I’m extremely particular (some might say downright fanatical) about having a solid, functional, yet super fabulous wardrobe. Nothing bothers me more than an unorganized closet full of useless, unworn or unflattering pieces. Well, other things might bother me more, but you get the idea.

While shopping to create and add to this perfectly curated wardrobe might be a casual pastime to some, to me, it’s serious business. (Probably because as a Stylist, it’s quite literally my business.) And everyone knows that when it comes to business, you need a plan.

So unless I’m just browsing, when I shop for myself or with a client, I always have a plan. And so should you. (Unless of course you’d like to waste countless hours or your hard earned dollars. If that’s the case, off you go.)

Shopping with a plan always starts before you leave the house, mainly in your closet. That’s where you want to take stock of your wardrobe to see what you have and what you’re missing.

Note what you have plenty of so that you don’t buy any more and jot down which items need coordinating pieces to turn them into outfits. If you find that your wardrobe has gaps that you need to fill, add those to the list as well. These are the items you’ll be looking for when you shop.

Once your list is complete, decide on your budget. Determine what you think each item is worth or what you’d be willing to spend. Keep this amount in mind when you shop so that you don’t end up spending more than you should.

If you don’t think you’ll be able to purchase all the items on your list, prioritize and shop accordingly. Just keep the others in mind too. We all know that just because you shop for something, doesn’t mean you’ll find it. You might actually have more luck finding those lower priority pieces.

If you plan to shop for an item to coordinate with an existing piece, bring it along. It’s so much easier to find a match when it’s with you. You’ll also be able try the items on together to see if they’re right for each other. You know – see if they have good chemistry.

Make sure to also bring along the appropriate undergarments for whatever it is you’ll be shopping for. It’ll give you a truer indication of how things look with all your bits and pieces in their proper place.

If you’re not sure which stores to hit to find what you need, do some online pre-shopping prior to leaving the house. If you find something online that you like, call ahead to see if the location closest to you has your size and even one size up and down just in case. Map out your route so that you can hit the shops in the most efficient way and pick the best time of day to visit the area.

Now if you’re not a shopper or don’t like to shop (which always shocks me but is apparently quite common), try to make the experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. Dress in comfortable clothes and shoes that are easy to take off and put back on, wear your hair in a way that won’t get ruined or bother you after multiple clothing changes and stay hydrated and fed.

Shopping can be exhausting work – even for someone who shops for a living. If you’re thirsty, hungry, tired or uncomfortable, you’ll either leave early without having achieved your goal, buy the wrong thing, or end up really, really, super cranky. Take it from me – no one likes a cranky shopper.