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

http://www.aici.org

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!

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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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