Is shopping something you dread? I get it. Hitting the stores (in real life) can feel like an overwhelming task of the past. Why venture out when we have access to every piece of merchandise imaginable from the comfort of our computer screens? This might surprise you, but I’m NOT a big online shopper. Yes, I source products from within the great expanse of the World Wide Web every day for my clients around the world and there is something highly convenient and cool about that. BUT when it comes to shopping for myself, there’s no comparison to feeling the touch of the fabric, trying on piles of clothing in the fitting room until I find the perfect fit, and getting to interact with salespeople who (typically) steer me in the right direction and appreciate a good piece of clothing as much as I do.
So how can you reframe your mindset around in-person shopping? It’s easy! You just need a few simple tips ─9 to be exact─ to set yourself up for a successful and stress-free shopping trip!
1. Commit to making it fun.
If you go into your next shopping spree with a negative attitude, it’s going to be nearly impossible to have a good experience. So before you head out to the nearest mall or your local boutiques, commit to making it fun. Whether you find just what you’re looking for or not, starting with the right mindset is key. Review your Pinterest style mood board (or spend time making one if you haven’t yet!), get excited about what you’re looking for to round out your wardrobe, and decide to keep a positive outlook even if you strike out this time.
2. Plan to take breaks or bring snacks.
Part of keeping up a positive outlook is by planning to take breaks (as often as you need) or bringing snacks to keep you feeling energized and optimistic. I know I can’t be the only one who gets Snickers commercial-level hangry! I also love carrying a water bottle with me when I go for a full day of shopping. This may sound silly or obvious, but taking care of yourself goes a long way for your mental health, shopping sprees included!
3. Know your limits.
BEFORE you start feeling tired, frustrated, or downright annoyed, it’s time to call it quits. Decide how much time you actually want to invest before you go. If you feel your energy start to dip, even after a snack break, go ahead and press the pause button. Shopping won’t be successful ─or enjoyable─ if you’re forcing yourself through it. And remember, building a closet you LOVE is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to find the right pieces so don’t feel like you need to fill in all the gaps of your wardrobe in one trip.
4. Look and feel your best.
I love to get myself ready before I venture out to shop and I encourage you to do the same. Spend time styling your hair and makeup or whatever you need to do in order to look and feel your very best. If you can avoid it, don’t go shopping when you’re sick, overtired, feeling bloated (whether from that time of the month or last night’s pizza party with the fam), or just not at your optimal level. When you’re feeling good about yourself, you’ll find it so much easier to stand in front of a mirror all day!
5. Go solo.
We all have those friends or family members who try to talk us into spoiling ourselves and buying up everything in sight, don’t we? If you have a trusted person in your life who gives you honest and constructive feedback, feel free to bring them along. Otherwise, I always recommend shopping solo. This way, you’ll be less likely to get distracted, can take as much time as you need, and will learn to rely on your own style intuition. After all, we want to avoid buyer’s remorse whenever possible. We can be easily talked into or out of something the more outside opinions we hear. Instead, tap into your own feelings. If you’re uneasy about an accessory or article of clothing, you’ll likely second guess yourself every time you go to put it on. In that case, leave it behind. If you love the way something looks and feels, on the other hand, lean into that confidence! You know so much more than you think you do.
6. Be confident and specific with salespeople.
Salespeople are there to assist you. And as someone who worked in retail for many, many years, I can tell you that most of them have your best interests at heart. In most cases, they can help steer you toward products that will look great on you or compliment other items you’ve already put aside in the fitting room. But remember, they can have sales quotas or commissions in the back of their minds. I mean, they’re called SALESpeople for a reason. They want to sell you more things. And if they’re good at their jobs, they’ll be able to talk you into more items pretty easily.
Instead of shooing them away like flies, it’s your job to be confident and specific with them about what you like and what you want. If you’re armed with a shopping list (🌟 gold star for you, by the way!), share it with them. Tell them exactly what you’re hoping to take home with you today. Be descriptive about your preferred styles, colors, fabrics, and silhouettes. The more information you can give them, the better they’ll be able to assist you.
And as we talked about in the last tip, don’t take their word over yours! You’re the one who will have to wear this item out in public, not them. If you don’t LOVE it or have to have it, don’t let them try to convince you otherwise. Be polite, but firm in your decisions. It’s more advantageous to them to create good rapport with you so you’ll want to come back and shop with them again in the future.
7. Keep order in the dressing room.
This is where working with a salesperson can really come in handy! Don’t hesitate to ask them to find items in another size or to take away anything you don’t like as quickly as they can. For your own comfort and sanity, don’t toss items on the floor or hang everything back up willy nilly. You’d be shocked at the state some women leave a dressing room in! I like to keep things neat and tidy, in sections of must have items, maybe pieces, and definitely nots. Once decision time comes, it’s so much easier to remember what you liked and didn’t like when you take this extra step to organize as you go.
8. Put things on hold to avoid impulse shopping.
My favorite thing about shopping online for my clients is that I can save everything I recommend to a Pinterest board for their consideration. They can take their time looking over all the pieces I’ve found, decide what they like best, and do calculations to see what best fits within their overall budget. But there’s an easy way to do this in-person, too!
Take an individual picture of everything you’re considering purchasing after you’ve finished trying it on. Add a caption with the price. Ask the salesperson to hold those pieces for you until the end of the day. Once you’re done looking around at each store, go back and revisit the collection of images on your phone. Did you find something you liked even better at another store? Did you lose the warm and fuzzy feelings your first had about it? Which pieces are your favorites?
By stepping back and looking at all of your options at once, you can make better informed and more confident decisions about what you should buy. It does take more time to go back and purchase all the items that made the final cut. But doing this will save you a lot of potential returns and regrets in the future!
9. Make a date to handle necessary alterations.
Odds are, you’re not going to find the perfect fit every time. A simple way to get a more a polished and custom look with your clothing is to have it altered to fit your exact measurements. Whether it’s taking up a hemline or letting the waist out a touch, alterations are a girl’s best friend. Did you know laid-back style icon Jennifer Aniston once admitted to having her t-shirts tailored? That might sound extreme, but it’s how she manages to look flawless in whatever she wears!
So if you fall in love with an item, but you know it could use a bit of adjusting to make it even better, set a date to visit your local tailor or seamstress before you leave the store. Accountability is everything! You can also ask your salesperson whether they offer on-site tailoring. Some retailers, like Nordstrom and J.Crew, offer in-house alterations (for free when you use their credit cards!). So you can often get the problem solved right there, on the spot. Either way, make an appointment with yourself to get this handled as soon as you can.
And there you have it! 9 tips to make your next shopping trip more successful and stress-free!
What did you think? Are there are few suggestions you never thought of before? What else do you like to do to make in-store shopping even more enjoyable? Share your thoughts in the comments and let’s continue the conversation!