10 Things We Know About Shopping For Clothes

Hard-won wisdom about affording a shopping habit from the MORE Money Editors

By MORE Money & Career Editors
Even a bad day spent shopping is better than a good day doing most other stuff.
Photograph: Photo by Bob Stefko

1.     If you can’t pay cash or use a debit card, don’t buy it. We read A LOT of personal finance books, blogs and web sites—and we know exactly how hard it is to pull out of credit card debt.

2.     To stay on track: If you budget nothing else in your life, set an amount to spend on clothes. Knowing you have $100 to blow this month will keep you focused.

3.     You can make that money go really far, given enough time. In fact, the only thing between you and the perfect pair of slingbacks is time, not money. We love Nordstrom Rack and Off Fifth, and we’ve also had a lot of luck with Zappos.com. Boy, are they nice!

4.     When you’re looking for the perfect something, remember these three words: Department store websites. We like to go to sites we like (Nordstrom.com is one) and check out the whole line from a designer. Once we’ve picked out what we want, then we go to the store to try on. It’s like going to the grocery store with a list; it helps prevent expensive impulse buys.

5.     If we really can’t afford to shop, we stay out of stores at all costs. “I’m just going to look” doesn’t work, at least not for us. (We’d love to be the kind of people who go to they gym to relieve stress instead of shopping…but we’re still working on that.)

6.     Haggle. If a button is hanging off a shirt, ask for a discount. You’ll get it.

7.     Always bring a friend…but never bring your husband. Since his top goal will be to get you out of the store, either everything will look “great, honey” – or nothing will.

8.     Let your most fashionable friend know what you’re looking for. Guaranteed: A few days later she’ll mention where she saw a great one on sale.

9.     If you find a pair of jeans that look good, buy them. Doesn’t matter if you don’t need them. All bets are off when it comes to great-fitting jeans.

10.  Wear flats.

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