Have you ever suffered from buyer’s remorse after a day of clothes shopping, or come home exhausted and empty-handed? As someone with a lot of shopping experience, both for myself and for my children, I know all too well how the process can strain your nerves as well as your pocketbook!
But a little bit of planning ahead of time can make shopping for clothes go a lot more smoothly. Shopping can be productive, and—dare I say—even fun if you keep a few simple tips in mind!
Here are 11 tips and tricks I’ve gathered that can help make clothes shopping a lot easier and more fun for everyone involved.
11 Tips And Tricks That Make Shopping For Clothes Easier
1. “Get Ready” Beforehand
You might be eager to get out the door, but taking the time to “get ready,” whatever that means to you, can make a big difference. Seeing yourself with your hair and makeup the way you like them will make it easier to look and feel good in the clothes you’re trying on.
Feeling frazzled and messy can lead to a rough day of shopping—we’re talking “nothing looks good on me” territory, which we all know is not a fun place to be!
2. Don’t Forget To Bring:
- Anything you need to return (that way you can use the credit right away!)
- A measuring tape, which can be useful if you’re shopping secondhand, since sizing varies so much and fitting rooms aren’t always an option. It can also be a good way to check fits quickly at any store.
- Shoes that are easy to take off and put back on.
- Any applicable coupons or gift cards.
3. Know Your Budget
Knowing the amount of money you have to work with not only makes shopping easier, but it can save you a lot of remorse later on too. If you’re looking for a general rule-of-thumb, some suggest setting aside 5% of your monthly income to put toward clothes, shoes, and accessories, and saving up for a few months ahead of time if you need to. (That’s just a rule of thumb, so don’t sweat it if it doesn’t work for you.)
4. Start Broad, Then Edit
Whether you’re shopping online or in person, one approach is to add everything you like to your shopping cart, then edit down your options from there. Bringing many pieces together at once allows you to compare them and decide which ones you like best.
There are bound to be some things that don’t work out and others that surprise you, so don’t start counting things out too early. Likewise, bring plenty of items to the fitting room, and in multiple sizes if necessary.
When my kids were younger, I would act as the “gofer” and switch out sizes for them while they were in the fitting room. It’s a great way to save everyone time, plus it prevents the buyer’s remorse of getting something that didn’t fit right because you didn’t take the time to try on a different size.
5. Keep A Wish List
Keep a running list of clothing items that you want or need—you can start one anytime! Then when you go out shopping, you can use the list to remind yourself what you’re actually looking for.
Shopping from a list is usually more successful than heading out with one specific item in mind—you may not find everything you want on the first try, but over multiple shopping trips, you can generally check off most of the items on your list, or you may decide you don’t want some of them after all!
6. Shop Out Of Season Sales
If you really want to save money on clothing, never miss out on out-of-season sales. This means shopping for summer clothes during end-of-summer sales, winter clothes during end-of-winter sales, etc. It may require some advance planning, but it’s a great way to save.
The key is to shop these sales often and not necessarily with volume in mind. When you happen to stumble across something that will go with everything in your closet, buy it — even if that wasn’t what you were looking for that day.
Eventually, you’ll find that you’ve scooped up a very balanced wardrobe over time and saved a lot of money doing it! You know what they say — slow and steady wins the race.
7. Buy Easy-To-Wash Items
If you don’t have anything that requires dry cleaning, why start now? Make sure the item you’re considering is easy enough to wash — for me, that means machine washable (even if it has to be washed on the delicate setting.) Even if an item is a bargain, dry cleaning costs can cancel out those savings and then some.
8. Bring A Friend Or Two
Shopping with friends is more enjoyable, and getting a second opinion can be very helpful. If you’re not sure about something, a friend can give you the confidence to try it out, or tell it to you straight that it’s not right for you. And don’t be afraid to ask a friend or family member whose style you admire to come along on a shopping excursion — even if they can’t make it, they’re sure to feel flattered.
Or why not get together with a friend for some online shopping and snacks? I’ve also been known to text photos of clothes I’m considering buying to friends to get their take, and it can be quite helpful!
9. Spend On Quality, Save On Trends
You can save money by spending more on timeless pieces that will last a long time and that can be worn in multiple seasons. For instance, a classic pair of black boots or a blazer will never go out of style, so spending more to get something that’s made to last means you won’t have to constantly replace it. (These 13 fashion essentials are great examples of this rule!)
On the flip side, avoid spending a lot on trendy pieces or things you know you’ll only wear on rare occasions. There’s no sense in blowing your clothing budget on stuff you’ll only wear a few times.
10. Know The Return And Exchange Policies
This is particularly important when shopping online. I try to limit my online shopping to places that offer free returns. Shipping for bulky items can be expensive, and if the store also charges a re-stocking fee, that will only add to the cost you paid just to try something on.
11. Find Coupons And Discounts
Coupons aren’t just for groceries! For online shopping, use a site like Rakuten to find money-saving coupons and get cash back on purchases. There are also apps that will compare prices for you and let you know if an item in your cart is cheaper elsewhere.
For in-person shopping, check online or in the store’s app for special coupons or discounts you may be able to use at the store.
Do you have any shopping tips or tricks you would add to this list?