Hal Rubenstein

25 Steps to Being a Better Shopper: Have a Plan

For as much as you may hear exhortations of shop ‘till you drop sales, as much as you walk by a store window and you swear a jacket in the window is ‘speaking to you’, shopping sends you into a dither, spinning in all directions, with little sense of control and even less of time.

You poor dear.  Buying pretty things should never instigate such dread.  In fact, shopping is supposed to be fun, more like an adventure than a chore.  True, it’s not as easy as grabbing your coat and running to catch a movie.  But that’s because to do it right, you need a plan.

Well, now you have one.   This plan will help you, in a series of posts, learn how to create a plan, stick to the plan and actually enjoy shopping for clothes.

Do Not Leave the House Yet

In fact, put down your coat, bag, and car keys. Now, march back to your room and open your closet, because you’re not going anywhere until you take inventory.  Know what you own before you fly out the door.  More importantly:

  1. What do you have that works as is?
  2. What needs replacing or sprucing up?
  3. What’s missing?
  4. How much do you have of your favorite color?
  5. What do you crave that isn’t there?
  6. What do you have way too much of?
  7. What didn’t you know was there?

Do Not Make Mental Notes

Get a pad.  Write these observations down.  Put them in your bag.  You’re going to use them as your reference guide.

You’re Not Going to Find Everything at Once

So rather than head for the mall and go off in five directions at once, decide on your mission:  3 or 4 primary things you hope to find today, and 2 accessory items.  Now write them down too.

Have a Destination

“To the mall” just won’t do.  Where in the mall?  Which end?  What store?   Decide on a specific destination where you are going to begin.  Now get in the car.  Make sure that pad is in your bag.

Don’t Play Beat the Clock

Americans tend to do everything as if overseen by a stopwatch.  Hence, the phrase “You’re gonna love it in an instant.”  Really? How much of your closet is littered with lunch-hour losers?   Dresses you bought at the last minute because you realized on Thursday you needed something for Saturday night, so you stopped off on the way home?  Shop on deadline and you are doomed to buy more duds, literally.