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Summer Shopping Tips

Spring is upon us, and before we know it we will be in summer mode. As you start to shop for your warm weather wardrobe, keep in mind these helpful tips from How to Win at Shopping:

-When budgeting for a seasonal wardrobe shopping trip, using the spending ratio of 75 percent on classic items and 25 percent on trendy pieces can sometimes keep you focused on things you can wear often and in different ways. Seasonal shopping (and also shopping for a trip) needs to be budgeted so that you have enough variety. By sticking to mostly classics, you will get much more use out of your trendy items.

-Always create a collage or online inspiration board prior to major seasonal shopping so you know what it is you are looking for. By pulling up these pictures before you set out, you will be a more focused and efficient shopper.

-Never purchase a seasonal item that does not coordinate with anything currently in your closet. You obviously have limited time to wear clothes that are seasonal. Make it a point to get things you can wear right away, unless you have ample time and energy to find all of the coordinating elements.

-You will sometimes need to go up a size or two in a swimsuit. It is very common for swimsuits to run small. Don’t be alarmed if you need to go up one or more sizes.

-Never rule out shopping for a light jacket, sweater, or pashmina in the summer. Most people are in air conditioning much of the time and need some coverage. You can also get a great deal at that time of year.

Color and the Workplace

Your color choices matter, especially when it comes to dressing appropriately for significant, high-pressure situations in the workplace. Check out my interview with Jared Lindzon for Fast Company on the power of color on the job:

Shopping for a Special Occasion

When dressing for any special event, dress for yourself first. If you feel beautiful, you will be beautiful!” Susan Lucci, Emmy Award–winning actress

With the start of spring and wedding season just around the corner, I thought it the perfect time to share some of my favorite tips on shopping for a special occasion from How to Win at Shopping :

-Pay attention to the formality listed on the invitation. Black tie means a formal short or long dress. For men, it means a tuxedo.

-Black tie preferred or optional means a formal dress, cocktail dress, or dressy separates. For men, it means a tuxedo or a dark suit.

-Semiformal means a cocktail dress or dressy separates. For men, a dark suit is appropriate.

-Festive attire means a cocktail dress, dressy separates, or your version of a Little Black Dress. For men, a jacket and tie will do the trick.

-Business formal means a business suit or dress. For men, a suit is appropriate.

-Business casual can be interpreted broadly, but don’t wear anything overtly sexy.

-Casual dress means wear something you wouldn’t mind being photographed in.


Increasing the Odds

It may sound shocking, but the vast number of people shopping in a brick and mortar store are not getting the most out of their experience. One reason is that they are not using the shop’s resources effectively. One of the most valuable resources is the sales staff. Forging a relationship with a great sales associate, and knowing what to ask of them can lead to immediate and longterm shopping success. To help you on your next shopping trip, try out these tips on creating a shopping partnership from How to Win at Shopping:

-Using a department store personal shopper is a free service that never has a minimum purchase requirement! Most department stores have personal shoppers who are available to navigate the store with you, free of charge. They know the merchandise and can easily guide you through the departments. Be sure to call in advance for an appointment

-Always expect a salesperson to check a nearby store if the requested full-priced item is not available at the current location in your size and color. Before asking for a stock check, determine your correct size by trying on a similar item, perhaps in another color. If the piece is available, you may have the option of requesting a store transfer or having your item held for pickup at the other location. If it is not, find out if the item may be available online.

-Always tell your salesperson if you’re looking for a hard-to-find item. Some stores presell much of their inventory before it ever makes it to the selling floor. A salesperson will often know what is in the stockroom or about to hit the selling floor, so ask her for what you want. If the salesperson does not know, she can find out from the store buyer. A great salesperson will also know which other stores in the area might have the item, even if they’re competitors

-Always ask for the business card of a sales associate you have enjoyed working with. Why start from scratch the next time you visit the store? Take the relationship a step further by sharing your information and ask for a call the next time items come in that he thinks you might like. Working with someone you know, and who knows your taste, can save you money. He will keep you updated on sales and promotions. You can also save time by calling ahead to let the sales associate know when you are coming in. He can preselect items and have them waiting for you in the dressing room.

-Never feel intimidated by a salesperson who is impeccably dressed. Instead, engage her. She may be able to turn her expert eye upon you and be extremely helpful. Many professional salespeople have gotten into the field because of their love of fashion and natural ability to put things together in interesting and innovative ways. If they can put themselves together brilliantly, might they be able to do the same for you? Find out by approaching the associate with a style compliment. Then share a little about your style and shopping goals, and see what happens.

How to Shop for a Hat

If you are thinking of adding some headgear to your Spring wardrobe, keep in mind these tips from How to Win at Shopping:

-Tilt a hat at different angles when trying it on.

– Take a cue from the shapes found in your face when trying on hats. Try a fedora worn asymmetrically for angular features, rock a slouchy beret with an oval face, or sport a cloche to partner with a rounded face.

-Don’t pass up a hat that is too large. The size can be reduced by hand-tacking the inside sweatband or by adding a bit of adhesive foam weather stripping underneath it.

-Unless you have access to a professional milliner’s block to stretch it to your correct size, don’t purchase a hat that is too small.

-Keep in mind that hats can be embellished!