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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.

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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!

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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.

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Does your closet runneth over?

How many times have you looked in your closet, heaved a heavy sigh, frustrated that you “have nothing to wear?”

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Fact is, you literally can’t see the outfits for the tees. An overstuffed closet is worse than actually having nothing to wear, because you’ve clearly invested a small fortune into its bulging racks.

The kindest cut

The best thing you can do is cull your wardrobe. Pull out everything and lay it on the bed. One by one, TRY ON each piece. Do you love it? Is it in good repair? Is it the right colour for you? Is the style still current? Does it fit you today (not some day when you’ve lost 10 lbs)? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no,’ then set the item aside to donate or discard.

(A word about donations: just because people in need may receive your items for free doesn’t mean they have to accept crap. Please do NOT use your local charity as a garbage bin. If the items are ripped, worn out or stained, throw them out!)

You’ll feel better once your wardrobe is reduced to a manageable size, containing just the items you love and wear. You will be able to see components of outfits at a glance and will likely end up making new combinations right before your eyes.

Amazing!