5 Ways to Shop Smarter

October 20, 2008

Photo by turtlemom4bacon

It is important now more than ever to shop smart! This economic crunch is forcing us to re-evaluate our shopping habits. In the recent past, many women have had numerous unrequited shopping experiences, resulting in not only closets full of unworn clothes but, more dishearteningly, with a loss of faith in their own personal style. Ironically enough, this is an opportune time for us to re-assess our personal presentations. It is crucial that the visual message that we are sending to our employers, bosses, employees, prospective clients, networking influencers, others and especially to ourselves is instantly perceived as authentic, appropriate and strong>shows that we mean business.

This is also an opportune time because during this 2008 Fall/Winter shopping season in particular, there is a great selection of quality goods in stores and online that are on sale because of the financial squeeze store buyers have suddenly found themselves in. As a result, this is a great opportunity for consumers. Another shopping green light for the professional this season is the variety of staple pieces essential to every businesswoman’s wardrobe. Combine the need to enhance your presentation with the steals and deals at the stores this Fall/Winter 2008 season and you’ve got it made!

Here are 5 Ways to Shop Smarter:

Be Prepared

A major part of being a savvy shopper is doing the prep-work. This includes having a clear and thorough understanding of:

  • What items you already have, what you need and what you want
  • Ways to research for inspiration (magazines, catalogs, online, people watch, etc.)
  • The shape of your body and how to create overall symmetry with your clothing
  • Those physical features that you would like to highlight and those that you would like to de-emphasize – determine which silhouettes support these objectives
  • What types of outfits are suitable for your lifestyle
  • Flattering colors
  • Dependable brands that work well for YOU
  • Which stores and online sites carry desired merchandise

Have an Agenda

Be a mindful shopper:

  • Set aside a specific amount of time (eg.: 2-hour blocks)
  • Define goals for outing – bring a list of needs and wants
  • At stores – shop on Thursdays or Fridays or weekend mornings (sales begin, less crowds, access to sales staff); online – anytime
  • Know the layout of the store or online site (ie. brands, departments, merchandise categories, etc.) to adhere to time constraints and reduce stress
  • Focus on quickly scanning a rack of clothes or accessories table; search for those items/brands on the list succinctly; do not waste time or energy
  • Don’t get discouraged – ask for help if you can’t find what your looking for; call stores to locate desired merchandise; shop at a variety of sites; don’t give up; remember garment size is simply a guideline; be confident with your decisions; decide to look your best; decide that you are capable of making it happen

Go Solo

It’s often best to shop alone. This allows you more of an opportunity to relax, focus and think about whether an item really works on you; to recall what you already have in your closet; to stay on course and to learn to trust your aesthetic decisions. This doesn’t mean that you have to go solo all of the time or that you can’t ask for the opinion or support of others; it just means that you must begin to take your mission seriously rather than turning it into a frivolous shopping experience. Looking your best is an ongoing process that is actually an evolution of you and your individual life and the way in which your personal style reiterates your evolving attributes and aspirations rather than an insatiable quest for outside approval.

Create a Spending Plan

Having a set budget will not only support your bank account but will also increase your self confidence by holding yourself financially accountable:

  • Determine which items would be best as investment pieces (eg.: shoes, handbag and a coat) and which items to spend less money on (eg.: trend pieces); allocate wardrobe budget accordingly
  • Research average price(s) of desired garments and accessories
  • Calculate price per wear
  • Purchase items that only add value to your wardrobe
  • Gather sales promotion information from flyers, online newsletters, calls from store sales associates or boutique owners, etc.
  • Reduce or eliminate impulse purchases (on a trip or vacation, window shopping with friends, sample sales, etc.)

Follow-through

To eliminate excess waste in your closet, budget and peace of mind you must finish what you started:

  • Shop in complete outfits – try on clothes in stores and again at home to make sure that it works, that you have every piece that you need to make a complete outfit(s) and that it adds value to your wardrobe
  • Complete returns immediately
  • Pay strong attention to silhouette, fit and proportion!!!
  • Doubt means don’t – if you are that undecided then walk away; a better option is out there

In spite of the fact that financial times are constrained for so many, this is NOT the time to hide!!! It is the time to set yourself apart from the pack, to have your personal presentation immediately tell people something about yourself and to go forth confidently. To look and feel your best, set a clear intention to be a productive conscientious shopper. Be purposeful. Know what you want ahead of time, the best place to get it, and the specific reason you need it. Do your homework, set up a plan, stick to your budget, and follow-through to complete your objectives. Be secure in your aesthetic abilities to ascertain your best self and don’t forget to have FUN!!!

Share some of your tried and true shopping strategies/techniques. As always, if this article has been helpful or valuable to you, please forward it to a friend.

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  • Susy Miller

    This is a great at-a-glance kind of site, enjoyable to visit and the tips are mindful and useful.

    …tho living out here in the hicksville part of Marin County, it is still wonderful to see the highest styles while I sip coffee in my PJs — not that the coffee is in my PJs — but well … my first comment on a website and I have made a total fool of myself! (How’s that for Style, huh?)