You’re overextended and underpaid. The day is front-loaded with errands and tasks that put everyone else first. You try to put makeup on in the car but the cell phone keeps ringing. There’s barely enough time to put yourself together, let alone shop. So, yes you have my deepest sympathy.
But that’s no excuse for coming home with the wrong clothes! How you dress matters. A lot. For better or worse, we live in a world where we judge books by their covers. If that’s the case, then why not look like a best seller?
Dressing your best is always to your advantage. No one can argue with that. But to do I’d like you to break 4 bad shopping habits.
1. Stop Shopping as if the Buzzer is About to Sound. You’re Not on a Game Show
At the supermarket, celery and cereal are always in the same place. The packagings always look the same, too. So it’s not hard to figure how long marketing will take before reaching the checkout line. But who wants to buy a dress you already have at home? Whether shopping online or in a brick and mortar store, it takes time to find great new stuff. Shop on the run and you are bound to buy: 1) something close to what you already own,; 2) something you didn’t stop to think doesn’t go with anything else you own; or 3) because it was on sale, something that seemed like a bargain, except for the fact that you don’t love it.
Exhibit A of how shopping on the clock is so wrong – The woman who, instead of trying a dress on, holds it up against herself while it’s still on the hanger. Are you built like a hanger?
Find a way: hand off the kids to mom or your husband, don’t tell anyone where you are going, or better yet, take your mobile device or calendar and make an actual appointment with yourself that allows you some time to try on clothes.
2. Shop, Just Shop
Multitasking is a cannily marketed, high concept myth; modern man and woman’s way of deluding ourselves that we’re getting lots of stuff done. Except, here’s the truth about the mind works in real time. You can either do one thing very well, or attack five things simultaneously with sporadically-focused mediocrity. You may get away with it texting as you pump gas or cook while watching HSN. Any more complex a series of tasks and you’re pushing it. Looking swell and buying smart requires time and is worth your full attention. Surely the email about whether bridge is Tuesday or Thursday or if you can dog sit for your neighbor can wait an hour or two. Remember, once upon a time no one could answer everyone in a nanosecond. And the world still turned. So will yours.
3. Don’t Shop Just to Shop – Make a Plan
Don’t shop just because there is a sale, or because you are killing time before a movie. Decide on a goal on what you would like to shop for – a jacket for work, shoes for the weekend, a dress that goes day to night. It will stop you from wandering through the store like the children of Moses through the desert and prevent random and what-the-heck purchases. It doesn’t mean that spontaneity is forbidden. It just allows you to focus on finding something you can use as well as want.
4. Don’t Just Throw on Anything to Shop
You always hear me suggesting that you should “leave the house expecting to run in to someone you went to high school with”. Well, it goes double for a shopping excursion. Face it. If you want to find something that looks great on you, shouldn’t it be paired with you looking great, or at least really good. The first time you go out sporting that new leather blazer are you going to have your hair in a scrunchie, wearing sneakers, your runaround jeans with no makeup. Then how do you expect to like the way it fits and you look if that’s what you’re wearing when you first try it on. Brush your hair, put on something clean, tailored and pressed. Put on a little makeup (preferably not in the car), and head to the store already looking like that book jacket that looks awfully appealing. Turning it into a bestseller is just one smart purchase away.