Shopping Like You Mean It

It’s time for you to plan that military campaign. Oh yes, this time it’s war!

If you think of clothes shopping and war in the same mental sentence, then you might envisage all those mad January sales with news footage of women camped outside London department stores for days on end, just waiting for those doors to open at 9am on 2nd January and their chance to grab that Hermes scarf at 90% off.

That all seems a bit extreme to me. What I mean is just bringing a bit of strategy to the business so that the right end result is achieved. After all, even if you manage to bag a Hermes scarf at £28 (oh yes, £280 is what you will pay on the official website) if it doesn’t suit you, or go with any of the rest of your wardrobe, was it really worth it?

Hermes Scarf - £280
Hermes Scarf – £280

The end result you want, of course, is a wardrobe where

  1. You look fabulous in every item in that wardrobe
  2. Every item mixes and matches with others to make a large number of flexible outfits
  3. Every occasion from a gala event, through work, to a barbeque on the beach is covered.

It’s important to realise that the end result is not static. Seasons change, clothes wear out or become dated, our lives and the events we attend change. So yes, we will always need new clothes.

Very few of my clients absolutely love clothes shopping. Some of them hate it so much they are happy to pay me to go with them to make it all a bit more bearable and to ensure that they only come home with clothes that fulfil the criteria already mentioned. In fact, I read a blog about exactly that, this week, which inspired this piece. You can find it here.

But what can you do to ensure you get a good result? Which is where my military campaign analogy comes in.

But You don't need a uniform for shopping
But You don’t need a uniform for shopping
  • You need to know your specific outcome for the day: I need a new jacket to go with jeans/ a wedding outfit/a party dress/some new tops and a warm jumper.
  • You need to factor in existing considerations: all my jeans are black/the bride’s mother is wearing lavender/my party shoes are silver/I already have enough pink tops.
  • You need a plan: I’ll go on Thursday to Cambridge. I’ll start in John Lewis and work my way round that shopping centre, then the rest of the town if necessary or I’m going to start in that village boutique I’ve seen and then go onto that other place nearby and work my way south.
  • You need a budget – and to know if that has any flexibility if you see something perfect but which is a little bit more than you’d planned to spend.
  • You need to be prepared – by which I mean you need to have a good breakfast, be wearing comfortable shoes and clothes that are easy to take on and off (and that you feel confident in so you won’t be intimidated by shop assistants). You need to have with you your colour swatches (of course), the right underwear and some dressy shoes if you’re trying on dressy clothes.
  • You may need a friend. Some of us are lone warriors, some of us like the support of a good and brutally honest friend. Do make sure, however, that your friend has also knows her own colours and style so that you don’t run the risk of her choosing clothes for you that would look much better if she were wearing them herself.
  • You need to refuse to compromise. Never surrender! Don’t be tempted by yet another “It’ll do”. Those days are behind you now. Don’t buy it unless you love it and you’re positive it loves you right back. Always think about how you feel in something first before you even look in the mirror, and remember: an extravagance is rarely regretted; an economy most often is.

Happy Shopping!


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