Shopping Smarts

MORE's fashion features editor, Susan Swimmer, blogs about the fashion matters that really count.

by Susan Swimmer • Fashion Features Editor
carrie bradshaw shopping image
Carrie Bradshaw meets Manolo Blahnik.

I'm all for buying, but I think we can all agree that the economy is still struggling. Now more than ever you need to use shopping smarts. That means you should put an end to impulse buying and instead give each and every purchase its full consideration. Even, in some cases, sleeping on the decision a night or two before you plunk down your green backs.

Because you need to love what you buy, and just between us girls, that’s sometimes hard to figure out when you are in the throes of a shopping experience. Will that long cardigan become a fashion best friend (wear it all the time), a fashion acquaintance (wear it once in a while), or, GASP, a fashion enemy (shoved to the back, forgotten)? You know what I’m talking about: The item that seems so promising in the glare of the fitting room lights sometimes looks very different when you bring it home. We’ve all been there, have we not? Here are a few tips to, hopefully, help you buy BFF's (that’s Best Fashion Friends, just to be clear):

  • Do not try an item on OVER other clothes, unless it is meant to be worn that way. I know, getting all undressed can be a pain, but if it’s, say, a silk blouse, you will never know how it really fits if you put it on over a sweater.
  • Take your time. Sit, bend, reach, stretch. Move in all sorts of ways so you see how the item moves with you.
  • Make sure it REALLY fits. A friend who used to be a top buyer for Macy’s told me more than 50% of purchases women make are in the wrong size. My advice? Try one size larger and one size smaller in the item, just to be sure.
  • Does it flatter you? Is the color or print right? Does it accentuate the best part of your body? Does it look good from all angles (yes, that means from behind!).
  • Consider what you already have in your closet that this item will complement. While standing in the dressing room, think of at least 5 outfits that you can create, incorporating this new item.
  • Really THINK about what hole this item is filling in your wardrobe. It needs to have a purpose from the get go, and if it’s just another (pair of black pants, print dress, etc.), then you might be better to skip it.

Go! Buy! Be chic!

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First Published February 14, 2012

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