Shopping at Dover Street Market in NYC.

Shopping at Dover Street Market in NYC.

A couple of years ago I shared my top 10 shopping hacks and guess what? They're still on point so I wanted to share them again. What makes me the expert you ask? Well, for one thing, I've been a commando shopper since my preteen years. And I've racked up countless shopping miles all over the world in disparate shopping venues from Provençal open-air markets to Sumatran roadside huts. Conquering a shopping challenge starts with a plan of action, and the hacks listed below can really help you be successful. And if you decide it's all just too much for you right now you can always hire me to do it for you! Don't forget, we're offering a 1-hour free closet consultation through the end of April which can help you get started on organizing your closet and be in a great place to begin your spring shopping. Here are the hacks.

1. Organize your closet. #1 because this is the most important step before doing any kind of shopping, ever. You'll be able to see what you own and know what you need. Separate your clothes by type of garment and color. Figure out what can be folded and what needs to be hanged. Get the right hangers for shirts, skirts, and pants. Use storage shelves to store your bags and buy a good shoe rack. There's no better feeling than a closet that works! If you want to know more check out last week's blog post here.

2. Make a list. Often we wander into stores without a real plan in mind which contributes to those shopping mistakes that end up in the back of the closet. So start with a list and it will make things much easier. You'll have a plan to stick to and it will keep your focus on the items you actually need. A list will also help you save time in the stores and hopefully keep you from making impulse purchases. (We can't guarantee this, however! :)

3. Shop alone. When you want to accomplish real shopping goals, tackle them alone. You'll be able to really concentrate on hunting down exactly what you're looking for. Without friends to distract you, you'll save a lot of time while you're at it too. Make sure you allow enough time to really see everything and not feel rushed and pressured. Treat this like the serious mission it is.

4. Make it easy.  Dress nicely and do your hair and make-up. Who needs that "ugh I look awful" feeling? Not looking (therefore not feeling) your best can influence how you feel about some of the things you try on. Plus you might get more help from the sales staff (just sayin'). Make sure and wear something easy to get in and out of, that goes for shoes too. Lastly, try and find a dressing room with good lighting and a 3-way mirror.

5Try everything on. Make time to try clothes on when you shop. Sizes change depending on fabric, designer, and store. You'll also save yourself the hassle of returning or exchanging items. That said, sometimes it pays to purchase things and take them home to try in the comfort of your own closet. You can see how they work with the things you already own and really move about for comfort and fit. As long as you keep the tags on, it won't be an issue to return them.

6. Don't be fooled by those damned mirrors! Why is it that when we're in the dressing room things seem to magically fit and feel comfortable?? We've all been there--standing in the dressing room mirror and convincing ourselves that these skin tight pants actually feel good and we really don't have to lose 5 lb.for them to look amazing on us. This is the time to be honest with ourselves and ask -- am I buying this for the person I am now or is it for some past version of myself? Be brutal!

7. Don't let sales make you crazy. No matter how good the deal is if it’s something you'll actually never wear, what kind of bargain is that? It's better to pay a little more for something you'll wear for a long time, and that's versatile enough to mix with the other pieces in your closet. Of course, if you see something at the beginning of the season that you love but can't justify buying, watch it like a hawk and when it gets down to a price you can live with, pounce! You'll be surprised at how you can almost always get that thing you can't live without.

8. Quality is in the details. Metal zippers last longer than plastic ones. Fabric patterns should match up at the seams. Stripes and plaids stick out like a sore thumb if not aligned, and any sloppy match-ups are a sure sign of poor quality. A good seam will prevent fraying and maintain quality through wearing and laundering, so be sure to flip clothing inside out to check them. French seams, flat-felled seams, and bound seams are best.

9. Consider buying multiples. If you find an item you really really love, buy another one! How many times has something we adored worn out or gotten a stain and it's no longer available for purchase?! And if it's an amazing price you really have to nab more than one, no excuse!

10. Organize your jewelry. Store all your jewelry in different size boxes. Not only will they be easier to find in one handy location, you'll remember what you already own so you won't buy pieces you don't need. Your jewelry will last much longer when it's protected and can't get lost easily this way. Also, consider hanging your necklaces on a free wall in your closet or bedroom. It's a great way to see what you have and looks cool too!

Let's get started!


Robert Gibralter