
Yesterday, my mother & I saw several people trying on awful things while their friend said, “Ooh, I like that on you”. I don’t know whether the friends were blind, cruel or didn’t know what they were talking about, but it was pretty bad. If you don’t like to shop alone, take someone who is as well-dressed or better dressed than you, & who has your best interests at heart. Not someone who is just going to tell you what you want to hear, or with whom you are competing for a cute boy or girl’s attention!

Listen to the sales assistant at your peril
Just like when choosing a hairstylist or manicurist, sometimes it pays to judge a book by its cover. A hairstylist with a mile of roots & split ends is not who you want to touch your tresses. Similarly, a girl who looks like she just crawled out of a dumpster is probably not going to be able to assist you much when it comes to putting an outfit together, judging the size of a pair of pants etc. Definitely be open to suggestion, but if you’re not sure about a dress & the sales assistant assures you that it’s “rad”, remember — she probably works on commission, & she’s not the one who has to wear it. If you’re not sure, don’t buy it! You can always come back later.

Go easy on yourself
If there is one shopping task which you particularly hate — like shoe shopping, or buying jeans — set yourself aside an entire day in which you do ONLY that. (I hate shopping for jeans, to me that is like hell on earth. Sometimes I think I should give up on pants entirely.) Afterwards, even if you don’t find anything which fits the bill, reward yourself with a cupcake, pain au chocolat, or bottle of tequila.

Have a good breakfast
Ahh, you think I’m foolin’! I’m not. If you’re not adequately fuelled up before you go, chances are good that you will pass out in a changing room or walk into incoming traffic by mistake. Professional shoppers (ahem) tend to take snacks with them. I, for example, carried a bagel with me yesterday until it went soggy. Delicious! But seriously, eat something decent, chug a coffee & go.

Today I think I’m going to be on the hunt for jeans (& boots). Keep your fingers crossed!

P.S. Listen to A Pre-Shopping Primer (& Podcast) for more tips & tricks!