In my last post I said I was too busy to write anything thoughtful or useful. I was wrong. Silly me!
After I clicked "Publish" it occurred to me that I had a great dinner tonight with my good friend Jen. She's currently working with me at AMT and I'm loving having one of my close girlfriends around right now. You may remember the importance of girlfriends from this post.
Anyway, at dinner, Jen mentioned how she struggles with shopping because it gets overwhelming. She used this example:
You go to Target (or where ever) and start looking at belts.
You like belt #1 but it costs $35.
You don't really like belt #2 but it costs $10.
And then you start thinking, "Well should I get black or brown? Which one will I use more? Do I need both? Can I afford both?
In the end, you leave the store empty handed. It's happened to all of us at least once. Maybe not over a belt- maybe over a pair of every day shoes, or a pair of special occassion shoes. Maybe because of a pair of jeans. Maybe it's over a bottle of nail polish- the bottom line is that sometimes shopping can be overwhelming.
In my line of work, I rarely feel overwhelmed by a store, simply because I'm almost always on a mission in one. I shop for a living, literally, so I'm able to become very familiar with what's out there. When I'm shopping for work, it's almost like I'm doing reconnaissance for my personal shopping. When I need that bargain trendy top, I know what store had it on sale two days ago. When I need a staple item like a white button front or a pair of jeans, I'm already in tune with what's in stock and when the sales will be.
The average person working any other type of job might not be so lucky. And so for all of you not in the business of shopping on nearly a daily basis, I offer you these pieces of advice:
1.) Ask your friends where they shop. When you see something you like on a friend or coworker, ask them where they got it. If you have one particularly smartly dressed acquaintance, go shopping with them- you might pick up a few tips! Asking around helps you narrow your shopping search to a smaller handful of stores where you know you're going to like what they have.
2.) Do some research online before you head out. Google what you're looking for and you'll no doubt see local department stores in the results. If you're really busy, call ahead and ask if the item(s) you're looking for can be set aside for you. The style numbers are often listed on the online stores so be prepared with them as well as the item name and description when you call. When you get to the store, the searching has been done for you, so you get to head straight to the dressing room to see if the item is as fabulous on you as it looked online.
3.) Be methodical when you shop- know what you need and what you're willing to spend to get it, then stick to your plan. Choose stores that align with your needs. Don't go to Neiman Marcus expecting to walk out with a blouse for $25. If your budget is modest, shop at a store with modest prices. If the sky's the limit, then shop at Barney's. And get me a little present while you're there!
4.) If you don't find what you're looking for, don't give up. Think about what was missing when you searched. Did you find jeans that were the cut you like but the wash wasn't quite right? It could be that you're looking for dark wash when light wash is the current trend. Wait a bit or go to a store that's a little less trendy. Or...
5.) Ask a salesperson for help. That's what they're there for! They know the inventory of the store, so they can tell you right away if they're carrying what you're looking for.
Always remember that shopping should be fun because the goal of any purchase is to improve your wardrobe and overall appearance. If you don't enjoy that, then why bother?
Good luck and happy hunting!