According to a survey by Mintel, 44% of women dislike shopping as they feel that clothing manufacturers are only making clothes for the skinny young woman.
I completely understand why so many women hate shopping:
1. Can’t find anything that fits your body – whether you’re tiny or larger, size issues are issues for every woman as we all are made a little differently from each other. Only today I was shopping with a lovely client who is an Australian size 6 (US 2) and we found it impossible to find her a pair of trousers that fit.
2. Can’t find anything that suits your body shape – because so frequently when a fashion is “in” that’s all you can buy, no matter which store you go to, so if that shape or style doesn’t suit your body, there are no alternatives to purchase instead.
3. Overwhelmed by choice – you walk into a store, where do you start? What to take into the change room? If you don’t know what suits your body shape and colouring, if you find it difficult to visualise what a garment that is hanging on a coat hanger will look like on your curvier body, chances are you’ll be taking all the wrong clothes into the change room.
4. Too much stimulation – most stores play music, often a little too loud, which can make it difficult to concentrate on searching for great garments. The noise, the lights the other people, lots of colours and textures can all provide sensory overload which can overwhelm, particularly if you’re more sensitive to this kind of stimuli.
5. Poor service – either there is no service or the sales person isn’t trained well and will tell you anything looks great just to get the sale. The poorly trained sales person will bring you all sorts of unsuitable garments to try on, and often you feel obligated to try them on even though they are wrong for you, and then many people purchase something as they feel that they have to otherwise they’ve wasted the sales person’s time, and go home with a garment they’ll never wear that doesn’t make them feel or look great.
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
So how do you make shopping a more productive, pleasant and efficient process if you’re one of those people who dislike it?
1. Shop with an expert – an image consultant, like me, is trained to find you the clothes that will suit your colouring, body shape, lifestyle and personality. Provided that they aren’t getting kickback from stores then their advice should be impartial, there is no benefit to them for you to purchase from any store in particular, so you will get an honest opinion, in a gentle way of course! Plus we’re efficient, I can scope out a store in a minute or two which will save you lots of time (and time is your most precious asset in the end, it’s the one thing you can’t get back in your life).
2. Try on what you find easiest first – for example, if you find trousers hard to buy but tops easy, then try on the tops first, that way you will have a more positive experience, rather than a potentially negative one from the outset. When you try on something that is a disaster, your negative self-talk will kick in quickly and you’re more likely to throw in the towel quickly as your stress levels rise.
3. Just say no – yes, that sales person is trying to be helpful, and yes they need to make sales, but all buying something that doesn’t work for you is doing is creating more landfill and wasting your precious money. It would be better for you to keep your money that day, and maybe another day that store will have a fabulous garment that is just right for you, if you had spent your money on the wrong garment, then you won’t be able to afford the fabulous one. Plus the sales assistant is going to be there at work in the store anyway, it’s their job to help you. Give them clear directions about what you are and aren’t looking for. It’s OK to say that you’re only looking for warm colours and don’t want anything in black, that you don’t like pockets on your thighs, or whatever it is that you’re after. Sales assistants aren’t mind readers, you need to let them know how you’d like to be looked after.
4. Shop when it’s quiet. If you can, shopping early in the morning just after stores open is much easier than at lunchtime when it’s busy. Often the music in the stores won’t be quite as loud then either! Plus the sales assistants aren’t as busy with other customers so you can ask for their help if you want it, and you don’t have to queue to pay.
5. Learn all you can about your colouring, your body, your personality – reading blogs like this one, reading books, seeking consultations with an image consultant, will all help you when you walk into a store as you will be more capable of scanning the store, finding the best colours and styles for you, and will be able to be much more objective rather than emotional about shopping, less likely to waste money on clothes that don’t work.
6. Take a list – like you go to the supermarket with a list, don’t go shopping for clothes without a list. If you have multiples of the same garment then you are prone to purchase for the sake of it, emotionally, rather than being analytical, asking yourself if you REALLY REALLY need that garment, will it fill a hole in your wardrobe and make your wardrobe work harder for you.
If you’re one of the 56% who enjoy shopping and tend to overshop – you may need to think about becoming more analytical too, make sure you’re not shopping for emotional reasons. If your wardrobe is bursting and you think you are, then it could be well worthwhile undertaking a shopping hiatus to figure out why you shop. A program like Shop Your Wardrobe could be just what you need to get a grip on your shopping habits.
How do you really feel about shopping? What do you love? What do you hate?