12/04/2015 03:05 EST | Updated 12/04/2016 05:12 EST

The 8 Golden Rules Of Shopping

Attention shoppers! Don't shop sales. If you buy a massively discounted item that you will not use, you did not save any money.

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Female friends buying clothes in market stall. Focus on the blonde wearing glasses.

I have a confession to make, I am a terrible spontaneous shopper. Strolling around stores for hours on end just stresses me out and leaves me feeling exhausted and underwhelmed. I have found myself in the middle of an air conditioned department store covered in sweat, deciding that there's nothing that will fit me ever (in all 6 floors and I don't even know how many hundreds of square feet).

Then somehow, a friend will ask me to help them shop for a particular item and suddenly, I'm an expert shopper who is efficient and creative and can find all the great hidden deals. So what gives?

image courtesy of Caroline Topperman


Plan ahead (have a list). Mindless shopping can occasionally be fun, but if you really need some items I definitely suggest having a list. Beautifully dressed mannequins are there for a reason and while they can absolutely give you ideas for outfits, know that they can also be overwhelming. Especially when you just have to have that green skirt, but it's not your style and doesn't go with anything in your wardrobe. Knowing what you need will also keep you from wandering aimlessly aisle after aisle, store after store.

Wear nice undergarments. When you aren't comfortable in your underwear, everything you put on will look awful. If you are pant shopping make sure you are wearing the appropriate under garments and shoes. This also goes for blouse shopping and anything else you might be looking to buy. Recently, I was buying a new winter coat and although it was fairly warm out, I still brought along a thicker sweater because trying a coat over a thin t-shirt isn't the same as putting it on over a bulky sweater.

Shop in the am. Shopping when you are tired and stressed out and generally annoyed at the world is the worst. You will be sure to make impulse purchases and in the end, you most likely won't be satisfied with anything you buy. So go shopping with a fresh and open mind, make this the focus of the moment.

Shop for classics. Sure you can purchase the latest, trendiest pieces (we all do), but when you are out shopping with the purpose of padding your wardrobe and looking for special items, it's best to look for classic colours and shapes as they will last the longest and will always be a wise choice.

Don't look at the numbers. I know, I know I feel down if I have to size up too, but it's something we all have to remind ourselves to stop doing. Sizes vary from designer to designer so extensively that you can be anywhere from a small in one store to a large in another. My shoulders are on the wider side (not a bad or a good thing, it just is what it is) and sometimes I have to size up when I'm buying a blazer and then tailor it to nip in at my waist. Since this is something I know and approach matter of factly, it doesn't bother me.

Don't shop when you are hungry. I'm not a pretty site when I don't eat. I get cranky and everything is wrong and nothing looks right and I just don't care. Find the right balance for you when it comes to your preferred shopping time. I like to shop a few hours after I've eaten. So I'm not hungry, but I'm also not full and feeling sluggish.

Don't convince yourself. If it doesn't feel right then it probably isn't. Don't stand in front of the mirror convincing yourself because if you have to do that then I'm going to bet that you'll hate that item when you get home.

Don't shop sales. I'm not saying that you shouldn't buy an item on sale or to even go to a blowout sale, but I am saying that it shouldn't be your primary mind set. Buying something on sale that doesn't fit you or your lifestyle is just a colossal waste of money for the sake of spending it. By all means; look at sale items, just consider fit, style and quality first. Remember that if you buy a massively discounted item that you will not use, you did not save any money.

image courtesy of Caroline Topperman

Most importantly, think before you act. I was bra shopping once and I wandered into a high end lingerie store. Of course, I found the absolute perfect, I-can't-live-without-it strapless bra. I swear it was made with me in mind. Luckily, I thought to ask about the price before whipping out my credit card. Boy am I glad I did because at $300, it was way beyond my budget. I mumbled some lame excuse and ran out of the store. The key to all of this is to remember that this is one of those rare events that's really and truly all about you. You are in control of how you feel.