Why is it that every time you have somewhere to go, the first thing you say is “I have nothing to wear!?” Then you run out in a rush to find an outfit and end up paying full price for something you don’t even love. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen to me very often. So, I am sharing my 5 tips to keeping the perfect outfit in your closet for every occasion.
Tip #1: ABS (Always Be Shopping)
This is the most important tip that I can give you!! But please understand that there is a difference between shopping and buying. To “always be shopping” means that you are always browsing for the right deal. I am constantly shopping, but not always buying. And rarely do I ever pay full price.
If you are at the supermarket and there is a Marshall’s, TJMaxx (especially a TJMaxx Runway), Nordstrom Rack or DSW, always do a quick walk through to see what they have. This goes for department stores too. Browse every sale rack at any store that you enter. Most of the time, I start at the sale racks and work backwards. Always check out the dress and shoe departments. If you see a great deal, BUY IT! BUT… don’t buy everything you see just because you like it. It has to be a great deal within your price threshold. (Your price threshold is the maximum amount you are willing to pay for an item based on the designer and quality. The better I get at this, the lower my threshold gets.) This tip is all about getting what you want at the right price. If I find an item that is not within my threshold, most of the time, I don’t buy it. However, if I realize that I am still thinking about it a few days later, I usually go back and get it. That gives me time to make sure that I am not buying on impulse.
Tip #2: Go shopping in your closet
First, I browse through fashion magazines looking for inspiration. I like to see what the hottest colors, fabrics and styles are and how the models are wearing them. Then, I go through my closet to see what similar items I already have and how I might mix and match to create new looks. This may require some cleaning and reorganizing, but its worth it. Sometimes, I find I may only need jewelry, a belt, or a pair shoes to turn something old into a runway ready style!
Tip #3: Forget the “2 year rule”
I’m sure you have heard the rule that says you should get rid of anything in your closet that you haven’t worn in the last 2 years. I TOTALLY disagree. I can’t tell you how many great irreplaceable items that I have gotten rid of because of that rule. (I’ve also gotten rid of some things because I thought I would never be that size again, which was also a mistake.) Now, whenever I buy a shirt or skirt or any item that is not a part of an outfit, I take a picture of it and keep it on my phone. While I am out “shopping”, I always look through my pics so that I can keep an eye out for something that matches one of my pieces. It can take a while, but eventually I always find what I am looking for. This strategy also works very well with tip #2.
Tip #4: Always keep your receipts (and keep receipts from recent purchase with you)
I have receipts dating back to the 90’s! It’s a habit that I picked up from my mother (she probably has receipts dating back to the 70’s!) It’s important to keep your receipts because sometimes you will end up buying on impulse anyway. You will also realize that what you thought was a deal one day, does not look like a great deal the next. Plus, because you will ABS, you will find that something you just bought may have been marked down again. You just whip out your receipt and ask for a price adjustment. Also, make sure you ask what the return policy is before you buy. Each store has a different policy and you want to be sure that you can return those shoes if they don’t match your outfit perfectly.
Some people are intimidated by the return process. Don’t be. Even if you don’t have your receipt, you can still return an item (in most cases). It’s all about confidence and knowing the return policy. At the very least, you can get a store credit. Which leads me to my next tip…
Tip #5: Be prepared!
How many times have you bought something only to realize that you had a gift card for the store at home? This started happening to me all the time. Now I keep them in my purse. If you follow tip #1, you will find that you never know when and where you are going to end up shopping. Also, be sure to keep any coupons that you receive in the mail with the gift cards—even if it’s from a store that you don’t usually shop at. Again, you never know. And if you are at a department store and you don’t have a coupon—don’t be shy—ask the cashier if they have one. Most of the time, they do.
And if all else fails, try this…
Bonus Tip: Rent the Runway (renttherunway.com)
I haven’t had a chance to try this yet, but hear it’s convenient and pretty simple. They carry just about every designer you can think of and you can rent your whole outfit, accessories and all. Rentals start as low as $30. They offer same day delivery in NYC and next day delivery throughout the US. They even send you the dress in 2 sizes to guarantee a perfect fit. You can rent the dress for 4 or 8 days and when your rental is over, just pop the dress in a prepaid envelope to send it back. You don’t even have to dry clean it; they take care of that too!
Start following these tips today and be sure to let me know how it goes. I can’t explain the feeling you get when you find a $250 dress on sale for $75, then use your 20% coupon and pay with a $25 gift card you got for your birthday…so you end up paying a grand total of $35!!! Whew! I get lightheaded just thinking about it!
Got any other great shopping tips to share?
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