What Type of Shopper are You?

According to Suzy Gershman in “Best Dressed”, there are four kinds of shoppers (for clothes, that is).

The first type shops without a plan and makes a lot of mistakes. She is the one that hates trying on clothes and picks something she likes, purchasing it with the thought that if I don’t like it, I can return it. She also buys a lot of inexpensive items and has a hard time matching them with items she already owns. Her look is usually more trendy.

The second type of shopper likes to spend money on expensive items and very few of them. Because of this, her items get worn a lot. She almost despises sales – preferring to pay full price for an item that fashion magazines say will be the envy of others. Her preference is items made of expensive fabrics like, cashmere, real leather and real fur. Her look is basic, with no personal style.

The third kind of shopper is more conservative. She is not interested in the current trends and fads. Her clothes are simple and basic – mostly buying from the same stores and designers. Being practical, she has a more defined signature style, but it doesn’t make much of a statement.

The fourth type of shopper is creative, but careful. She is constantly building her wardrobe like a puzzle – carefully adding pieces that go with at least three other items she owns. This works because she tends to stick with one or two basic colors. Her wardrobe if full of texture and garments that make a statement. Shoes for her are ‘sensible and chic’.  She is elegant with just the right amount of style and color.

Gershman says she is ‘born to shop’. You can find the complete book available here: There is no image, but if you let your mouse hover over the image area, you can click to see inside the book.

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What is a Wardrobe Capsule

A Wardrobe Capsule consists of a few garments that mix and match to make several outfits.

I first heard of a Wardrobe Capsule from an article in Woman’s Day magazine in May of 1982. The title read “$150 Wardrobe to Mix-Match over 40 Ways”. It showed a lady dressed in several outfits from the nine pieces and demonstrated how to put the pieces together to make several outfits. On the bottom of each page was ten other outfits totaling 40. The pieces were: red camp shirt, red straight (called ‘walking’) skirt, white blazer, black pants, white shorts, striped jersey knit shirt, black jersey camisole and a black jersey pull on skirt. Just putting the black camisole and black pull on skirt with a belt make your own little black dress and looks very sophisticated.

This has facinated me since then and several years ago, I created a Capsule Wardrobe site including a paperdoll with seven garments that you can move over to the doll to make 20 outfits. Try it – you will be facinated. Click here to see the paper doll.

Here is a book that I would highly recommend if you are interested in studying the concept of a Capsule Wardrobe further.

Wardrobe Magic goes into detail about make capsule wardrobes with lots of samples.

Wardrobe Capsule
Please click on the link under ‘ebooks’ or on the image to the left to sign up for your free ebook with information on creating a Wardrobe Capsule and more.

Have fun creating your own Wardrobe Capsule.

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The Importance of Maintaining a Consistent Image

Think for a moment about the handful of well-dressed women you know. Do you consider them well dressed because they show up looking great sometimes? Every other Thursday? On good hair days?


It’s probably because they ALWAYS look good. Whether you see them at work, at the grocery store, at church, at their son’s soccer game, or wherever, they’re always dressed appropriately and looked pulled together for the occasion. In fact, you may wonder if they ever look bad.

Now think about everyone else. They can pull themselves together when it counts, like a job interview or a wedding, for example, but they’re borderline during working hours and unrecognizable come the weekend.

Do you consider them well dressed?

Probably not. Hit or miss dressing does not a well-dressed woman make.

So where do YOU fall in this spectrum?

Are you always pulled together, or do you have your moments of looking good? Do you usually look okay, but drop the ball when you think no one’s looking?

Here are the typical behaviors that most women seem to fall into:

1. Usually Casual, Occasionally Dressy for The SAME Activity

I once worked in a very business casual organization where everyone usually wore khakis, corduroys, and jeans. Every now and again someone would show up wearing a suit. It was a clear sign that they had something else going on that day, usually a job interview elsewhere. Since the group as a whole was very nervous about any change, the prospect that someone might leave always sent them into a tizzy.

2. Hit or Miss Dressing For the SAME Activity

One of the easiest ways to get everyone you work with to take you seriously is to consistently wear the same level of dress everyday. If you wear suits at work, wear suits or coatdresses. If you wear slacks and a jacket, don’t stray too far from that uniform. How you dress is a key component in being perceived as an authority figure.

Conversely, the easiest way to throw people off balance is to dress all sorts of different ways: business person one day, soccer mom the next, rock star the day after that, fashion plate the day after that, and so forth. No one knows where they stand with you. Are you their friend? Their boss? Just stopping by on your way to someplace else? What? The inconsistency is very confusing to people, particularly to any subordinates who may be trying to model themselves after you.

3. All or Nothing Dressing

Many of my clients are notorious for pouring most of their clothing budget into their work clothes. They look like a million because of it, but ONLY at work. After hours, they look like ragbags. Which is fine in the comfort of their own homes, but again, very disconcerting to anyone they known whom they run into when they’re out and about after hours.

Similarly, if a woman usually dresses sloppily 95% of the time but pulls out “all the stops” only on occasion, what sort of message does THAT send? That she wants something enough to get dressed for it? So what’s going on the rest of the time? That she doesn’t care enough to be bothered?

People notice how you’re dressed, whether you realize it or not or even whether THEY realize it. If you’ve properly engineered your wardrobe and have filled it with functional, good-looking pieces that enable you to always be occasion- appropriate yet consistent in your style – whether you’re at work, socializing, running errands, or cheering your child on the sports field – you’ll not only garner respect wherever you go, you’ll also instill a sense of confidence in others who will both know where they stand with you at all times and admire you for being so pulled together.

Conversely, if you’re hit-or-miss with your appearance or spend your entire clothing budget in only one area, you’ll throw others off kilter. They’ll wonder why you look so good at work and so bad after hours (or so bad at playgroup and so good a the school board election) and question which one is the REAL you. Why such wildly different looks? Are you only “on” when you think someone is looking?

If you’re a success at work, aren’t you also a success when you’re NOT there? After all, that’s why you work so hard, isn’t it, to achieve a certain level of lifestyle? Then show it. Don’t look like the Cat’s Meow at work and something the cat dragged in come quitting time.

Be consistent in your image. Not only will you always look pulled together, you’ll be delighted by how many doors it suddenly opens. And I’m not just talking about the kind with accommodating men involved, although that’s always nice. I’m referring to opportunities. You never know what may come up when you always look like you can handle anything. Try it and you’ll see what I mean.

Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image Consultant, and author of “Wardrobe Magic,” a fun ebook that shows women how to transform their unruly closets into workable, wearable wardrobes. Visit her online here.

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How to Shop WHEN You Hate to Shop

Do you hate to shop for clothes?

According to a recent report by WGSN (Worth Global Style Network), 28% of women HATE to shop for clothes.  To them, it’s a four-letter word
that produces stress and anxiety any time they think about hitting the mall.

Now for the 26% of women who absolutely LOVE to shop and frequently ease their woes with retail therapy, this may be inconceivable.  How can
anyone NOT enjoy the thrill of the hunt or the big bargain score?  Who doesn’t love modeling new clothes in front of the mirror or being asked
incessantly, “Great outfit!  Is it new?”

The answer?  Plenty of people.

Just look at men.

Most men HATE to shop for clothes.  They like to look good and turn heads, but for them, actually going and buying clothes ranks right up there with getting a root canal.

It’s been this way for centuries.  Ever wonder why historical collections of clothing at museums have lots of women’s clothes but very few men’s
clothes?  It’s because most men wear clothes until they fall apart and then they throw them in the trash.  Buy-it-and-wear-it-once really doesn’t fly with most guys, which is one of the many things they just don’t get about us.

Just look at the men’s formalwear industry for proof.  Why are more tuxedos rented than purchased?  Because while women tend to buy their
special occasion apparel for proms, weddings, and formal parties, most men can’t justify the expense of springing for a tuxedo the few times in their life they need one. 

For women who hate to shop, though, the problem has little to do with money.  In fact, according to WGSN, when these women actually force
themselves to go buy clothes, they rarely look for bargains.

Instead, they tend to avoid the mall because:

1. They don’t know what kinds of clothes look best on them.

2. They don’t follow fashion and don’t want to look ridiculous or dated in their purchases.

3. They’re easily flustered when they can’t find what they’re looking for quickly.

4. They feel uncomfortable trying on clothes in dressing rooms.

5. They may have put on a lot of weight and either can’t find clothes that fit or don’t want to face the fact that they need a larger size.

6. They hate crowds.

Does any of this sound familiar?

For those of you who can really relate to this list, let me tell you that I feel your pain. I’ve worked with clients and friends who know they need new clothes, but don’t want to admit to themselves — or anyone else — just what it is that’s keeping them from the stores. 

But you don’t have to suffer in silence or feel bad for being a woman who hates to shop. Remember:  about a fourth of women love it, a fourth hate it, and the rest of us fall somewhere in between.

Regardless of your feelings on the matter, here are some tips to make shopping easier, less expensive, and far less frustrating than you may
have experienced in the past:

1.  Determine Your Body Shape

Start by taking a good look at your birthday suit in the mirror the next time you change clothes or step out of the bath.  Are your hips bigger than
your chest (A-shape)?  Is your chest bigger than your hips (V-shape)?  Is your waist the same size as your chest and hips (H-shape)?  Does your body resemble an hourglass (8-shape)?  Make a note. You’ll want to look for clothes shaped the same way you are when you hit the stores.  This will
lead to fast success and minimal frustration.

2.  Determine Your Lifestyle

What kinds of clothes work best in your current situation?  Do you need business wear?  Jeans? Ball gowns?  If your lifestyle is 60% work, 20%
social, and 20% leisure, for example, or 90% work and 5% social and 5% leisure, then your wardrobe should reflect as much.  Otherwise, you may be hard pressed to find something to wear for those activities where you spend the least amount of time.

3.  Assess Your Needs and Make a List

Once you know your shape and your lifestyle, it’s time to go through your closet and see what you need.  If you’re short on tops, make a note to buy tops.  Feel fabulous in a coatdress?  Add a few more.  Love your black A-line skirt?  Buy another one in dark blue.

Remember:  if you start with a list, you can immediately hone in on those pieces in the store. When you only look for what you need, you’re a lot less likely to get distracted – or confused.

4.  Go When it’s Quiet and You Have Some Time

This may not always be possible, depending on your situation, but try to go when the stores are nearly empty and you have a little time to look, like a weekday morning.  Not only will the store clerks be more available to help, you’ll have plenty of time to go through the store inventory.

If you hate crowds or have to constantly monitor your watch as you shop, you’re more likely to give up quickly or buy unsatisfactory pieces just to get it over with.

Simple solution:  shop online.  Check out: http://www.fashionforrealwomen.com/resources.htm 

for some great online shops.

5.  Leave The Kids At Home

This may not always be possible, but if you can shop when they’re at school, leave them with a sitter, or swap sitting duties with another mom so you each have free time, do.

I learned my lesson on this one the hard way. Eight months pregnant with my third child, I was trying on maternity bras with my then-two-year-old in tow.  Ever the opportunist, Peyton waited until I was standing there in my underwear before flinging back the dressing room curtain and taking off.  If the store clerk hadn’t grabbed her, no telling how far she would
have gotten before I’d managed to pull myself together.

Today, after enduring countless groans from my girls as I attempted to look at clothes, or the “I’ve got to go to the bathroom NOW or I’m going
to have an accident!” ploy, I’ve learned to shop when the children are at school, with friends, or with my husband.

6.  Buy and Return

If you don’t have the time or inclination to try on clothes before you buy them, go to a mirror, hold the clothes up in front of you and see how they look.  If it looks like something you might like, test the size in the places it’s most likely to give you trouble, like the shoulders, bust or hips, by grabbing the edge of the garment and seeing where it hits on the side of your body.  If it goes half way, chances are, you have a close fit.  If it doesn’t or if it goes beyond the halfway point, go up or down a size, respectively.  Buy it, take it home, and try it on there.  If it fits, keep it.  If it doesn’t, take it back. 

7.  Hire Help

If you truly don’t want to attempt any of this on your own, or if you’re after a certain look but don’t have the time to track it down, hire a personal shopper.  Many better department stores and boutiques have one on staff; just ask.  Or, check online, in the newspaper, or in the phone book for freelance personal shoppers in your area.  The Association of Image Consultants International


might also be able to recommend someone locally.

While the fee for department or boutique staff shoppers is usually free (they receive a commission on the clothes you buy from their store), most freelance shoppers will charge either an hourly or flat fee for their services,
plus the cost of clothes.  If that’s what it takes to get you out the door, looking your best, with a minimum of stress, pay it.  It will pay you back many times in increased confidence, reduced stress, and a workable, wearable wardrobe.

Shopping for new clothes should be an enjoyable event you participate in at least twice a year, to refurbish your closet for the new season.  If you hate to shop or always wind up with stuff you don’t need, try these tips to get your closet in order.  Who knows?  You may actually start to enjoy yourself!


Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image Consultant, and author of “Wardrobe Magic,” a fun ebook that shows women how to transform their
unruly closets into workable, wearable wardrobes. Visit her online here .

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The Wardrobe Capsule

Wardrobe Capsule and Capsule Wardrobe both suggest a closet full of clothes that mix and match, compliment your coloring and fit your body shape and style. Never again will you need to utter the words, “I don’t have anything to wear!”

Have you ever said the above statement? This is the comment of most people who buy impulsively instead of making sure each new purchase is a color that complements them and a style that flatters their figure and goes with at least two items already in their closet.

“Wardrobe Magic” covers all areas of creating a wardrobe capsule. Subjects included are:

* “The Importance of Color”
* “Understanding Your Shape”
* “Your Clothing Personality”
* “Assessing Your Needs”
* “Clothing Capsules”
* “Shopping Savvy”
* “Business Attire 101”

Diane Pemberton shares a lot of good information including samples of wardrobe capsules to help you in creating yours.

It is important to choose the right colors for your skin coloring. Good colors make your eyes sparkle and your skin will have a healthy glow. Wrong colors dulls your skin and eyes. They also make you look heavier and older than you are.

Women come in all kinds of shapes. Some are heavier on top and some are heavier on bottom. Others are almost perfectly balanced and there are those that are short waisted or long waisted. As you can see, there are so many variables so it’s nice to have a manual of sorts which is what I would call ‘Wardrobe Magic’.

After you’ve learned what colors are best for you and the body style you have, you can learn what your clothing personality is. Some are classic, some are romantic and others are sporty. There are a few different versions of the clothing personality styles, but Pemberton covers and explains several of these.

After you put together a wardrobe capsule that is the correct colors and styles for you, there will never be a need to say “I have nothing to wear!” because everything with go with at least two items in your closet and every outfit you put together will look great on you.

If you’d like to know more about ‘Wardrobe Magic’ to learn how you can put together your own wardrobe capsule, click here.

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