March 07, 2012

Smart guide to stylish shopping

 I often hear something in the line of " if only I had all the money in the world, I would be fashionable too..." The truth is - you don't have to. Just knowing a few tricks to fashion and smart shopping - and you are set for life, with very up-to-the moment wardrobe. And here is how.

* Do your homework. Choose your "anchor" store and then look elsewhere. 

 What I mean is this. Choose the high end store of your liking. Look for what they carry. Look for what they suggest. Look for the brands. Try things on. See what works for you best. And THEN go and look elsewhere - online is a great way to start. You will often be able to find the same or very similar items for MUCH, MUCH less, and you already know how it fits : fail proof!

* Skip the outlet. Go for sale's rack. 

There is a stigma that the "outlets" are "it" if you want cheaper clothing. While sometimes it maaaybe true, 99% of the time this factor actually backfires. Why? Because outlets have their own markups - markups on the things that have been already marked down at your store twice. So, as a result you end up paying more for something that is definitely NOT "in" at the moment, when you actually could have owned it for significantly less and definitely with much better customer service and return policy.

* Beware of factory outlets.

You often hear things like "Such-n-such Factory outlet". You go there, you find  a place that looks just like the Such-n-such store, nothing like a clearance center, but the merchandise is significantly cheaper. You may be thrilled, but you should not be. Factory merchandise is often clothing that is produced by the company but a seriously cheaply made and are of terrible quality : do a test. If you are able to , find a baby/kid gap store and an outlet. Go to both, and compare : you'll find the "knock offs" in the outlet that look ALMOST like the identical item at the regular store. Feel it, look at the seems, and then compare the price tags. You'll see what I mean.

Outlets are not bad, and as I mentioned above, sometimes you may score an item that is just what you were looking for. Just beware and be smart.

* Shop at the stores with great return policy. 

Why? Because if the store is willing to back up the item no matter what , then they confident in what they are selling. You can be sure that you will buy something that will last for years. Shop for timeless pieces from them - it will be a staple in your wardrobe.

* Keep an eye on what you like.

Have you ever gone into the store, looked at the sales rack, but saw nothing because everything YOU liked have already been purchased? There is a trick to this too. Again - do your homework. Get to know your store(s) , pay attention to what goes on sale when, and then look how fast things sell.
If the item you want/need is "sitting" on the shelf, it is guaranteed, that the store will want to clear it out very soon. wait for the sale. If it is flying off the racks - give it a little time , it may go on sale as well. If you really like/need it though you may want to purchase - you're risking the complete sell out...But that is not the end of smart shopping just yet.

* Keep your receipts!

Make sure to check is the store(s) of your preference have price adjustments. Price adjustment range from 7 days to a month, and go from as little as "only if an item goes on sale" to double adjustments ( if the item was marked down twice, for example, during an adjustment " window") . Hint - take instore credit over cash back. You'll find that sales reps are much more willing to help you out this way, and it's a win-win for all.

* Join an online shopping community.

Make sure you keep yourself tight with the places like Rue-la-la, Gilt, HauteLook , etc. These are the sites that offer discounted boutiques on the "it" merchandise for a very limited period of time, and those discounts are no joke. Many have a promotional contract with some of the best of the best. Just sign up for an email, and you will be notified a few days in advance on the sales that you can plan and see if you want or don't want them. Some offer even calendar reminders - you'll get an alert email/text when your boutique is about to open. How worth are those places? Let's just say that I dressed my kids ( yes, they offer kids clothing AND toys plus more as well! )  in top of the line clothing that I paid less then I would if I dressed them from Walmart. DEFINITELY worth it.

I have to run now, but these are a few ideas to get you started. Of course, it always requires a little work on our part, but the end result is so worth it! I hope you enjoyed it and ...  happy shopping! 

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  1. Great advice! I love what you said about shopping with places with a great return policy and I love what you said about joining an online community. I'm still on my shopping freeze but when I'm off I'll be listening to you, Olya!

  2. Great tips, especially the ones about outlets and factory outlets!

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