1. Shop with a list.
Especially if you are making over your whole closet!
2. Buy a latte. Drink it while you shop. It's just a good idea.
3. Buy nice underwear. I know, even I can't believe I'm talking about this on my blog. But trust me: get a nice bra and some underwear in the right sizes. It will make all your clothes look better and will hopefully make you feel awesome. I'm all about saving money, but don't skimp here. You wear these every day: it's worth it!
4. Shop for jeans/swimsuits on a separate trip.
This should be a separate trip from all your other shopping, or you will probably end in tears (I'm not the only one who hates jean shopping, right??). A few reminders:
*very few people look good in skinny jeans. If you do, please wear them because I can't! My friend Megan looks amazing in skinny jeans, and every time I see her, I try again to find a pair that fits me. But I have yet to find any that even fit past my calves. And I'm pretty sure if I did find some, they would not look awesome. I have a theory that in a few years we will all look back and equate these with the Dreaded Tapered Jeans.
*most people do look good in bootcut jeans. You know, the boring ones, with no weird patterns on the pockets and no fraying, in dark blue that always look good on you even when bell-bottoms or stonewashed jeans are back in again? Those are the ones you should buy.
*Don't try on a bikini in the winter. Just don't.
*Don't eat a big meal before you go jean/swimsuit shopping. You will regret it.
*Do take yourself out for a meal after you go jean/swimsuit shopping. You deserve it.
*Find what you love and buy two!
5. Learn to love the clearance rack.
If you can take the (small amount of) extra time to shop in the sale section, you will really be able to get nicer clothes than you otherwise might be able to afford. I like shopping in a bit more pricey places (for me, this is Banana Republic and Gap and Anthropolgie rather than Target and Old Navy) for things like sweaters and skirts for work. You could buy a $25 sweater at Old Navy. But you could also get one on sale at Banana Republic for the same price, and it will last you longer.
6. Find your favourite stores and stick to them. A few of my favourites:
LL Bean/ Land's End
H&M, Zara, etc.
7. Don't torture yourself.
While you are shopping remember: If you don't love it, move on. I learned this simple but amazing tip from my friend Kristen in college. You know how you are in the dressing room, trying on a pile of clothes and you put on a pair of pants and cringe? And then you stand there for 5 minutes, looking at yourself from each angle, saying, boy! these pants make my thighs look huge! they are sooo small! who are these made for? Well, whoever it is, it is not you: just take them off (quickly, people!) and move on. Don't stand there berating yourself. Just get the next size up! Or a different colour! Or a different style. Find something that does look awesome on you. Believe me, you're cute. There are plenty of things that look awesome on you.
Related to this, don't shop in places that make you feel awful. There are certain stores that just don't make you feel great. Either the sales people are too pushy, the store is catering to a different demographic, or the clothes just aren't right on you. There are two stores I love, but for the life of me I can't shop there. I really like the style of the shirts and tank tops at American Eagle. But every time I go in, I remember: oh yeah! They are catering to tiny teenagers and I am a normal size twenty-something. I also love J.Crew. A lot. But for whatever reason, even though I am small, their shirts only ever emphasize my stomach. So now, I just get the catalog and look for ideas on ways to put together outfits- which (sorry J. Crew) I buy at a different store.
Now, have fun going home and putting away all your new purchases in your clean closet!
Come back later to find out how to put all your new items together....