I have been doing a little shopping lately in anticipation of Summer and I’d like to share a few useful tips.
- First, I’d say whatever you are looking at buying is not worth it. “It” being the price tag on the item. That’s the cost. Maybe it’s what it’s worth to the vendor but, what’s it’s worth to you is a different matter and, frankly, the only important matter. I went to see the new Woody Allen movie this weekend in which one rich, supercilious character kept saying “cheap is cheap” whenever someone talked of buying something she considered sub-par – a judgement based on price tags. But, I think something is worth is what you’re willing and able to pay to acquire it. So, do not let any clerk or boutique owner make you feel bad for thinking their item is too expensive. Stay on budget, no exceptions.
- Check the website first. Save time by picking out what you like from the online Look Book. Then you can pick up what came for and head to the fitting room. The fitting room is where it all happens!
- Buy only what you love. NOT like. If you can’t decide if you love it, you probably don’t. When you are having a positive reaction to something you get an immediate, fervent outburst. Your love will not manifest itself after you’ve brought it home and find that yes, it is still uncomfortable to sit in. Which brings me to the next rule.
- Buy only what you can dance in. This rule is especially true for shoes. If I cannot do a little trot in them, I do not buy them. I walk about 40 mns every day so I need shoes that can take the pavement and look fierce doing it. Some skirts and dresses are only for specific occasions. I almost bought this skirt – which a slimmer lady than me has styled neatly here. But then, I realized that it was too flat to accomodate my contours.
- Use the scientific method. Guess. Test. Verify. Even if you think it’ll fit, try it on. Then take a walk. Maybe do a twirl or a knee-drop & jazz hands. Whatever helps you make a clear decision. Fleet Feet, a local sportswear store in Washington DC, lets prospective buyer take a quick run around the block to test the sneakers before they buy them. What says “I want the customer to be happy with the product” more than that?!
Wishes to the Apparel Store Fairy
- I wish that all apparel had an electronic key inside theft-alert plastic knob. That key should be synched to the online inventory for the entire company. And, each store should keep a computer open for customers to look up their inventory as so many book shops do nowadays. If your size has run out, you could look it up and see if another store has it. This would save the cashier time as they would not have to phone another store to find out for you. It’s a nice service but I bet it’s frustrating for the six other people standing in the queue behind me.
- I would also recommend that apparel stores use a standardized sizing ruler. If customer appreciation is the true aim, let a 5 be a 5 everywhere.
Updated with drawing at 1030 pm EST.