Shopping 101: Brick & Mortar

I know that feeling.  Complete deflation.  You head out to the Mall in hopes of finding the perfect outfit...  And you walk out of the store feeling overwhelmed and empty handed.  What a waste of time!  Believe it or not, the retailer is just as sad as you are, that you left empty handed.  They didn't make any money, and they know that the last feeling you had when you left their store was disappointment.  A failure on both ends, if you ask me.

Luckily, retailers are becoming more aware that ease of shopping is essential.  If the average person can walk into your store and shop there, then their chances of making a sale go up 100%.  Just like anything else you do in life, the more prepared you are, the easier it is.  I'm going to educate you on Shopping 101, so that next time you head out for something new, you spend your time and money getting exactly what you want.

When it comes to brick and mortar, a first impression is everything.  A retailer's first chance to catch your eye is in their window.  Let's face it.  You're going to walk into a store for two basic reasons: (1) You recognize the name of the store and know you like their merchandise, or (2) You like what you see in their window.  Shopping 101: If you like the merchandise in the window, you'll probably like what's inside.

Walking into a large retailer can be overwhelming.  The good news is that most stores have a "flow" or a method to the madness.  The merchandise in the front of the store is going to be their full-price and newest items.  The rest of the store will be sectioned into different departments.  For example: Work-wear to the right, athletic wear to the left, towards the back you'll find juniors and clearance.  Focus on which department you're looking for, and head straight for it.

Once you find your... Whoa, whoa, whoa, stop.  I know that blazer is cute, but we're here to get you a cocktail dress, so let's stay focused.  Find the department you're looking for and stop.  Look up.  A large portion of the clothing hung on racks (that you'd normally have to spend time pawing through) may be displayed on a wall or mannequin.  Now pay attention, because a lot of times, the store has done the work for you.  

It's easy to find a top that you like.  The challenge is finding the perfect bottom that matches and works with that top.  Luckily, stores don't want you to play the guessing game.  They have already paired that sheer top with the perfect maxi shirt and even layered a denim jacket with it that goes perfectly with the sandals that are all on the same wall, rack or table.  Don't like the color of the skirt they're displaying?  No problem.  Just behind it, they offer that same style in other prints and colors.

The men's department will offer the same convenience.  I'm loving that the mannequins (pictured above) give four different looks that can all be mixed and matched.  There's no guess work.  Like the first look with the striped shirt, navy shorts and sneakers?  It's all clearly located on the racks and tables next to the mannequin.  Just grab your size and head to the dressing room.  I actually suggest grabbing two sizes, because all stores and styles run differently.

Which brings me to Dressing Rooms.  I know, I know.  Trying things on is so annoying.  You already got dressed today and now you have to get undressed, dressed, undressed and dressed AGAIN?!  YES.  Yes, yes, yes.  I have wasted countless dollars on clothing that I didn't try on and for some reason couldn't be returned.  You're there to buy something, so take a few minutes and make sure it not only fits, but also the style looks flattering on your body.  Things look very different on a mannequin or a rack than it does on your body.  I promise, in the long run, you'll save time and money trying your look on before you purchase it.

Lastly, ask for help.  I don't know anyone who works in retail that doesn't have some sort of fashion sense.  The employees have spent all morning tagging and displaying the merchandise, so if you have a question about size, color, availability, they're going to be your best source of information.  A lot of times, they're so flattered that you're asking them for help that they'll find you options based on your specifications.

Until you have mastered the art of effectively and efficiently shopping, hiring a Personal Shopper is definitely going to be the best way to go.  Having someone with you that has the knowledge of silhouettes, color palate, sizing and fit is everything.  You also will gain knowledge of shopping tips and tricks that will allow you next time to shop solo with confidence.  

If you like what you see, all the merchandise is from H&M.  If you'd like to have a fun and rewarding shopping experience, where you walk out with figure flattering and current wardrobe pieces, please consider hiring me as your Personal Shopper.  My rates and shopping approach are very affordable.  Visit my website for more information: