Shop with intention

One of my favourite shows is “Say Yes to the Dress,” a guilty pleasure, I know. I love when women find their fashion sense and happily say yes to a dress that truly makes them feel beautiful.

ImageThis led me to wonder why ALL of our outfits don’t give us the same feeling. Now, we obviously can’t wear flouncy white ballgowns every day, but surely our clothes should make us feel special, pretty, confident…every day.

As I pondered this, I considered the process a bride goes through to choosing her dress. Perhaps we should give the same time and attention to every item in our wardrobes that brides give to selecting their wedding dresses. Here’s what brides do that most women don’t when shopping for everyday clothes:

  • Try on several styles to see which one flatters our shapes
  • Try on a style we wouldn’t normally choose
  • Try on dresses without worrying about the size; instead, focusing on the fit
  • Take a professional saleperson’s advice, and let the salesperson select options for us
  • When trying on the dress, wear the undergarments and shoes we will wear on event day
  • Accessorize to complete the look to see if it’s the right dress
  • Get opinions from our friends
  • Get the dress altered to fit

Perhaps if we did these things when shopping we would have bride-like experiences every day.

Just a thought.


Go shopping on purpose!

If this blog is called “Style on Purpose,” then it just makes good sense to post tips on how to shop on purpose.

How many women wander the mall or shops…aimlessly… hoping in vain that something amazing (that matches other pieces in their wardrobes) is magically going to pop out at them?  It’s sad, really.

Face it, we’ve all done it. For many women, they don’t know any other way to shop.

I want to introduce you to shopping on purpose.

There are some real tips to help you shop with confidence so that you don’t arrive home with a new purple sweater to suddenly realize you don’t own anything to go with it!

Here we go:

  • DON’T spend a lot of money on trends and fads. DO spend money on quality classic pieces that will wear well from season to season.
  • Invest in trousers and skirts in basic neutrals (black, navy, brown), suit jackets with medium lapels and modest trims (nothing that will date the jacket), a wrap dress, a good trench coat, a good winter coat, and a crisp white blouse.


Armani pencil skirt in black is a classic!

  • Know what’s currently in your closet. Take an inventory and note any gaps. Find ‘matches’ to the blouses or pants you have bought on previous shopping trips that didn’t go with anything you own.
  • Know your fit, not your size. For example, if you have a dress that fits you beautifully, try it on before you go shopping. Note the tailoring details that work well on your body. THEN go a find something with similar lines. Don’t pay attention to sizing tags – they vary dramatically from label to label. If you’re bothered by purchasing a “bigger” size, cut the tag off when you get home!


Not this! Too tight is just as bad as baggy.

  • Think in terms of complete outfits. We most often go astray when we shop for just a top or just pants – unless of course you’re trying to fill a known gap in your wardrobe. If you love a new blouse, what will you wear with it? If there isn’t a mate in your existing closet, you’ll need to pick something up, or leave the blouse behind.
  • Similarly, what pieces can you buy to extend your current wardrobe? If you have several pairs of black pants, for example, do you need blouses, sweaters or jackets to increase the wear of your pants?
  • Invest in proper foundation garments… aka bras and undies. A good, supportive bra can be slimming and very comfortable. Find undies that won’t give you VPL (visible panty line) – nothing is more aging!
  • Imagine the finished look – what’s missing? Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, shoes, scarves, handbags… these complete your look. Again, if you’ve just bought a great brown suit but you only own black shoes, now you’ve got a problem!

And, although it’s counterintuitive, less is more. If your closet is too packed with clothes you never wear, you will struggle to pull outfits together. Surprisingly, fewer carefully selected clothes can actually create more complete looks than a stuffed closet of random pieces ever will. See my previous post on clearing out your closet.