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Five Foolproof Shopping Tips

I don't know the exact tally of the number of times I've referred to myself as a shopaholic on this blog, but I'm assuming that it's pretty astronomical. It's true though! I like shopping. It's my cardio, one of my favorite things to do. It's what I do when I hang out with my friends, my mom, or even when I need a little bit of alone time. Until the sad state of my bank account comes to mind, I'm usually my happiest when I'm shopping. Since I shop arguably too much–and I'm sure many of you might also feel like this (it's okay, this is a safe space)–you start to pick up a tip or two here and there.

Shopping is a sport. If you don't have a disposable income, easy access to all of your favorite stores, or patience to return things from online orders, shopping can be also be a complete pain in the butt. Everything is expensive, dressing room mirrors are glorified funhouse mirrors and distort everything, and the urge to impulse buy everything pretty you see is out of this world.

*This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own*

Beeline for the sale section
The sale section is the best and worst place that you can ever experience firsthand. If you're a fellow shopper on a pretty small budget, the sale section might be one of the only options for you at some stores. That's totally fine. I mean, if you think I'm dishing out $100 for a plain ole sweater, it's not happening. At least, not at my part-time babysitting budget with a savings account that I need for proper adult stuff in the future. So, I always head to the back of the store without a fail 95% of the time and peruse the racks of either out of season or just slightly "older" pieces.

You'll find a lot of hidden gems in the sale and clearance sections. You have to search diligently, for sure, as those sections tend to be neglected by any semblance of organization. This would normally drive my type-A self completely crazy, but I can beat the urge to reorganize for the sake of affordable clothing. One key thing to remember about the sale section though is that even if it's cheap, that does not mean you have to buy it. This really goes for anything, even pieces at Forever21 and what not. Just because a piece is only $10 doesn't mean it's worth having. If it doesn't pass the rest of the tips, pass right on by it! You have to separate cheap and affordable from an absolute want and need.

Be familiar with the return policy
Some stores have amazing return policies that you could basically bring in a toaster to a clothing store and you'll get your money back. I'm absolutely joking and please don't do that, but a lot of places are very chill and relaxed with their return policy. I'd highly recommend looking it up or asking an employee about it before purchasing if you're not familiar with a store's return policy. I ended up with about $80 worth of Forever21 store credit when I wanted to try out a few jumpsuits but didn't have time to try them on. Mistake #1. I ended up not liking any of them and when I went to return, they gave me a Forever21 gift card and I had to force myself to buy more pieces at the store. Unless you're a massive fan of the store, this is a huge inconvenience. 

Try on the clothes at the store (if possible)
I know, dressing room mirrors are the absolute worse. The lighting is always off. Everything is too close and it's hard to tell what the items actually look like. Personally, I prefer trying items on at home in lighting I'm familiar with and with my mirror. However, sometimes this just isn't feasible. Unless you know the store's return policy is great and you live/work close to the store or frequent the location, this can be a huge inconvenience. So sometimes you just have to take one for the team and march over to the fitting rooms to try on the items.

It's pretty easy to tell right off the bat whether something fits or it doesn't. Do the pants come up past your hips? Can you move your arms in the shirt? Is it even possible to fit over your head? These are the easy questions that can be answered by a simple ten minutes in the fitting room and will save you the hassle of trying to hustle back to the store before it's too late to return them.

Sweater: Banana Republic | Skirt: American Eagle | Boots: Steve Madden | Sunglasses: Quay

Take pictures of your outfit in the fitting room

This is where you can easily tell if the fit and style is good for you. Take pictures from various different angles. Straight on, from each side, slouching and standing up straight. Strike every possible pose you can think of to ensure it looks good from all angles. Just because an item fits doesn't mean it necessarily suits you. That's fine, it's totally normal. Not every single style and silhouette is going to work for everybody. That would be boring. We all have individual body types and sometimes things just might not look stellar on us.

Analyze the pictures in the dressing room. Turn that brightness up all the way, zoom the hell in, and examine from all angles. Send out the pictures to your most honest friends (or your mom) and wait for the replies. Always send to multiple people in case someone doesn't answer and you're not stuck only with yourself.

Keep outfits in mind and what you have at home

It's hard to keep tabs on every single piece of clothing that you currently own, I get it. But if you could keep somewhat of a mental inventory, it'll be much easier to avoid buying duplicates of something you already own. Nothing's worse than picking up something that you really love only to realize that you really loved it because you already own two of the same thing at home. 

This skill also doubles as a way to create outfits in your head. I've said before in a past post about justifying purchases, but it still rings true. I still stand by the fact that unless you're buying a piece for a really important event that you absolutely need a new outfit for (and if that's the case, lest not forget that Rent the Runway exists), if you can't think of at least three outfits that you would wear said piece with, then it's not worth buying.

I'm not a one time wear kind of person. If I'm buying something, I'm wearing it until it falls apart or until I get sick of it. I have access to a washing machine and I'm going to put it to good use, ya know? Outfits include top, bottoms, boots, even purses, and other accessories. If you can't put together these outfits in your mind without thinking of other new pieces you want to buy, I'd put that item back on the rack and find something else that would better suit your wardrobe.

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What's one thing you always do when you're shopping?


  1. Yes to taking dressing room photos!! Also, this outfit... obsessed

    1. As much as dressing rooms suck, sometimes you just gotta take advantage of being able to try things on at a store! Also thank you! I'm a big fan of this sweater for this time of year :)

  2. Excellent tips. I'm so guilty of buying while I"m in the discount fog - if something is on sale, it is hard for me to judge if I really like it or if I only like the price tag haha! Great tip that just because it's on sale, doesn't mean I have to buy it.

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

    1. The discount fog is dangerous! Just 'cause it's cheap doesn't mean it's worth it. I totally struggle with that too.


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