How Being and Introvert or Extrovert May Affect Your Shopping Experience


Does being an introvert or extrovert change your shopping experiences?

Jill Chivers of Shop Your Wardrobe and I discuss in this video how being an introvert or extrovert may change how you approach shopping and your experiences while doing it.



In this video we mention another video about knowing your rules which you can watch here.


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • I do almost no online shopping because I can’t touch the fabric or accurately know the color and I can’t tell how the garment hangs and moves with me or against me. I look at a lot of things online, say Pinterest or even ebay and other shopping sites that I mostly use to get ideas but rarely would buy. Also, the more examples I see of something, the more quickly I tire of seeing it and I’ve had enough of it without buying or trying it on.

    I also rarely shop in mall or department stores because of the excess of stimulation – light levels change, the music that’s clashing with the rhythm of my thoughts, how many stores are deliberately disorganized in confusing fashion. And, once again, sometimes it seems as though each store has just the same styles and palette and type of print and I find that deflates any shopping interest.

    I don’t go out yard saleing. Too many sellers seem awfully proud of how much their items are worth that, as likely as not, they are going to put out at the curb unsold for the trashmen at the end of day. I never thought about it in terms of introversion/extroversion before but avoiding dealing with the sellers is the main reason I don’t go.

    In fact, I always thought of myself as an extravert before I started reading some of your columns on this, Imogen. After all, I had no trouble speaking in public, even if televised, I could go door to door and campaign for a local office or to get a petition signed. I often
    initiate conversations with strangers. But it’s that idea that I think you were the one who brought it up or linked to it – the over-prepared introvert. That’s exactly what I am. I’m like an actress. And I even think of my clothing as costuming. I once had a melton cloth toggle coat and told my husband that this was the coat of a suburban woman whose family life was going smoothly. In reality, I live in an urban high crime area next door to a walk up drug market. We have a son with hemophilia. He quips to me, “She must be cold, then.”

    Then if I start a conversation, it appears to me that I am in control, at least for the initial moments. I was striding down the street in an urban area and a fella was coming in my
    direction. I smiled very pleasantly as I passed him. He called out that my smile was a real smile because I smiled with my eyes. He didn’t know that I’d read an article about a smile
    seeming genuine if you move up the bottom part of your eyelids! In reality, I was wary and nervous and tried to come across as confident.

    I do most of my shopping in a couple of thrift stores where I’ve been going for years. They’re small in size and the merchandise doesn’t change all that much and the same people are the volunteers and the shoppers for years. I’m afraid it really is my primary social experience.

      • You know, I once read a study where they interviewed women of different ethnic backgrounds as to where they went if they wanted to be alone. Many women said they went into the bathroom at home. But the Latina women had a home life that was marked by a physicality. It was observed that the entire family sat touching on a small sofa to watch a tv show together, even though there was other seating. Or children would sit on a recliner, crammed in and one on the laps of the other. The Latina women thought it was an odd question. Of course, when they wanted to feel alone they went out to the streets and the shops! Whereas other women would answer that they went out to the streets and shops exactly in order to stop feeling alone.

  • As mostly anintrovert, one of the things that shortens my shopping experiences the most frequently is the music in the stores and even outside of the stores. The outside music feels so obtrusive to my need to be alone with my thoughts that I cannot wait for that moment that I’m in my car with the door shut. And then there’s the stimulation of dodging other shoppers—I try to only shop on Mondays and Tuesdays and get to the stores as they’re opening.

  • I only purchase books, etc. online, never clothing. I particularly like interesting boutiques with clothes that you don’t see in every department store. That being said, because of sales and convenience, I tend to buy more from a department store. I enjoy shopping with a close friend who knows my budget needs and what looks good on me. She is great at keeping me focused on what I really need.

  • I’m an introvert, highly sensitive (HSP) but somewhat sensation seeking. I work from home and enjoy the solitude. In general I dislike shopping, malls and stores.

    I avoid malls when they’re busiest. If the music is too loud, I usually won’t even go into the store; if I’m looking for something specific, I’ll be in and out as fast as possible, no lingering. There is a chain of drugstores/chemists that is too brightly lit, to the point that I feel I need sunglasses; again, I get out as fast as possible. I prefer shopping alone; if I’m undecided on an item, I’ll bring my partner next time to get his opinion. If I want to visit with a friend, I like to go for coffee – shopping together is no fun.

    Sometimes in the evening, especially after a very quiet day, I feel like I need some stimulation, and I’ll go for a walk down the main street of my neighbourhood, downtown, or to the mall if it’s open. I like evening energy better than the buzz of daytime.

    I don’t do much shopping of any kind, clothes or other, in person or online. I’ve never bought clothes or footwear online – I need to be able to touch and try things on. I can generally tell fibre content by touch alone.

  • This was wonderfully affirming. Thank you! I’m about to leave on a shopping trip and am trying to psyche myself up for it. I easily get overstimulated by the constant buzz in the malls and overwhelmed by too many choices. I’m a Monday and Tuesday shopper by choice – as another commenter said – but my schedule hasn’t allowed for that recently. The problem for me has been that I’ve not been able to go shopping for a little too long, and to get back out there and try again is just tough. It isn’t something I enjoy just for the sake of it – it’s a necessary evil and I’d much rather spend my time with people and family I enjoy or in more natural surroundings. But then not having what I want to wear contributes to my feeling socially hesitant. A vicious cycle. Anyway, it’s just good to hear somebody recognize that the introversion thing definitely affects the whole shopping experience.

  • I’m an introvert, but a bit of an “ambivert”. I do a fair amount of online shopping by necessity, but I prefer to see and feel items before I purchase them. I can enjoy myself shopping & interacting with others, but only if the store is quiet, merchandise is not too cluttered, lighting is good, etc. I generally go when stores open to avoid crowds. I prefer the smaller, individually-owned shops but there are very few left in my area. I do have a shopping friend who is an extrovert – she chats with anyone & everyone, but that allows me to wander and when I’m ready, she’s still available to offer her opinion.

    • I think when we are sensory or kinaesthetic, we like to feel the clothes before we buy too – which makes online shopping something that is less appealing.

  • How interesting! I too am an introvert, and I can’t stand shopping in places with music. I find it to be incredibly distracting to the point where I can’t think and use good judgment. Book stores and coffee shops are the worst about having loud, pretentious music. I try to browse as much as possible online to find out what is available in stores. This way I can spend a.minimum amount of time in the over stimulating, irritating brick and mortar stores.

  • In the past when I’ve taken the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, sometimes I come out an I and sometimes as an E, so I’m very close to being 50/50. I find that I enjoy shopping both online and in the stores. Music in stores doesn’t bother me as long as it isn’t blasting loud. The exception is the teenage stores that I go into with my daughter; those I can’t get out of fast enough. I enjoy shopping by myself or with my daughter. I’m very particular about shades and tones of color and also textiles. I sew, so I’m critical of how garments are constructed. When I shop online, a lot of stuff gets returned as you might imagine.

  • So many replies from introverts. Here’s another one. I too like to feel and try on garments. I shop online for books. My local chain store is the only place I feel comfortable shopping for clothes. The sales assistants are my friends. I can browse, try on and return to my hearts delight. Only getting to major shopping centres a few times a year makes them very scary for me. I have taken my extroverted husband’s approach and see shopping centres as an outing to people watch and try new things but NEVER to buy. I get too confused and end up with things I neither want nor need, despite making a list and checking it twice. We now have coffee and a look around and go back to our happy home, where I belong. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for food for thought.

  • Ahh… then you have the shy extrovert. Needs people and outside stimulation but too shy to strike up conversations. I think bricks and mortar shopping really appeals in this situation as it provides all the stimulation without having to talk to people. In a shopping centre you can have this sea of people with lots of energy and lots of stimulation but can participate in it without having to be outgoing or confident. Strange really.

    • When i said strange, I meant strange that so many people can be together not really interacting not that shy extroverts are strange. I am an extrovert who has struggled with shyness since childhood but love being with people (and shopping centres)!!

  • Classic introvert here. Two hours is usually the maximum I can spend in a shopping mall. It’s just too exhausting. I only shop online for brands where I’m confident I know what I’m getting. But there is one area where I’m a total overshopper — Amazon! If I didn’t have a bit of self restraint I could spend all day on my computer browsing books. And yes, I actually find supermarkets restful. You can stand and stare at something as long as you like and nobody disturbs you!

  • Hi Imogen,
    Really helpful post. I have always hated shopping and don’t even get me started about going to big stores just before Xmas. I enjoy people and may seek stimulation to get away from chores etc at home, but usually by going for a walk where it’s more of a smile or quick hello. Just tuning into the water and quiet recharges me. I never realised until now that I just end up feeling totally overwhelmed by all the noise, people and choices at shops especially big centres that I just shut down and lose focus which makes it really hard to keep on track and remember what I need let alone select and try it from multiple stores and choices.

    Your style coaching really helped me to identify what I really need to look for before I leave home and what sort of things I like and are likely to suit me so I don’t have to try as much on or stay so long and am successful more often. Introverted through and through who knew! Thanks

    • Thanks Ro for your kind words. The more you know about yourself the easier it is to navigate stores and a mall and find what you’re after (or know that it just isn’t there at that moment in time). I know that I hate crowds so tend to avoid malls and stores when everyone else is there!

  • I’m an introvert. I work from home and avoid stores with loud music. In fact, it’s a major turn off for me. I enjoy my solitude so I rarely go out in the day time. I take walks in the evenings. And, I feel energized after that. Shopping physically usually leaves me drained. I dread having to try several outfits on, just to pick one or two. It’s not my kind of thing. I prefer convenience shopping.

  • I too am am primarily an introvert although I have become more extroverted with age. I don’t like buying online for clothes unless it is a brand that I am familiar with as you can’t tell how it will fit or what the fabrics and quality are like. I used to hate clothes shopping particularly when I went with a list as it could find ages to find the right thing. It would normally take me several trips to find what I wanted. A few years ago I discovered clothing parties and I haven’t looked back. A girls night in with honest feedback and no pushy sales assistant.

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