Why Shopping For Clothes Makes You Want to Scream


And 8 Tips To Make Finding the Right Clothes a More Fulfilling and Easier Experience

As women, we are often told by the media, TV and movies that we all love shopping. That we could shop for our country, our lives, and love every single minute of it.

I know for a fact this is not true for many, many women.

Here is a comment in from one of my 7 Steppers and I think it sums up how many feel:

“I find clothes shopping knackering. Though 7 Steps to Style I know what suits me. I just get fed up trying to find it.”

As a professional shopper I also get “knackered” with shopping (though fortunately I have a great ability to scan quickly and keep moving rather than getting stuck in a store where nothing is worth looking at). I will find out what my client wants, but have no control over:

  • The colours
  • The shapes
  • The sizes
  • The details
  • The patterns
  • The current fashions

that is in stores.

Even if we find something that may work, if my client is petite, or tall or has a body variation that doesn’t fit exactly into the manufacturing standards, shopping can be a lesson in frustration to the point of wanting to scream.

The more you know about what suits, the better chance you have of being able to ignore all the stuff out there (the overwhelm, which is the other problem many women suffer from when shopping).

Why Shopping for Clothes Can Make You Want to Scream and 8 tips on how to make finding the right clothes a more fulfilling and easier experience

Large department stores stock so many clothes, yet I know from my experience from shopping, from the thousands and thousands of garments, most clients, on a personal shopping trip, will only try on between 5 and 30 garments from that huge array, as the rest don’t suit:

  • their lifestyle
  • their body
  • their colouring
  • their personality
  • their budget

And then, you have no control over the fit and proportions of the garment.  If they are cut for a shape that is related to yours or something completely different.  Remember, it’s not your body, it’s the clothes that aren’t right.

This all culminates in shopping being incredibly frustrating for so many of us.  We wish there was one store that had everything we loved in it, the shapes, styles, colours, details and it fit us perfectly….. sadly I must dream on.

How to make clothes shopping an easier or more fulfilling process?

1. Know what suits you

Your colouring, your body shape, proportions, variations, scale, texture, sheen …. the list goes on – find out all of what you need to know here.  And if you would like professional assistance that’s what my 7 Steps to Style program is about.  It will save you hours and hours of time and thousands and thousands of dollar/pound/euro/pesos.

2. Do research first

Before you head to the stores, jump online and look at what stores are currently selling.  You may be able to narrow down your selection of stores to try.  Also go into your wardrobe and take notice of the labels on the clothes that you love the best and that fit you best.  Go back to these stores and brands first!

3. Create a shopping list

Know what you’re after before you go shopping so you don’t get so overwhelmed by all the “choice” and potentially push sales people who have targets to hit and may try and convince you to buy items you don’t need, want or like.

4. Start with colour

When scanning a store, start with colour first.  If the colour isn’t flattering, then it doesn’t matter how otherwise lovely the garment it’s never going to make you look as great as you could.


8 Tips for More Successful Shopping
Find colours that flatter your complexion then check the detail on the garment flatters your figure.  For me I like to have detail near my face and keep it plain and boring around my mid-section.

5. Look at the detail

Know what suits your body shape (not sure? Then do my body-shape-calculator quiz and discover what you should be looking for to flatter your figure).  Know where you’re after horizontals, verticals and where there should be detail, and where you want to keep plain and boring, free of details.

6. Take someone to help

A trusted adviser, whether a personal stylist like me, or a friend or family member you can count on.  Someone who will tell you the truth (you sadly can’t trust the sales assistant as it’s their job to sell you clothes), be able to run out and grab you other sizes so you can rest in the change room.

7. Take a change room selfie

These can be really useful to analyse the garment and see more objectively if it’s working for you or not.  If you’re by yourself you can also text it to a friend (or if you’re part of 7 Steps then post it to the private forum and ask opinions on the spot!).

What to wear to a smart dinner party
This zebra kimono was designed and made for me by my trusty dressmaker extraordinaire (and brilliant illustrator) Alfia Galimova.

8. Find a great dressmaker (or learn to sew)

If shopping is something that you don’t enjoy, or you have a body that doesn’t fit any manufacturing standard, or you want something that isn’t available or in your colour, why not either make it yourself or have someone make it for you.  It can be much cheaper than you’d think and you are going to get clothes made for your body, that fit you, in colours you choose, in fabrics and patterns you like, that express your personality with detail in all the right places.   This is a particularly great option if you want a smaller capsule style wardrobe as you can work with your dressmaker to create a fabulous set of garments that mix and match and work together.

More Helpful Tips

How to Shop – tips and techniques

How to have a successful shopping trip

How your upbringing may influence how you shop

Shopping Strategies – are you better shopping alone or with someone?

Introversion, Extraversion and Shopping

7 Steps to Style is the best style program available


Linking this post to:  Top of the World, My Refined Style,  iwillwearwhatilikeVisible MondayLet It ShineMonday MingleStyle SessionsTurning Heads TuesdayTrend Spin Link-UpWhat I Wore WednesdayBrilliant Blog PostsThrowback ThursdayPassion for Fashion FridayFriday’s Fab FavouritesStyle Stories,FlatbumMumThe FABulous Journey, Sydney Fashion Hunter


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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  • Some of my best shopping finds over the years have been when I haven’t been trying to shop. When I go looking for something I never seem to find it but knowing what I need/like & suits me and regularly browsing means it turns up sometime when I least expect it. A bit like treasure hunting!

  • I have the same experience as Sue Mellen, when I least expect it I find what I have been looking for. treasure hunting indeed.

  • Oh I HATE shopping for clothes, especially when I really need something and I can’t find anything I like. It’s always the same, when you aren’t needing something you find countless things that you want!! I do most of my shopping on line these days, am forever returning parcels! #BrilliantBlogPost

  • Love the tips, really useful for getting what you need!
    I’m all about making a list so I don’t know buy UPI’s (unexpected pretty items)
    and does make sense to take a friend. Easier that deciding on your own!

  • Great Article!

    I have always hated shopping, on top of which my colors, detail preferences, body shape, etc. make finding anything very painful and unlikely. Imagine my shock at reading your stat that most shopping trips only net 5-30 try ons! I never realized things were that bad for everyone, not just me hahah!

    Long ago i figured as long as shopping took and as much as i hated it, sewing was my most sensible option. With online resources on instruction, fabric shopping and selection, fit, and etc. my clothes are wonderful these days! If you’re at all handy, I encourage anyone to give it a whirl – you can always start by making simple ‘bread and butter’ pieces which will stretch your budget and wardrobe while not being overwhelming makes for the beginner.

    Thanks for a very interesting read!! steph

    • Thanks Steph – I think being able to sew gives you so much more power in being able to create clothes or alter clothes to make them work for you rather than just being stuck with what’s available.

  • Your Zebra float is gorgeous! Where can I find one? I am a 5’3″ size 8, so I would need it to be shorter, but I wear lots of kimonos and love them. Your outfit is stunning and just my style.

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