Do you love shopping and eagerly anticipate every outing…? Or are you someone whoshops out of necessity? Regardless of how much you love shopping (or not!), you’ve no doubt experienced at least a few unsuccessful shopping trips. Perhaps you came home with pieces that weren’t quite right for you, or you ended up empty-handed because you felt overwhelmed by too many choices. Ultimately, these shopping mistakes at one time or another have led to a wardrobe full of clothes, and nothing to wear! It’s a cycle that if not broken, will keep you stuck.

After working with hundreds of clients over the years, I’ve noticed that people are making the same shopping mistakes over and over again. This week, I will share 5 common shopping mistakes and how to avoid them, so that each shopping trip going forward is a success.

1. Not having a plan

Not having a plan before you shop can lead to a lot of time wasting and overwhelm. Shops now have an abundance of clothing and accessories compared to the past, which bizarrely makes it more difficult for shoppers.

Before you go shopping, make sure have an idea of what you need or want and which shops you want to visit. Make a mental note of what you’re aiming to buy, or write out a physical list. It can be general (“I want some work appropriate clothes”) or ideally more specific (“I’m looking for navy tailored trousers”), but make sure you at least have an idea of what you’re looking for. You will likely know it when you see it.

2. Shopping when you are not in the right mood

For many, trying on clothes can be challenging and a vulnerable experience for a range of different reasons. It’s a bad idea to shop when you’re feeling any negative emotions such as stress, fatigue, depression, loneliness, grief, etc. It is often best to save a shopping trip for a day when you feel clear minded, in a happy mood and optimistic.

Avoid busier days/times and never shop on an empty stomach – you don’t need any unnecessary stress! Always carry a water bottle in your bag to keep hydrated.

3. Losing Sight of Colour

Colour is the first thing you should notice when shopping. The colours you’re drawn to are usually the colours that will look great on you. It’s important to trust your instinct. Once you’re confident with your colour choice, you can then focus on the style and fit of a garment.

Speaking from experience, the more black you have in your wardrobe, the more you will struggle to wear colour. Something as simple as replacing some of your blacks with navy can enable you to wear more colour as navy works with a lot more shades than black does. So, don’t let yourself drown in a black hole… or if you already have, I’ve just thrown you a life-line. You can thank me later!

4. Being Inflexible with Size

Choose your clothes based on fit and not the size on the label. When it comes to clothing, sizing varies from one brand to another. So even if you’re a size 12 in your favourite brands, it’s entirely possible that you would need to go up or down a size in other shops or brands.

Ideally you want your clothes to skim over your body rather than be too tight or too baggy. These opposite ends of the spectrum will just make you feel bigger than you are, and it’s much healthier not to get attached to the idea of being a certain size. Our weight fluctuates throughout our lives and what matters most is that we love our bodies no matter what, and let our clothing be a reflection of that love.

5. Choosing Poor Quality Pieces

One of the lessons from my zero-new-clothes challenge at the start of the year was to buy less but buy better. Whilst it is tempting to buy cheaper garments (especially on sale), there is more satisfaction in buying better quality (and, yes, more expensive) pieces than to buy less expensive pieces that you have to replace each season because they wear out or fall apart.

Be selective in the items you choose and don’t settle for poor quality clothing. High quality items will fit better, and last longer in your wardrobe. And, if consistent with these types of purchases, you will end up with a wardrobe full of clothing you love. In particular, you’ll be glad you purchased higher quality slim-fitting jeans, ankle boots in a classic shape, and timeless outerwear such as a trench or a long wool coat. In particular, investment pieces such as jeans, coats, boots and a structured bag will stand the test of time and will look great years later.

If you recognise some of your own habits in the mistakes above, don’t fret! This advice is solely intended to help you become a better shopper so that you can make better choices about your purchases and enable you to love what you wear everyday.

Your Personal Stylist,

Numba Pinkerton.

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