Top Five Shopping “Get’s” – by Nancy M. Nelson
When I sat down to pen this first ‘Get Real’ entry, I had intended to discuss the pro’s and con’s of this season’s continued obsession with printed pants. But, as I began compiling my list, I realized jumping in feet first may not have been the best place to begin. It seemed far more natural to start with the basics. There are some of you out there who love fashion but are terrified of the shopping experience itself. Maybe it overwhelms you. Maybe it frustrates you. Maybe you have an irrational dislike of perky shop girls which sends you running for the door. Regardless of your situation, I hope the suggestions below can help you get out of that rut and into a fabulous outfit.
5. Get Informed Nothing ruins a good shopping trip like not being able to find what you’re looking for. We’ve all been there at one time or another. And for those of us who require special sizes, this probably happens more often than we’d care to admit. Thankfully, we live in a digital age with more information at our fingertips than we could hope to process in a hundred lifetimes. Want to know where to find a black, cropped leather jacket but don’t know where to look? Try websites like ShopStyle.com. You can search for just about anything online. Most sites like ShopStyle.com have a number of filter choices – like size, color, price, etc. – to help narrow the field. Then once you’ve found that leather jacket, give your local store a ring and find out whether they have it in your size. Most shops will put an item on hold for 24 hours, preventing someone else from snatching it up while you’re in the car.
4. Get Undressed Never assume that because the number on the garment tag is ‘your size’ it’s going to fit. Manufacturer sizing varies so try everything on. That dress may be a size 10 but fit like a size 8 or even a size 12. In the event you aren’t able to hit the fitting room make certain you have a clear understanding of the store’s return policy before leaving the cash wrap. On a related note, don’t be afraid of going up a size if that dress is a little too snug in the hips. You’ll look and feel better when your clothes fit properly. Get over the obsession with the size on the label and take a good look at yourself in the mirror. You’re gorgeous!
3. Get Outside Your Comfort Zone Try on items which may not be all that eye-catching while on the hanger. You’d be surprised how many times this writer has pushed sisters or girlfriends into trying on outfits which were less than stellar on the rack but ended up looking fantastic on the body. If you’re worried or saying to yourself “I can’t wear that” or “that wouldn’t look good on me”, grab it and go for it. You won’t know how it looks until you actually try it on. When you do, one of two things is going to happen: 1) you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how you look or 2) have confirmation that your instincts were correct. If the latter happens, shrug it off and move on to the next outfit. No harm, no foul. No one saw you in it but you.
2. Get Good Feedback When it comes to shopping with friends, make certain your fitting room feedback comes from someone you trust to tell you the truth. There’s nothing worse than that one friend who always tells you that you look great – even when the stripes in those trousers you’re currently modeling make your backside look like a topographical map. Still, you don’t want someone who’s going to shred your self esteem to ribbons with a brutal overabundance of honesty either. Find that friend who will utilize the ‘but’ – “It looks okay on you but I think we can do better” or “I know you like the color but I think blue is better on you.” You get to keep your dignity while getting an outside opinion. It’s a win-win for everyone.
1. Get In Control Retail therapy is definitely real. Unfortunately, so is buyer’s remorse. Don’t fall victim to spending more money than you can afford. If not being able to find what you’re looking for ruins a shopping trip, spending too much money when you do find that jacket sucks the joy out of actually wearing it. Know your financial limits and stick to them. Use cash and leave your credit cards at home. We’re experiencing the toughest economic climate the world has seen in decades. There’s no shame in being more responsible in our spending. If department store prices mean the difference between a great outfit or a tank of gas, choose wisely. Besides, for the truly discerning shopper, there are alternatives. Consignment shops and thrift stores are on the rise. You’d be amazed at how many great finds I’ve made at just such places – even the Banana Republic blouse I’m wearing right now. Best $3.98 I’ve spent all season. Smarter shopping will stretch your cash, allowing you to get both the much needed fuel and the much desired outfit.
Now, get out there and get shopping! And if you were disappointed that I didn’t discuss those printed pants, don’t despair. That topic and many others are still to come.