How do you know if it’s your kind of shop?

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Here I am in LA, that’s me with Snoopy at Knotts Berry Farm yesterday, anyway, I spent some time at a local shopping centre today – The Block at Orange, near where I’m staying.

Of course I don’t know all the shops and brands, so I wander into shops.  The quickest way for me to figure out if I’m likely to find anything in the store is:
Listen to the music – if it’s thumping loud – the shop is unlikely to be for me.
Scan the clothes – if I can see easily lots of strapless or spagehetti straps, or a pair of denim hot pants, I know it’s definitely not for me!
How do you work out where to shop when you’re in unfamiliar territory?

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17 Comments

  • It’s a bit more difficult for me to decide on whether a shop is for me or not because I am so young. Loud music, while it annoys me, is not a major factor in this decision as most shops for people around my age blast horrendous music.

    What would make me decide about whether a shop is for me is:

    1) the window display- if it doesn’t have anything that I actually like in it, chances are that I won’t even enter the shop… but quite often even if there is a colour or a cut that I kinda like, I’ll still go in for a look.

    2) types of customers- if the customers are a majority of a style that I don’t like or doesn’t suit me, I would be very reluctant to shop there. For example, I am reluctant to shop in Topshop because of the tendency for 14 year olds or the “so hip it hurts” type to shop there.

  • LOL!! I went into Forever21 for the first time today and the music was so loud I considered getting earplugs before entering. But, they do have great necklaces at AMAZING prices. The close are seriously not for me.

  • Cute picture!

    I don’t usually go into stores if I see too many patterns and too many clothes stuffed onto racks. I also shy away from stores that have too few things out. I figure that things will be way too expensive for me if they need so few sales to pay the rent.

  • Adressandabike – I could never get into TopShop either when I lived in the UK – loved Oasis and Next though!

    La Belette – sometimes I’ll venture in somewhere when it’s for one thing I know I want that they do, and I can get in and out quickly – but not for browsing!

    Leah – yes – I don’t understand those stores that have 10 garments hanging and that’s it!

  • What a good question! I generally leave quickly if the quality is poor, reflected in synthetic fabrics, especially. But I’ll also leave if quality’s good but the atmosphere is intimidating — as you and Leah say of those over-curated selections. Friendly, but not over-bearing, attention from a sales assistant will keep me in the store — pushiness barely disguised as helpfulness sends me away. Colour is a big draw — I always scan for colours that work for me. I like to see styles that are contemporary but not overly trendy and I like a sense of fun. Music would have to be really loud to really bother me — often, it makes a more relaxed atmosphere that suggests I’m welcome to browse. Last weekend, I shopped with my 17-year old niece and I enjoyed the experience, as I have with my daughters over the years, of taking a closer look at places I might not usually linger in very long.

  • Like materfamilias, it’s much to do with fabrics for me. If everything feels slick and cheap to the touch, I’m out. But I also look for rich colors and a good foundation of classic solids. If it’s too busy with prints and embellishments, I flee!

  • In a word: mannequins. Does the store display its wares on tasteful silhouettes of human likeness? Avoid stores with those quasi-creepy, lifelike mannequins backdating to the ’80s. There’s been more than one occasion I turned around to jump out of my skin upon contact with a cold, hard plastic woman with vermilion nails. Whether then or now, my instinct is to run, run, run!

  • The window display is the first thing. The second most probably: The impression I get, when I step inside. I can continue walking onwards or make a quick turn the other way around.The approach of the sales assistants. They must be there but not pushy in any way. Naturally the quality of the clothes sold. I´m happy to recognize a familiar brand ( not only one shop carries the whole line). What is the price level, actually you know it by viewing the other customers. If I´m the only customer there, well, everything must be priced high. And so on…

  • I think I’m affected by the colors of the clothes. I don’t like a lot of brights or pattern. If I see neutrals and simple styles I’m likely to step inside. I’m always drawn to the store “White House/Black Market,” but then once I’m inside I usually don’t like the styles (a tiny bit too fussy for me.)

  • Hey, if they can’t put anything in the window that I would like to wear, then forget it. I also love it if the salesperson can identify my outfit and say, “Is that Milly? It fits you well, we have some Milly over here and also have some XYZ pieces over here that are cut the same way.”

    I tend to spend for quality and so I am very careful about shopping at boutiques because of the lack of flexible return policies. My favorite boutique has a two day return policy!

    Maybe I’m just a little bit of a pip, but…when I go in I test the sales people. That’s right. I put on something that is just hideous on me and march out of the dressing room. If they don’t try to steer me to something else, the test has not been passed.

  • – Dim lights and loud music (Hollister, American Eagle, Zara): too-young clothes
    – women toting tiny kids or tiny dogs (Anthropologie, Lilly Pulitzer, Tory Burch), sign of yummy mummy clothes (mini skirts and “cute” prints)
    – saleswomen decked in Cartier jewelry: can’t afford this place 🙂

    Am also suspicious of a story with huge, stuffed sale racks… I think ‘nobody else wanted these clothes”.

  • I look for the gigantic “All items 50% off or more” sign in the front 😉

    Seriously, though, I make decisions using similar criteria as many of you do:
    – Over-curated (love that term)? Pass.
    – Cheap fabric? Pass.
    – Customers not like me? Pass.

    A sale sign never hurts, though — it may pull me in when otherwise I might give the store a pass.

  • Love the picture! You look so cute with your big sunglasses.

    I get a feeling for a store when I see the employees–also in ways you mentioned. Thumpy music is kind of a tip-off!

  • Whenever I read your blog it always reminds me of the way I write. Teaching style in a way that is original as well as completely informative!! (Wait a minute, did I just compliment myself at the same time, man I’m good!)

  • I like sales racks right up front, lots of accessories I can check out. Sales people who give enough space but are at the register when you need them. I love those stores that play World music, it always gets me in a good mood to browse and feel relaxed. Worst atmosphere is when it really feels like a teen store and the sales people are immature ( hey I could be shopping for a gift, you know!).

  • I can find something in ANY shop, sooner or later. I love finding something in the most unexpected place. But the perfect shop for me– I’ve never seen such a thing.

  • The window display is huge. Do I want to walk away holding hands with the mannequin? That’s my criterion. Would I be seen with her at a party? Will she boost my image?

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