10 tips for a perfect shopping experience
Beauty editor Rhonda Rovan shares her tips on how to make your next shopping trip more enjoyable and successfulBy Rhonda Rovan
Q: When I try on clothes, I just get upset; nothing seems to look good on me. Is there a way to actually enjoy the whole shopping experience?
A: I hear you. I find the fun part of shopping is the groundwork: loading up on fashion mags and going online to peruse the latest trends to decide what to buy (or not buy). But once in the store change room, reality can be a little harsh. Unless you’re one of those rare perfectly proportioned specimens who looks good in the proverbial hopsack, your mood can tank fast, then you give up. But if there’s something you really need to buy, it’s a drag coming home empty. (As for shopping for jeans or a bathing suit, let’s not even go there.)
Yet I want to think of shopping as a “takingcare-of-yourself” activity that helps avoid last-minute, and often expensive, panic purchases. I also talked to a couple of experts about this question, and it turns out there are some shopping rules to live by:
Shop for clothes only when you are feeling good about yourself
“Don’t go when you’re having a bad day,” says veteran salesperson Renate Minicucci, who has worked for global brand MaxMara for 25 years.“Otherwise,nothing will be right.”
Don't get hung up on the size stated on the label
Every line of clothing is different. “And when you put on an outfit, look at the overall picture rather than focusing on a body part that you don’t like,” says Minicucci. In other words, cut yourself some slack. Most people—whether size 4, 10 or 16—have something that they’re working around. “The trick is not to obsess on that one thing.” But obviously,if there’s something like a blouse gaping open at the bust, then you need to pay attention to that.
Know the silhouette that your body looks good in
It saves you time, says model Ashley Graham, whom I met recently and whose lingerie ads for Addition-Elle are causing a buzz. “The main categories are apple, pear and hourglass. Stand in front of a mirror naked and discern what yours is.” Then get advice from the store’s staff.
Make sure clothing fits
“It will look more expensive no matter what the cost of the garment,” says Vancouver image consultant Kimberly Law. “If it doesn’t fit, don’t buy it, no matter how much you like the brand or how great a deal it is.” But if it’s just a matter of a little alteration, make the effort—“it can be an easy solution.”
Be aware of the pitfalls of "trick mirrors" that make you look thiner
“The one that I see most often is when the mirror is angled in such a way that the top of it is tilted away from you,” says Law. “This elongates and slims the body. I think it’s wrong. It can be discouraging when you put the garment on at home and look in your own mirror. Most women and men would prefer to see how the garment really looks on them while they’re still in the store.”
Get your bustline up
The first step is to get a professional bra fitting, which is free at specialty retailers. Then, when you are trying on clothes, make sure to tighten your bra straps to lift the bust. “It’s often the first thing I do when I’m helping someone in the change room area,” says Minicucci. Adds Graham: “Your underwear’s waistband shouldn’t dig into your flesh.”
Don't try on a dress while wearing ankle socks and running shoes
Take them off and stand on your toes, or put on a pair of store heels. You can also bring a pair of heels with you. But, says Graham, “Don’t lug around a bunch of bags. You’ll feel tired and sluggish.”
Try on something that's a little out of your comfort zone
You might be pleasantly surprised. Be open to suggestions, because that one style you think you want might not work (just like when you bring your hairstylist a picture of a cut you love, but that will never work for your hair texture). “But don’t buy a piece that doesn’t work with anything you own,” says Minicucci.
Be open to colour
This season, especially, there’s lots of choice in saturated pastels and brights. As for black, it’s “very hard on a lot of skin tones,” says Minicucci. Instead, go for navy, grey or brown.
Find a place you like and shop there consistently
Whether a neighbourhood boutique or a department store,the clerk will get to know your needs.
This season, I’m allowing myself to be a bit selfish about shopping. I’m going for a few hours one weekend, because it takes time to do it right. Yes, that can be a challenge; for one thing, don’t all husbands think that a few hours in a mall is beyond comprehension—“You’re going to be back when?” Here’s how I’ll deal with that: I’ll leave him with a corned beef sandwich and a bottle of his favourite beer— then, vamoose. I’m going shopping.
What are you curious about? Send your beauty questions to Rhonda.