By Ruby Latif
Fall is just around the corner and the crisp-cool weather we have been having lately has caught me off guard. Last week, I found myself scrambling to find warmer clothes so on the weekend I decided to spend some time alternating my spring/summer wardrobe to my fall/winter clothes. When I undertake the task of flipping my closet, I normally take an inventory of the clothing items I have, the items that I need to replace, and the clothing items that I want to add to my wardrobe for the upcoming season.
I like shopping… I can come up with any reason or rationale to get to the mall; however I have found that my most lucrative shopping trips are the ones I plan for. Most people don’t really plan their shopping trips, which is actually a mistake. Shopping can be frustrating, when you are unsure what you want to purchase. It can also wreak havoc on your wallet, and leave you dazed and confused.
Below are 5 tips for the man or woman who finds shopping a little overwhelming:
- Determine what your budget is: Budgets are important not just for shopping but for your everyday life. Your personal clothing budget is dependent on your income, debts and other expenses. My personal budget allots for 3.8- 4.2% of my take-home salary. Debt is not sexy, although we are all guilty of buying items on credit. When you put a budget together and save money for your shopping trips you are more likely to not buy on impulse. To stretch my budget as far as I can, I always shop on sales and comparison shop. I always look for special days or events that the store will have. For example, “Bay Days” is one of the biggest sales for the department store. During the sale, items can be found for up to 40% off throughout the store. When the sale occurs I stock up onLevis and socks and undergarments.
2. Determine what you need: Taking an inventory of your closet will allow you to figure out what you need to purchase. Try on items that you have not worn in a while. Are they worth keeping or dated and should you donate them to charity? Also think about the days you are rushed in the morning- what item you are always wishing that you had on hand? Make a list of what you need and prioritize so it fits into your budget.
3. Focus on you: Many people enjoy shopping with friends; however I am a strong advocate of shopping alone. Many of my friends and family will ask me to come with them to pick out clothes or special occasion outfits- when I am shopping with someone else I ensure that the attention is on them and we are focused on the goal. I also like shopping when stores are less crowded, this way you will get more attention from sales associates. I also like shopping at Department stores. My favourite happens to be the Bay. They do not make commission, so when I ask for assistance they do not pressure me into the purchase. Department stores also offer loads of inventory and selection. I also like the fact that I can get all my items under one roof. I am partial to department stores as I spent my high school and undergrad career working in one. Often major chains will require their sales associates to gain knowledge on their products. Employees’ learn about garment care, proper fitting, trends and colour blocking, etc. Certain sales associates can help you find the right fit of a suit, or a bra or tell you what jeans best fit your body type.
4. Try on clothes: When you finally make it to the store remember to try on clothes before you buy them. Although you might think you are a certain size, many clothing companies fit differently. Jean’s that say they fit a 32” waist can translate into different sizes depending on where the garment sits on a person’s body. Also always try to try items on in a three-way mirror so you can see what the outfit looks like in all angles.
Look for clothes that fit well. Proper fitting garments make you feel good and confident. If your pant length or jacket sleeves are too long then asks the store if they have a tailor on site and have the garment altered.
5. Invest: I highly recommend that you buy complete outfits rather than pieces, this way you won’t be stuck figuring out what you want to wear with it. Many women designers will come out with a line that’s includes, pants, dress, cardigan, blazer, blouse etc. When you purchase a few of the pieces, they are interchangeable and allow you to take an outfit from work to evening wear. The same can be found with men’s designers. Department stores will display outfits together to make it simple for the purchaser. When you are buying trend items remember that not all trends will suit your body type. Not every guy looks good in a skinny tie or fitted jeans. When following a trend one piece is plenty, there is no need to buy a new wardrobe every season. Also choose a trendy shape or a trendy pattern don’t do both!
Also, look for quality garments, for example a good hem will be double stitched and invisible from the outside. Zippers should be hidden or dyed to match the garment. Patterns should match up on all the seams. Linings should be made of smooth fabrics like rayon as stiff fabric could ruin the way the fabric drapes. When finalizing your purchase ensure you check the labels for product care. It is important to follow clothing maintenance guidelines to keep the longevity of the item. Remember that dry clean only fabrics are more costly to maintain then machine or hand wash items.