Shop Smarter!

Engage with the West Michigan Woman Community!

We could all use a few tips on shopping smarter—on how to shop and what to know.

Next time you shop at a local boutique, a mall, even online, consider these points. Arm yourself with information, so you can shop with direction and purpose. The result? Clothes you'll love, a wardrobe you'll wear, and fewer closet-clogging style mistakes and unsatisfied ventures. Something as simple as having your makeup and hair done when shopping could be an asset.

Translation: I never like the looks of anything I try on when I'm not looking my best.

Your phone is your friend.
Stay on-task with a list. Bypass getting caught up in sales and shiny objects—Hey! Are those leopard-print booties? A list reminds you what you really need and what you came shopping for. I also have photo folders with screenshots of items from specific stores. When I'm at Target, I reach for these visual reminders and avoid wandering aimlessly.

 Embrace the huntress within.
A favorite style inspiration of mine, @karlareed suggests hunting to help you define your style. While there's no shortage of people telling you what to buy and what's trending, what's your personal style? Maybe you don't purchase a single thing; you attempt to narrow down what resonates, what you continually gravitate toward. This could mean trying on clothes, taking snapshots and thinking on what styles make you feel confident. When you really analyze what you love, shopping becomes easier.

Be a follower.
There are a zillion fashion bloggers—for good reason. Pay close attention for style inspiration, noting that those with a similar body type to yours could help streamline choices. Many offer try-on sessions in popular nationwide stores and can tell you when items run true to size — or run larger or smaller. Their clothing reviews might be the difference between a style score or another flop and miss.

Cheat sheet ...
I recently put up a clothing rack to showcase statement pieces, new items and rock-solid fashion formulas. A blazer, graphic T and distressed denim is a go-to look, so I keep that entire ensemble assembled on a hanger—at the ready for easy access. When you know what works for your lifestyle, stock up on those goods. Whether lots of striped tops or easy, breezy dresses, when you have the formula down, re-create it in as many forms as possible and make those cues visible.

Speak up. Show up.
Ask questions! From online chats to messaging local boutiques, the more information you collect, the better. Inquire about fabric care, what to pair an item with or if the store will ship purchases. (Time saved!) Stores and sellers invite discussion; use this to your advantage, so clothes are researched treasures—not part of your return pile. Furthermore, attending store events or private shopping parties gives you one-on-one time and a more personal experience that's invaluable.

Missy Black is a footwear fanatic, a style child, and a contributing writer for West Michigan Woman.

Photo courtesy of Jade Boutique.

More stories you'll love