“I hate shopping, except for the part where I am back in my apartment with new clothes.”Does that sound like you? A prospective client once emailed that line to me. It made me laugh, but I get it. Shopping can be tiring, stressful and frustrating. Planning an effective shopping trip takes strategic thought. While it should be easy, often things get in the way. But, take it from me, shopping can be a smooth and seamless process. Below are 9 of my best tools and tricks for a well-executed shopping trip.
1) Find a good salesperson. Some of my best relationships have resulted from following my intuition in a store and simply walking up to someone, introducing myself, and explaining what I was looking to accomplish. A good salesperson will make shopping hassle-free – without an overbearing salespitch (more on this in #6). They’ll also give you advance info on when the sales are and in many cases ‘pre-sell’ items to you – which means you get dibs on things before they go on sale to the general public.2) Shop when stores are least crowded, in the morning and early in the week. Try to avoid after work or the lunch rush.3) Shop with a plan. No good shopping decisions are ever made by wandering into a store without an agenda. Have a list, printed out if necessary – I always shop with the client’s list in my pocket – prioritized by need and budget. Consider getting multiples of basics that work.4) Once you’ve assessed your needs (conducting a closet edit can give you clarity on that), shop early. If you need an overcoat, but you wait until January to start shopping, you’ll be out of luck. The fashion calendar is quirky and requires you to think ahead. So spend time before each season begins thinking about what you’re going to need before you need it. Ask yourself, what did you run out of, or what were you missing last year? Put your answers at the top of your list.5) Take a break when you need one, and bring reinforcements. Pack a bag with anything that will help you stay focused – snacks, drinks, etc. Hungry very quickly becomes hangry while shopping. What else might you want to have on hand? This may be TMI, but a client once had something in his teeth that was distracting him during a shopping session. I happened to have a package of floss with me, which he was grateful for. He took care of business, and we got back to business.6) Be wary of overzealous salespeople. It gives me stomach pain when I look in new clients’ closets and see that thousands upon thousands of dollars have been spent on items that don’t even come close to working for them. Sure, the clothes are beautiful in many cases, but if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. In one case, a client was sold a whole slew of dress shirts from a major luxury brand that shall remain nameless – half of them were different sizes from one another (he had obviously been coerced into buying whatever was in the store), and most of them hadn’t even been bothered to be tailored. The sleeves were a good 5 inches too long on every single shirt. Remember, most salespeople work on commission, so they’re incentivized for you to buy more. If they’re telling you how absolutely amazing everything looks on you, chances are they aren’t being sincere. It’s actually a good sign when a salesperson tells you not to buy something.7) Related to the above, make sure you buy your actual size, not your fantasy size. I frequently encounter people who say that they're going to lose weight and that they should therefore buy things that are too small for them. That doesn't work, and it's a trap. You’ll feel awful about yourself if you have a closet full of clothes that don’t fit you. And how can you expect to lose weight feeling crappy about yourself? If you really are committed to dropping lbs, purchase a few things that fit you now. When you have clothes that fit you as you are and therefore look good on you, you’ll be more likely to take care of yourself and reach your weight loss goal.8) You must love everything. If you’re a Rath & Co. client, you'll hear this from me time and time again. You should only buy things if you absolutely love them. Usually when you know, you know, but if you're having trouble deciding, picture yourself on a morning when you’re heading out to work or an evening when you’re going to an event. Would you "go-to" this item? If not, it’s a no.9) Many no’s are simple. If for example, button-fly jeans have always driven you nuts, you’re not likely to change your mind once they're in your closet. Move on!_______________________________________________________________________________Do you have your own shopping survival strategies? Share them in the comments below. And if you want help from a pro, contact me.