My top 5 tips to get the most out of your shopping experience

Well, the post Christmas sales are upon us again. A great opportunity to pick up some bargains but also a time when many of us get overwhelmed by the offers and end up making impulse buys that soon become wardrobe orphans.

If you’re going to shop, here’s my advice for making the most of your time and your budget. A bit of planning upfront can make the difference between a rewarding and fun day shopping or a wallet-draining, headache-making, confidence-sapping disaster:

  1. Take a look at your current wardrobe before you hit the shops and then make a list of things you really need or gaps that need filling. The big sales are a great opportunity to get your hands on some of those more expensive wardrobe items that you’d otherwise forgo but will get lots and lots of wear out of when you choose wisely…eg a really good suit, great bag or shoes.
  2. Having said this, its also important that your sales experience is within your means… that 75% off bargain is not such a great thing if you can’t afford to pay your bills the next week/month. Once you’ve worked out what you’ll be looking for at the sales, decide on a maximum amount you can afford to spend for the day and write it down on the list of items you’re looking for. This will help you keep a level head if a heart-stopping bargain tempts you to go into the red.
  3. Speaking of red (the colour that is, not the financial), know what colours suit you and then only look at items that are within your colour range. Having your ‘colours done’ by a professional can really make a difference to the way you shop…you’ll be amazed at how much time you save when you can walk past anything not in your colour profile. Not only that, but when you plan your wardrobe around a few core colours and then add accent colours by season or occasion then its much easier to choose your outfit each day and it’s a cinch to pack for a trip because everything goes with everything else! Remember to take your colour profile swatch with you when you go shopping…don’t leave it to guesswork or memory.
  4. Know what styles of collar, leg width, sleeve and hem length suit you best and then look only at those items. If the price is too good to pass up but the style is not going to make you look your best then ‘step away from the rack’ and continue your search. A good way test whether this is a ‘must have’ or just a desperate attempt to come home with a bargain at any cost. Ask yourself “Would I still consider it if I was paying full price for it?” If the answer is no, you know what to do. (TIP: a body shape analysis with an image consultant can save you from costly financial and style mistakes.)
  5. Wear comfortable shoes, smart underwear and clothes that are easy on and easy off. How can you find the perfect sale bargain if its too much effort to try things on because you’ve got tricky buttons and zips, lace up shoes, embarrassing underwear?  If you’re looking to buy an item that requires special underwear or shoes then take those with you and put them on in the change-room. Also, if you ordinarily wear makeup then a shopping trip is not the time to go without. We all know that change-room mirrors and lighting can be soul destroying but your reflection will thank you if you’ve made a little effort with your makeup and hair. Not only that, but you’ll get a better feel for whether an item of clothing suits you when you look as you would if you were wearing it out.

That’s it, enjoy your shopping and may the sales gods be with you!

PS: Remember that to help you keep focused and level headed its important to stay hydrated and keep your energy up… a bottle of water and an energy bar or a small stash of dried fruit & nuts in your handbag is great for this.