Guess what?!

I'm back! For those of you who didn't notice I was away, I took a nice adventure down to NYC (post about it coming soon). But now I am back and trying to get into the swing of things all over again, which brings me to this post right now. I was inspired to make this post after shopping with my BFF from the good old high school days (shout out to you Cassie!). As we swept all corners of the mall, she kept asking me questions about how I knew tips and tricks when it came to shopping, understanding my style and what to look for in terms of the quality of an item. Thats what had me thinking... Hmmmm maybe I have some tips that I can share with people. So, here you go, some tips and tricks for finding your personal style and making shopping a fun activity rather than a headache that sucks all your cash out of your wallet.

 

1) You need to understand what you like...

I have always had a general idea of what I gravitated towards but it wasn't until I actively started thinking about it that I realized what my personal style truly is. Some people do this by creating vision boards and cutting out pictures from magazines of outfits they love. But, now that we live in an electronic media age Pinterest is my limitless "vision board". It has probably been the best for my fashion craving brain as I can open it, scroll through whenever I like and see what it is that I like or want. I tend to think about these things better with a visual of it in front of me, making a board like this awesome. It has allowed my shopping trips to have clear goals for pieces that will contribute to my wardrobe as whole rather than individual pieces that I bought for an event or reason, but don't make sense after that. Since creating my Pinterest board, I can flip through a rack of clothes and instantly know whether or not I even like them. This has saved me an insane amount of money, time and buyers remorse. The added bonus by having a board online is that you can see a piece online, click on the picture and nine times out of ten the picture will be linked to the actual piece. Then you can go from there.

 

2) Go through your closet...

Before you start your car and head to the mall or your favourite boutique, you need to look through what you already have. I tend to be ruthless to what I have in my closet as I like to keep what gets to stay almost like an exclusive club that I get to delve into whenever I want. This also helps me know what is still working and what isn't working for me. From there some pieces that I don't like are donated as my pieces with higher value are sold second-hand for money towards some other things that I want to have on a hanger. Your closet can also be a place of discovery, maybe you found the perfect black blouse that you completely forgot that you had or that skirt that is finally back in style. I have found some forgotten gems at the back of my not- always-pristine closet. My closet has also made me understand my colour palette preferences when looking for statement pieces or things in between.

 

3) Know what you're shopping for...

I create a list that is split for what I want vs. what I need. This helps me visually understand my wiggle room with my budget and better understand what I should and shouldn't spend my money on. If I am going out and looking for a couple new pairs of jeans, that's what I will focus on. I stay open to other unplanned gems that I may find, but I will put those on hold and think on them for a day or two to reduce my impulse shopping and buyer's remorse. If I am out shopping for something like skinny jeans, I will also wear pieces from my closet to the store that I would wear with skinny jeans to reduce my desire to shop for things I don't need and to see how the item I'm shopping for would work with what I would be wearing them with.

 

4) Cheaper buys aren't always better...

For the longest stretch of my desire to have a better refined wardrobe, I have been on a budget. Which is honestly a fact of life, the large majority of us will always have a budget that we need to stick to in order to go about our daily lives. Due to this, sometimes our wardrobe takes a hit as we feel that buying cheaper will satisfy what we are looking for without making our wallets cry. This I have discovered to not always be true. 

Sometimes an item is more expensive because of the brand label attached to it, but sometimes it also the quality of the fabric. I enjoy shopping at places like Zara and H&M as they can have pieces that resemble higher end stores without the higher end price tag, but sometimes I see a huge difference between them and the stores that have a higher price range in terms of quality. I always shop online at these places, then go into the store to see what I'm interested in looking at for the quality and then decide from there what I want to buy. 

People can be tempted to buy basics like t-shirts that are less expensive as they can wear out a lot faster than a sweater or dress. Here's why I disagree with this logic. A lot of places offer five dollar shirts that are in somewhat trendy cuts, but the shirts are such a thin fabric your bra, belly and anything else will be on full display. Then sweat stains and anything else will be that much harder to get out of the shirt, washing will then prompt those annoying little holes and you will feel the need to buy a shirt to replace it. That money adds up and sooner or later you may think that if you had purchased that 2-25 dollar more expensive shirt at the front end could save you that headache. I tend to spend more money on my essential basics as I feel that they will last longer and I am saving my money in the long term. I am willing to spend more money on an item that I find a staple to my closet if that means that it will be around for longer.

 

5) Buy what can work for your job and the weekends...

Now this tip is to be used within reason, I work in a business casual environment in the fashion industry so I am able to get away with some pieces at work that others could not. But, it has made my capacity to invest into my wardrobe that much easier as I can look at an item and know that I could wear it to work the next day or out for drinks with my friends on the weekend. I like to look at my items as "cost per wear" making some of my expensive pieces so much more worth it. It also allows me to dream of owning pieces from Ted Baker, Alexander Wang and Acne much more realistic if that means that I could wear them for years.

 

6) Take advantage of return policies...

Sometimes you come across an item that you have to have but you're not completely sure how it will work with your closet. I use this tactic for very special pieces that I'm not sure I should say yes or no to. More and more retailers are having reasonable return polices that are all about the customer being pleased with what they have purchased. Sometimes it is better to buy an item when you see it and try it in the comfort of your own bedroom with your ability to try an item with anything and everything with it to see if you'll really wear it. If it doesn't work out, return the item and get your money back. Places with great return polices that I love are Banana Republic, Aritzia (unless you're buying sales items) and Nordstrom. If you're unsure about a return policy, you can always call the store with questions or when you're in the store ask an employee so you know what you need to do if you want to return something.

 

Get shopping!

There you have it! My tips and tricks to how I conquer most of my shopping adventures and have resulted in some of my newly refined outfits that I will be wearing for years to come. So go ahead! try my advice and head to the mall, may your beautiful outfits be envied by all!

 

 

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Published by Lauren Mieszkalski