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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!

How to Shop for Glasses

When contemplating a new pair of eyeglasses, take into consideration these favorite tips from How to Win at Shopping:

-Wear your contacts when shopping for frames so you can see what they look like both close up and far away.

-If you wear eyeglasses all the time, think of them as an accessory that you need to coordinate with each and every item that you wear.

-Follow the shape of your brow in determining and shopping the best frame shape for your face.

-When choosing a color for eyeglasses, match a color found in your eyes or hair, or take a cue from the color of your favorite jewelry metal.

-When choosing a pair of sunglasses, go more “statement” and take a cue from your favorite era for inspiration.

Your Romantic Color for Valentines Day

Your Romantic Color expresses your passion, your sexuality, and your heart.

Your own personal version of red, your Romantic Color is taken from the flushed skin, evoking the vitality of the blood that flows through your arteries. This is the color that reveals your passion, your sexual energy, and your romantic self. It is the perfect color to wear for Valentines Day!

The color that expresses your passion and love might indeed be red—but it might also be tangerine, fuchsia, berry, rust, or even mahogany.

Follow these steps to reveal the color that shows your warmest, most passionate self:

1. In natural light, hold your hand over a white piece of paper with your palm facing you. Curl your fingers so that your palm is “cupped.”

2. Look carefully at the most flushed areas of your palm and notice the shade.

3. Now, place a finger on each side of the fingerprint of your index finger and pinch your finger. What is the color of your flushed skin?

4. Look in the bottom of your palm on the side closest to your little finger.

5. If your palm includes deeper shades that make it difficult to see this color, you might want to hold your hand next to your gums. The contrast will help bring out the different shades in your palm.

Once you have identified the perfect Romantic Color, head to the cosmetics counter and choose a lipstick that matches it. You can wear this color in a lipstick or gloss and then bring the tube with you to match when shopping for this color.

Besides the sexy Valentines Day date night dress, the Romantic Color is also stunning in a bathing suit or any sort of athletic wear. It is also a wonderful color to use in your home. A dining room of lacquered walls in this color can be stunning for high energy dinner parties, and is also fantastic used in the kitchen in a large or small way, as it’s warmth and vitality connects to the hearth or center of the home. For the most head-turning use of this color, drive a car in it!

How and When to Splurge

As you start shopping for the new season, keep in mind these tips on how, and when to splurge from How to Win at Shopping:

-Never splurge on a trend. That must-have piece is likely to be passé before you’re done paying it off. Trends are, well, trends—here today and gone tomorrow. The great thing about them is that when they hit, they hit at every price point. Therefore, think about buying your trendiest pieces at lower price points to ensure that you feel no remorse next season when fashion moves forward.

-Invest in a timeless quality piece. A timeless item is always in fashion, no matter what is happening in current trends. If you need help determining which types of pieces would fall into this category, here’s an exercise: Take a look at photos of yourself from the time you entered adulthood until today. When analyzing each head-to-toe look, notice which clothes and accessories stay completely classic and do not define a particular time or place. These are your timeless pieces.

-A hoop earring in a shape that follows your features is always the perfect piece to have in your jewelry box. If your features are rounded, repeat them in a round earring. Copy an oval chin in a hoop of the same shape, and choose a triangular or geometric shape to complement more angular features.

-Fine perfumes are made with higher quality ingredients that may allow you to do more with less. Sometimes the price tag on an expensive fragrance can be justified if you think of it as the perfect accessory that will personalize everything you wear! To make a spritz last even longer, apply it immediately after bathing—and get more for your money by requesting a complimentary sample size at the point of purchase.

-A splurge is never a splurge if it is worn often enough to justify its price tag. Think about how many times you might wear the item in question, and divide its cost among them. Is it justified? Or, if you have ever owned a similar item, how much use did you get out of it? How often was it worn? Weekly? Daily? The answers to these questions will help you discern whether your splurge is indeed a splurge, and whether or not to proceed with your purchase.