Become a Savvy Shopper

I find it interesting that it takes an economic downturn to see articles in magazines about saving money, shopping smart or “recession proofing” a wardrobe. These are concepts that you can use in any market and are a great way to build a solid wardrobe.

Becoming a savvy shopper is really quite simple. All you need are some basic guidelines, some thought and a little planning to get you started. Over time, you will probably find that it gets a little easier and becomes second nature. You might also find yourself building a solid wardrobe that can withstand the test of time.

Before the shopping process can begin, there are some things to consider: have a good understanding of yourself and what works for YOU, know what is in your closet, have a plan and know where to invest.

Know Your Colours
I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll probably mention it again (over and over and over) – know which colours best suit your skin tone.

Knowing your colours accomplishes many things: it speeds up the shopping process (you know which colours work and bypass items that don’t), it saves time dressing (if you only purchase clothing in your colours, it’s extremely easy to mix and match), it saves you money (the more you can mix and match, the less complete outfits you have to purchase).

To top it all off, wearing colours that suit your skin tone evens out your complexion and makes your skin look healthier, younger and more alive.

Know Your Body
Knowing your body type has its benefits. If you know your body type, you can learn which cuts and styles are best suited to your shape. This can save you time when shopping because you know which styles to avoid and only try on the ones that you know work best. It can also save you money by avoiding those purchases that sit in your closet because every time you put them on, they just don’t feel right.

Know Your Style
Everyone has their own sense of style. Some people are extremely aware of their style and embrace it. Others would argue that they have no style (which in its own right can be a style) or they just haven’t uncovered it or learned how to express it yet.

Knowing your style is similar to knowing your colours and your body in that it saves you time when shopping (knowing what to avoid) and it saves you money (eliminates wasteful purchases).

Shop Your Closet
Before you even step one foot outside your front door, take a look in your closet to see what’s there. Are there any pieces that you can mix and match a little differently than you usually do? Are there pieces that you wouldn’t typically consider wearing together but that might make for an interesting look? Are there any items from last season that might be updated with a new accessory?

Quite often, we purchase items for certain outfits or purchase complete outfits only to continue wearing the items as originally intended. Try moving some pieces around to see if you can come up with some unique combinations. It’s even considered stylish these days to be a little mismatched – whether it be in colour, style, fabric or look.

Once you’ve shopped your closet you know which pieces are missing or what you might like to add for the current or upcoming season. Take a note of these – it will help you with the next step.

Have a Plan
Never shop without a plan. Keep in mind what you are shopping for. Many times when we shop without purpose, we end up buying items that have no place in our closets and are hardly ever worn.

Of course there are times when you’d just like to browse or you stumble upon something that you just have to have. This too can be successful – as long as you keep the following in mind: is it your colour, does it suit your body and does it feel right on YOU?

Know Where to Invest
Fashion changes constantly – more so for women than for men. Following the trends can be fun, but trends aren’t where you want to be investing your hard earned dollars. When buying items that will probably be worn only a handful of times, spend a little less and save your pennies for the items that you will need to last.

Well-made coats, shoes, bags or briefcases and classic basics are key investment pieces. Properly maintained, these items should last well beyond one or two seasons.

Money Saving Tips
Keep these money saving tips on hand for when you’re in need of some new pieces for your closet: wait for the sale (sales tend to begin a few weeks after the arrival of new fashions), don’t disregard discounted “as-is” items (some flaws are easily repaired), shop discount or vintage (a great way to find unique pieces), purchase mid-weight fabrics (they can be worn in most weather and can carry you through the seasons), update your accessories (they can make something old feel new again).

As you can see, it doesn’t take much effort to be a savvy shopper. The key is to shop consciously and mindfully. Who knows, you might even have a little fun too!