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5 Steps to a Successful Shopping Trip

posted on October 15, 2013 | by Amanda Holstein

5 Steps to a Successful Shopping Trip

I told you guys last week about the post I’d be writing this month in celebration of the Ford Fiesta Movement. Since this month’s theme is style (as seen here), I decided to visit one of my local stores and walk you through my shopping process. So let’s get started!

What to wear:

First let’s talk about what to wear when shopping. I recommend wearing a classic pair of jeans, so if you’re trying on a top, you can see what it will look like with the most basic item in your wardrobe. As for your top, definitely wear a nude bra and a neutral top, preferably one that pulls over as opposed to a button down (it’s easier to take on and off!). And for your shoes, wear what you would consider your go-to shoes. Whatever you tend to throw on last minute because you love them and they match everything. This could be flats, sandals, or boots – mine are of course these Madewell booties. You’ll see later why this comes in handy!


Step 1: Evaluate your closet

Before you venture out to do any shopping, it’s super important to take a look at your closet. What’s missing? What do you need more of? What aren’t you happy with? I find that I tend to get bored of my skinny jeans and want to fill my wardrobe with more pants other than denim. Skirts are another item I could use more of. I also feel like I have so many knits and not enough tops in other textures. So these were the three holes I was trying to fill on my shopping adventure. Besides evaluating your closet so you know what to look for, knowing what’s in your closet will help you when you’re trying on pieces and wondering how they’ll fit into your current wardrobe.

Step 2: Choose your store

Since a lot of the items I was looking for were not basics like jeans or t-shirts, I wanted to go somewhere known for fun prints and unique pieces. Urban Outfitters is my go-to for spicing up a dull wardrobe. Since I wasn’t looking for refined work clothes, this seemed like the right option. If you’re looking to polish up your wardrobe a bit without spending a ton, I would suggest Zara. If you want some unique yet classic staples that will last you a long time, I would recommend Madewell. It all depends on what you’re looking for and what your closet needs.


Step 3: Navigating the store

My rule is to hit every nook and cranny of the store. Start from the very beginning and hit every rack, shelf, and corner of the place so that you don’t miss anything. At each section, pull anything that catches your eye. You don’t have to know yet if you want to buy it. You just want to choose things you’re curious about. As I always say, if you’re not sure about a piece, try it on! You never know what it’s going to look like and it’s better to try on a ton of stuff even if you only get 1 thing.

urban_outfitters_store1 urban_outfitters_store2
(I loved this look but when I searched for a skirt, I didn’t love any of the prints.
Remember – only buy what you love!)


Step 4: Try it on

Once you’ve decided what to try on (my usual number ends about being around 10 items), don’t be embarrassed when you hand a huge pile to the sales associate. You gotta do what you gotta do. Separate them into piles: tops, bottoms, dresses, etc. This way you can try on one thing at a time and pair it with what you’re wearing so you don’t get too overwhelmed. Definitely try some of the items on together if you think they could work together, but don’t feel pressured to create outfits in store. Visualize what you have at home that could match (this is why you evaluated your closet before you left the house!). After trying each piece on, start creating “yes”,  “no”, and “maybe” piles. It’s also important to listen to your gut and not let others around you sway your decision. Only you know what you’ll actually wear!

Here are some pieces I tried on:

fitting_room1 fitting_room2 fitting_room3

Step 5: Deciding what to buy

As I always say, you should be truly excited to wear every single piece in your closet, even the simplest of t-shirts. So don’t buy anything you aren’t super excited about. If you have any doubts, you probably won’t wear it. If you leave with 1 item or even none, it wasn’t a fail. It would be a bigger fail to buy items and never wear them. Now when you’re tackling that “maybe” pile, try to come up with outfits in your head using items you already own to see if this piece would work with your current wardrobe. If you just have no idea how you would wear it, this usually means it’s just too far out of your comfort zone. But if the piece just excites the heck out of you and you need it, imagine wearing it with your wardrobe basics (jeans, white blouse, etc.). If you can picture that working, than it’s worth buying!

After trying on 11 pieces, I ended up purchasing 3. Check out which items I ended up buying and how I plan on working them into my current wardrobe!




Did this answer your shopping questions? Let me know if you have anymore in your comments below!

// This post is sponsored by Ford Fiesta. All opinions are my own.