I'm always amazed when people tell me that they don't like to shop. To me, that's almost equivalent to not liking to eat. And who doesn't like to eat? But then I remember that we're all wired differently and, yes, there are some people that don't enjoy schlepping from store to store looking for the perfect white shirt.
If you happen to be one of these rare birds, here are five tips to hopefully make your (oh dread) shopping experience a teeny bit more enjoyable.
1. Have a Plan
When shopping, it's always good to have a plan -- especially if you're looking for something specific. I'm going to assume that if someone doesn't like to shop, the only reason they're actually going shopping is because they need to.
So whether you need a new pair of jeans or an outfit for a particular occasion, have an idea of what you want and where you might find it. That said, remember to keep an open mind because you might not always find what you're looking for. If you're not sure where to shop for your particular needs, ask around or trawl the Internet for possible options in your city.
Once you have a plan, or even to help you plan ahead, pre-shop possible stores or boutiques to help you see what's available, narrow down your choices or maybe even give you other ideas.
Many stores have online shops through which you can browse from the comfort of your own home. If you find something you like, call ahead to see if it's in stock in your size and possibly the sizes above and below yours. If it is, have them place the items on hold so that they're available when you arrive.
Also, if you're looking for something particular and have an idea of which stores you'd like to visit, it doesn't hurt to call ahead and speak to a sales associate to see if they have what you're looking for. If they don't, you've just saved yourself a trip.
3. Be Prepared
When shopping, make sure to either wear or bring the right undergarments, shoes or any other pieces that are meant to go with what you're shopping for. If you're looking to buy a strapless dress, bring the right bra. If you're looking for pants to wear with a certain heel, bring the heels along. If you're looking for a top to go with a specific skirt, definitely bring the skirt.
Having all the pieces with you gives you the opportunity to see if you're making the right choice as opposed to wondering or buying it and then having to return it.
4. Ask a Friend
Some people don't like to shop because they find it tedious and boring. Bringing a friend along can turn a monotonous day of shopping into a day spent laughing and enjoying each other's company.
Remember to bring along a friend that'll be honest with you about your choices and how you look. Also make sure that they can handle the shopping -- you don't need someone whining that they're tired or that they're feet hurt. Not helpful.
5. Bring Provisions
If you don't like to shop on a good day, you sure as hell won't like shopping when you're dehydrated or hungry. Bring along or pick up a bottle of water and some snacks to keep in your handbag. Staying hydrated and satiated can mean the difference between going home early empty handed or staying the course and getting what you need.
I once shopped with a client for four hours straight without stopping because she was both on a mission and on a roll. If it wasn't for the water and snacks I brought, I don't think we would have made it that long and she definitely wouldn't have gone home with so many great pieces.
Now if none of these tips resonate with you and you think that no matter what, you'll never enjoy shopping, perhaps you could do all your shopping online or just hire someone to do it for you. I happen to know of a really great stylist who would love to help you out.
Know your measurements before you shop. Not only will it cut down the time you spend trying on clothes, it will help you choose outfits that fit your body perfectly. Among the most important body parts to measure are your bust, chest, hips and waist. Source: <a href="http://www.ivillage.com/how-do-i-take-my-measurements/4-n-142316">iVillage.com</a>
Dressing for your size doesn't just mean nixing clothes that are too tight from your wardrobe. It also means you shouldn't wear clothes that are too baggy. Both will make you look frumpy.
There are some occasions we'd sacrifice comfort for fashion. After all, four inch heels guarantee that legs-for-miles look. But if it looks better than it actually feels on your foot, you probably won't wear it. Don't waste your money (or endure the pain). <strong>Source:</strong> <a href="http://www.thefashionspot.com/style-trends/news/176753-9-all-important-shoe-shopping-rules-every-gal-should-know">The Fashion Spot</a>
Button down blouses are intended to do one thing and one thing alone — stay buttoned down. It looks sloppy if we can see what lies beneath your shirt.
Shop solo. You'll be able to concentrate more on hunting down exactly what you're looking for. You'll save a lot of time while you're at it too. <strong>Source:</strong> <a href="http://www.instyle.com/instyle/package/general/photos/0,,20398276_20397048_20804866,00.html#20803184">In Style</a>
A lint roller is a must-have (cat lovers, you know what we're talking about). Give your outfit a few quick swipes before heading out the door (don't forget your back and behind your legs) to catch any unwanted hair and dust on your clothing.
Worried about your waist or hips? Try peplum for an instant slimming effect. It flatters every figure and does wonders at hiding unsightly bulge.
Shoe sizes vary among designers and brands. Start by trying on your usual shoe size, then try on one pair that's a half-size smaller and a second pair that's a half-size larger. When in doubt, buy the shoes that are a half-size larger. Source:<a href="http://www.thefashionspot.com/style-trends/news/176753-9-all-important-shoe-shopping-rules-every-gal-should-know">The Fashion Spot</a>
Know which colours will flatter you the most by figuring out if the undertones in your skin are either warm or cold. The experts at <a href="http://www.thefashionspot.com/beauty/news/177555-color-theory-learn-which-colors-look-best-your-skin-tone">The Fashion Spot</a> say women with cool undertones look best in white, black, gray, silver, and shades of blue. Women with warm undertones will be dazzling in shades of yellow, gold, brown, green and red. Source: <a href="http://www.thefashionspot.com/beauty/news/177555-color-theory-learn-which-colors-look-best-your-skin-tone">The Fashion Spot</a>
Organize your closet. This way you'll be able to see what you own (and actually wear it). Separate your clothes by garment. Figure out what can be folded neatly and what needs to be hanged. Make sure you get the right hangers for shirts, skirts and pants. Use storage shelves to store your purses and intimates and buy a shoe rack. For more detailed instructions on how to tackle this task, check out what our friends at <a href="http://www.luckymag.com/style/howto/2011/04/organizing-your-closet#slide=1">Lucky Magazine</a> have to say. Source: <a href="http://www.luckymag.com/style/howto/2011/04/organizing-your-closet#slide=1">Lucky Magazine</a>
Keep plunging necklines in place and prevent any fashion mishaps with this godsend. We double-swear by double-sided tape.
A quality iron is an absolute must to ensure you don't damage your clothes. Get one with a range of settings that can conquer even the toughest wrinkles, but gentle enough to iron over delicate fabrics. Because there are so many irons out there, the folks at <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/the-best-irons-00000000053326/index.html">Real Simple</a> have made it easier for you to decide on one that will meet your needs. <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/the-best-irons-00000000053326/index.html">Check out their list of the top 40 irons they tried.</a>
Rain or shine, we are always trendy. Get yourself a colourful, knock-out umbrella that makes you stick out.
Come on, let's be serious, the gym can be an intimidating place with so many buff, sweaty bods. We'd be lying if we didn't say we never wore mascara before lacing up. But hitting the gym shouldn't make you fret. It should make you feel good. Getting some trendy workout clothes that fit your body will make you feel more confident and encourage you to break a sweat.
Store all your jewelry in a jewelry box. You're less likely to lose them when they have a home. Not only will they be easier to find in one handy location, you'll remember what you already own so you don't buy pieces you don't need. Your jewelry will also last much longer when it's protected.
It's important when you're investing in articles of clothing that become staples, like blazers and pants, that you have them tailored. It will ensure your money is well-spent, will make the piece that much more special and will make you feel great every time you wear it. After all, it only fits you.
Wine bottles have another use — place them inside your boots to make them stand upright. Source: <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/new-uses-for-old-things/new-uses-fall/wine-bottle-as-boot-supporter-00000000043720/index.html">Real Simple</a>
Making note of what works for you and what doesn't is key and neckline plays a huge roll in this. The neckline is the part that shows off your pretty face, so be sure to get it right.
Shoe shopping? Make sure you know your arch type. In an interview with the folks at <a href="http://www.thefashionspot.com/style-trends/news/176753-9-all-important-shoe-shopping-rules-every-gal-should-know">The Fashion Spot</a>, Erica Lynn Stanley, design director of <a href="http://www.metooshoes.com/">...me Too shoes</a>, said the best way to determine your arch is to step on a piece of paper after wetting the bottom of your foot. You can determine whether you have a normal, flat or high arch by examining your wet footprint. If the middle part of your footprint doesn't show up, you have a high arch, but if you can see most of your footprint then you have a fairly flat arch. Your arch is normal if you see half of your wet footprint. <strong>Source:</strong> <a href="http://www.thefashionspot.com/style-trends/news/176753-9-all-important-shoe-shopping-rules-every-gal-should-know">The Fashion Spot</a>
Stop hoarding. If you haven't worn it recently, then you probably never will. To help decide if you should toss it or not, the experts at <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/post_40-168014">Apartment Therapy</a> suggest you answer the following questions: 1) Do you like cut, fabric and colour? 2) Are you comfortable wearing it? 3) Does it fit you now (no, not if you lose 3 inches off your waist in the next month)? 4) Can any damages like stains or holes be fixed? 5) Do you have more than one place to wear it? 6) Can it be combined with other articles of clothing in your closet? 7) When was the last time you wore it (if it's been over a year, nix it)? Source: <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/post_40-168014">Apartment Therapy</a>
Packing lightly is an art. Unless you're walking a runway in Milan, you won't need more than just a few key ensembles. The folks over at <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/travel-lightly-our-5-best-pack-152349">Apartment Therapy</a> stick to this rule-of-thumb: If you're going away for one week, pack three bottoms and 3 shirts per bottom. For two weeks pack five bottoms. For every dress you pack, you can lose a shirt and a bottom.
Change purses can be useful, but if yours rarely sees daylight, either because you don't put change in it, or worse, never take change out of it (this is just dead weight), then it's time to say goodbye.
Thank goodness body shaping has evolved from Victorian waspies to <a href="http://www.spanx.com/home/index.jsp">Spanx</a> (after all, we want you to be able to breathe). Body shapers are ideal for hiding excess bulge (who likes the sight of love handles or muffin tops?) and allows clothes to glide on smoothly.
We love accessories, but we have to draw the line somewhere. If you're throwing yourself an arm party, then it might be better to steer clear of too many rings. If you're wearing large earrings that scream for attention, then you might want to forgo an equally radiant necklace — they will only work against each other.
A purse isn't just a fashion statement. It's main purpose is functional. You carry it around wherever you go so it needs to contain some essentials: your wallet, a pen, pain killers, hand sanitizer, tissues, make-up essentials (we personally won't leave the house without lip stick and/or lip balm), hand cream, gum or breath mints, tampons or maxi pads (no one wants to be caught off guard during that time of the month), and for those of you who spend lengthy bouts talking, texting or gaming, bring your phone charger along.
There's nothing worse than showing up an event underdressed. Maybe the invite didn't specify or involved the word casual — but everyone else dressed up not so casually. If you don't know what the dress code is, overdress. There's no harm in looking too pulled together, but you'll feel uncomfortable if you think you look out of place.
Wearing nice underwear every day will make you feel special. Sure, not everyone gets to be so lucky and see how nice your underwear is, but you'll know. Also, be sure to get your bras fitted — often. It will make your clothes hang better and be infinitely more comfortable.
Have a mini sewing kit at home or in your purse. This way you can salvage your favourite blouse or pair of pants by patching up minor tears with some simple needle and thread action.
Sometimes pantyhose creates an unsightly bulge around our mid-section (ladies, you know what we're talking about). To eliminate this altogether, why not substitute pantyhose with stay-up thigh-highs? They'll do exactly what pantyhose does, minus the bulge.
Pantyhose is notorious for ripping. We've been victim to this fashion mishap one too many times. Until someone invents pantyhose that won't tear at the slightest tug, we've got a temporary fix. Just dab clear nail polish on both ends of the rip and it should keep it from getting larger.
Just because you have to dress office casual doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style. Find well-tailored pieces and incorporate accessories and colour to create a more exciting look.
To extend the longevity of your bras and ensure a perfect fit each time, you'll need to take care of them properly. The experts at <a href="http://www.lavieenrose.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/FittingRoomLingerieCare_10052_10001_-1">La Vie En Rose</a> recommend you wash your bras by hand to ensure they lasts as long as possible. If you opt for machine washing, unhook your bra to prevent it from twisting and turning. You may also want to use a wash bag which will separate and protect your bras from the rest of your clothes. Make sure you select a delicate or permanent press cycle, and whatever you do, do not use detergent. It's way too harsh and will damage the cup, lace and elasticity of your bra. You might want to try using <a href="http://www.lavieenrose.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductURL2_10052_10001_-1_359705_FabricWashSmall_ProductDisplayErrorView">Forever New Fabric Wash</a>. Air dry your bras by hanging them. Source: <a href="http://www.lavieenrose.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/FittingRoomLingerieCare_10052_10001_-1">La Vie En Rose</a>
Your confidence is affected by what you're wearing, as sad of a thought as that might be. So if you're feeling self-conscious about your outfit, you're likely to be tugging at it or double-checking that everything is in place all day and night.
It may spend most of its time in your purse but your wallet is just as important as your purse. Need we remind you of #ThatAwkwardMoment when you've pulled out a lifeless, ragged wallet from your designer purse? There's nothing more embarrassing. Invest in a quality wallet, one that reflects your signature style.
The belt is meant to give you a waist or hold your pants up. There are times however, the belt should be left at home. If an outfit is already fitted, there is no need for a belt. If you are wearing pants but feeling like belting the shirt, it looks a little odd. Use belts sparingly rather than often.
You've spent all day looking lovely, so why not go to bed looking pretty too? Falling asleep is all about comfort so rest assured, pretty pajamas don't mean uncomfortable ones. Lose the oversized shirt or baggy sweats for lightweight pajama bottoms and top. Who knows? You might sleep easier.
Indecent exposure isn't classy. Celebrity stylist Jen Rade, who has dressed many beauties including Angelina Jolie, told <a href="http://www.instyle.com/instyle/package/general/photos/0,,20398276_20522658_21045236,00.html">In Style</a> that only one body part should be exposed at a time. If you're baring your decolletage, don't also show off your legs. Remember ladies, a little bit of mystery is alluring. Some things are better left to the imagination. Source: <a href="http://www.instyle.com/instyle/package/general/photos/0,,20398276_20522658_21045236,00.html">In Style</a>
If you're out of shoe polish, the staff at <a href="http://www.womansday.com/home/pack-boxes-with-old-plastic-bags#slide-16">Woman's Day</a> suggest rubbing a bit of lotion on your shoes. It works well on the tips of pointed shoes and increases the longevity of leather by keeping it supple. Source: <a href="http://www.womansday.com/home/pack-boxes-with-old-plastic-bags#slide-16">Woman's Day</a>
Sometimes the thought of throwing on an arm party first thing in the morning can be intimidating, which is why watches are awesome. They are classic and can represent your personality. And if you invest in a good one, it could last you a lifetime.
If you love shopping, then make lists your best friend. They will make your life easier. Not only will they keep your focus on the items you actually need, they'll cut down the amount of time you spend shopping and prevent you from making impulse purchases (we hope).
Have ready-to-wear ensembles hanging in your closet (yes, even the shoes and if you're really keen, the accessories too). They will come in handy when you either have absolutely nothing to wear or when you're in a rush to pull an outfit together. It's better to have a few for different occasions -- one corporate, one casual and one glamourous look. You can thank us for this tip later.
The style experts at <a href="http://www.refinery29.com/denim-on-denim/slideshow#slide-1">Refinery 29</a> say that doubling up on denim can work if you wear dark slim-fitting pants and a lighter slim-fitting top. You might want to break up the jean look by adding a cute belt. Source: <a href="http://www.refinery29.com/denim-on-denim/slideshow#slide-1">Refinery 29</a>
Known your essentials and stock up. These include white and black blouses, a little black dress, high heels, red lipstick, diamond studs, blue jeans and anything else that has a central role in your style. Remember, these looks are timeless so investing in certain items that are more expensive but higher in quality may be wiser because they will last longer.
Make sure you always try clothes on when you shop. Yes, we get lazy doing this over and over again but it's a necessary evil. Sizes change depending on fabric, designer and store. You might also want to bring along your own accessories and shoes (or use some at the store) to get a better sense of how the complete outfit will look. You'll also save yourself the hassle of returning or exchanging an outfit that doesn't look right if you try it on before buying it.
We've all been there, standing in the dressing room and convincing ourselves that the button will magically stay closed when we get home (and then, of course, it doesn't). These are the times where we have to accept that our bodies have changed in one way or another, and buy clothes that fit. Because you know what happens to the clothes that don't fit (cue garbage bags being dropped off at Goodwill here).
Green is this year's hottest hue according to <a href="http://www.pantone.com/pages/index.aspx?pg=21055">Pantone</a> so go wild. If you're not a fan of it (or colour in general), try incorporating it into your outfits in small doses with a green purse or some green accessories like a scarf or bracelet.
White is a tricky colour to wear, so if you're wearing white pants, don't wear black or white underwear because it will still be visible through your pants. Instead, buy nude underwear. It's more discreet. Source: <a href="http://www.oprah.com/style/Prevent-Panty-Lines/4">Oprah Style</a>
Gently rub sandpaper on your beloved sweaters to get rid of any unsightly pills. Our friends over at <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/remove-pills-from-winter-sweat-108221">Apartment Therapy</a> have tried it and they swear it works. Source: <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/remove-pills-from-winter-sweat-108221">Apartment Therapy</a>
Real leather is expensive, so it makes sense to take care of it. But often this is one thing we overlook. Soon our favourite boots are destroyed and have salt stains from the dreaded winter. It only takes a few extra minutes to get our prized leather goods ready for bad weather so it's something to start doing...now.
Janice Dickinson doesn't look 57, but she is. We're not going to lie, she looks great, but let's face it, it's a tad tacky when 50-somethings try sporting an outfit you'd normally find on 20-somethings — and vice versa. However, tinsel town allows celebrities more leeway than the real world does for us ordinary folk. As a rule of thumb, stick to age appropriate attire.
Follow Barbara Aleks Hecht on Twitter: www.twitter.com/HotChicksStyle