Shopping can be overwhelming. We have more choices than ever when it comes to women’s fashion, and that can be both a blessing and a curse. If you’re the type of person who enjoys the act of strolling through the mall but inevitably arrives home with a serious case of buyer’s remorse, you might want to take a few simple steps before you hit the shops.
Make sure you’re fed and hydrated
Most people know that grocery shopping on an empty stomach leads to over-purchasing, but it can be equally detrimental if you’re shopping for shoes or jeans. When you’re hungry, you’re often willing to take bigger risks with your money, and that may mean splashing out on a designer handbag or loading up on cheapies from the clearance rack. Many people don’t even realize it when they’re thirsty, but dehydration causes you to feel irritable and sluggish – neither of which will aid in careful decision-making. Before you head out, credit card in hand, grab a bite to eat and a bottle of water for the road.
Do your research ahead of time
You may hit the mega-mall assuming that finding the perfect pair of black dress pants will be a snap. Three hours later as you stagger into your eleventh store, you’ll be wishing you’d done some research ahead of time. If you’re shopping for a specific item, visit the websites of likely shopping stops to be sure they’ve got options for you. If you’re shopping for several items
at once, even more, reason to research: You can find out if one store can fill multiple slots on your shopping list, and determine how much time you’ll spend browsing around.
If you wear petite, tall, plus, or other specialty sizes, online research done in advance can be a life-saver. Many vendors carry specialty sizes online, but don’t stock them in stores. Check listings for “online only” labels, and call your local shop to be absolutely sure. You’d hate to assume you can try out that darling dress in a 16P, only to discover you’ve got to order and wait instead.
Finally, peeking at store websites can clue you in to sales and coupon codes. If differing discounts are offered online versus in person, you can determine if you’d rather buy from the site or visit the store.
Dress for the task
Might seem minor, but it can have a huge impact. Your comfort is a priority, since pinching shoes and digging waistbands will wear down your patience and decision-making capacity, so pick items that you know will keep you comfy for the long haul. Also consider fitting room activities: Pulling shirts and dresses on and off will destroy most hairstyles and scrape off some makeup, so consider a ponytail and go easy on the foundation. Footwear with complex laces and buckles will aggravate you every time you have to remove them to slip on a pair of pants. Bring or wear the undergarments you plan to wear with your new purchases. Most likely you’ll do the actual shopping in flats, but if you’re searching for trousers that will be worn with heels, bring your favorite pair along, too.
It always helps to know your budget and inventory your closet, of course. Recreational shopping often leads to overspending and the buying of duplicate pieces. (You have how many black cardigans now?) But these other shopping prep practices will help ensure that you make sound, informed decisions whenever you head out to the mall.