Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Top 10 Pieces of Shopping Advice

Some of these are my own from years of working in retail and being an avid shopper. Others are “borrowed” from friends and magazines I’ve read over the years. They all apply and need to be kept in the back of your mind when shopping for just about anything!

1) Tailoring - I can’t express how important it is to find the right tailor! You may have more then one and that’s okay. I have an “everyday” tailor and one for speciality items. The right fits makes the clothes! I truly believe that. When working at Harold’s we had an in-house tailor and that’s was so important. Nordstrom has them as well. Use them! Tailoring is generally free when using an in-house service. If you don’t have a tailor, here are the names of mine. John’s Tailoring in Metcalf South Mall. They are located in the lower level near Sears and Sonia is wonderful. I also use Alternations by Heidi when hemming denim. It is important to find a tailor who can remove the original hem, shorten the leg and add the original hem back to the jeans. 

2) Bra Fitting - Oprah was the instigator of my first bra fitting and I owe her a huge thanks! I, like almost every woman in America, was wearing the wrong size bra. So, my mom and I headed to Nordstrom’s for our first bra fitting and how enlightening it truly was. I will never scrimp on my bra’s again! They are an investment and should be treated as such. It not only gives you a better bust line, it truly allows for a better fit in tops, sweaters and dresses. Haven’t had your fitting, go now!

3) Shoes- This just happens to be one of my favorite topics, if not favorite topic ever, and one I am well versed in as well! When shoe shopping, you must try all shoes on! This is very important. Shoes, like clothing, are cut differently so you may think you’re a standard size 8 but you aren’t. I wear a size 8 in most shoes, however, there are times where a 7 1/2 or 8 1/2 fit better. Don’t just think that if a shoe is tight it’s going to stretch out. That’s not always the case so now you’ve spent money on something you will NEVER wear. Trust me, I’ve done that! Walk around in the shoes. Most places are carpeted so take advantage of the space. Do they slide up and down on the heel? Squeeze your toes? Then go up or down depending on the problem area. It’s worth taking the extra time to do so. Your feet will thank you!

4) Mirrors - Use the mirrors provided to you in the store. Don’t just rely on the one mirror in your fitting room. Get out of the cramped space and utilize the three way in the middle of the fitting area. Who cares who’s around you! You need to see the outfit from ALL angles. Look to see if your bra outline is visible in a top. If it is, go up a size. Do you see camel-toe in your pants? If yes, PLEASE go up a size. Does a jacket appear boxy? Then go down a size. Same applies if the blazer feels snug across the shoulders. You definitely need to go up a size. It’s like the shoes. You will more than likely let them hang in the closet because you’re afraid it might be too snug or loose. If the next size up is too big, that’s when that perfect tailor comes into play.

5) Occasions - I just read this in Lucky and it’s so true! Always have a cocktail dress, or LBD, hanging in your closet. You never know when an invite will come in and you need a dress ASAP. Trust me, you never find what you’re looking for when shopping specifically for that item. I’ve been there! Instead, invest in a timeless frock that you can use as your “go-to” for such occasions. 

6) Love It - This is borrowed from my friend Jennifer and I use it constantly. If you don’t love the item, leave it. Chances are you it’s a spontaneous purchase and you’re likely to never wear it. However, if you leave it and are still thinking about it a day or two later, you probably loved it more than you realized at the time. If you head back and it’s not there, or in your size, it wasn’t meant to be. 

7) Handbags - Another big investment. Think about ladies, how often do you use your handbag? Did you answer everyday? If so, spend the money on a really nice handbag because again, you use it everyday! I just had this discussion with a friend and she said for every $50 she spends on an everyday handbag, she finds that she replaces it sooner rather than later. Not the case when you spend the money on a quality bag. Sure it seems pricey when you’re handing over the cash to the sales lady, but take that dollar amount and divide it by 365. I bet in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t cost that much after all. Plus, you have a great bag that you will carry for years!

8) Repairs - So you spent money on that handbag and a year later it’s scuffed and has a small tear. Well, they have repair shops for just that! Generally speaking, those repair shops also handle shoe repair. Have that one pair of shoes you just can’t part with but have a hole the size of Texas in the sole? Get those babies re-soled and it’s a brand new pair of shoes. They can also buff out the scuffs in your handbag and fix that small tear. Definitely keep them in your mental rolodex! On a side note, have a shoe shine kit on hand. Men especially, keep those shoes shined! It enhances the life of the shoe and helps keep your ensembles sharp. 

9) Take a Friend - Don’t feel comfortable in tackling this alone? Take a trusted friend, and when I say trusted, I mean someone who can be honest with you and you won’t be in tears by the end of the day. My trusted friend is my Mom. She is brutally honest which is needed while shopping. I know she won’t tell me something looks good when it doesn’t. It also has it’s rewards. Follow up the shopping trip with a celebratory glass of wine to toast the successful day!

10) Have Fun - That’s the biggest piece of advice I can give! Shopping is supposed to be fun, not a chore, and I truly thinks it’s all in the way you approach it. If you find that you are overwhelmed, shop for one thing at a time. Like they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither was my wardrobe. My closets have been cultivated over time. Take a deep breath, let it out and dive into those racks like a pro!

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