At the delicate age of 20, there are a lot of things about life that I admittedly just don't know. However, shopping isn't one of them. I, Morgan Elizabeth Young, consider myself to be an expert shopper.
Why? Mostly because I've done a ton of it, messed it up a bunch and learned from a handful of silly mistakes. From buying a ridiculous sequenced skirt from Express because it was 12 dollars, and then never ever wearing it because it was, well, ridiculous; to frantically sprinting down the aisles of Macy's the night before a homecoming dance to find the perfect dress- I know the ins, outs, ups and downs (like realllllly far downs) of shopping.
These are my go-to tips for getting a bang for your buck while always loving your outfit, and never ever having to say, "I have nothing to wear"...even though, let's face it, when you're obsessed with clothes even the fullest closet still isn't enough.
1. Shop often.
That's right. I said it. Bored? Go to the mall. Hungry? Go eat at the food court, and then stroll through some shops. When you shop regularly, you will feel less pressured to buy things. Think about it, if you only go shopping when you are in dire need of something; you will have to settle, even if it's not exactly the one that you want. You should never have to wear anything (that isn't a required uniform) that you wouldn't pick out for yourself on any given day. Plus, the amount of pressure that you put on yourself when you're shopping on a deadline for a specific occasion is suffocating and gross.
My advice? Go shopping, even if it's just for an hour, a few times a month. Try things on. Look at everything objectively without a specific focus of what you need to wear to your cousin's sweet 16. Try on dresses, skirts, tops and heels that you are in love with. If it looks amazing on you and is practical for your budget, get it. Get it even if you have no earthly idea of where you would wear it.
The outcome will be a well-rounded wardrobe of pieces you love.Your friend just got engaged? No problem. There's a gorgeous lavender maxi dress in your closet from that day you just decided to treat yourself after work. Your anniversary is next weekend? Good thing you picked up those sparkly heels you saw in the store window while you were walking back to your car.
You get the picture.
2. Proceed to promos/sales/deals with caution.
While sales and promotions are always super tempting, spending money on something that's "eh" because it's 50% off still costs more than saving your money for something you love. When you're picking out an outfit, you won't be more likely to choose a piece because you got it on sale.
Make sure that what you're buying is something you will love once the "sale shock" (I made this term up. It's when you're all giddy because something is on sale. You're welcome.) wears off, regardless of how big the discount it.
3. Decide before you try.
I always make it a habit to decide how much I am willing to pay for something before I look to see how much it actually costs. If you put it on, assess the situation and decide how much it's worth to you- don't be so quick to pay more.
4. Try things on. Sit down. Take it seriously.
Yes, there are times when you won't have to try something on to know how it will look (i.e. t-shirts and socks). However, most of the time, you should really try things on. Every garment is different. I once tried on two t-shirt rompers from American Apparel. They were the same size in different colors, but fit completely different.
Also, if you're trying on something tight and/or short, sit down. If you can't comfortably sit or bend over, maybe re-think it.
5. Step out of the fitting room.
Most dressing rooms have different lighting outside of the actual stall. Take a minute to step out, see it in different lighting and from different angles.
6. Know when not to shop.
If you are on your period and/or you're bloated, don't go shopping. It'll just make you mad. Don't shop when you're hungry/hangry (angry because hungry). You will either hate everything or buy everything so you can find food faster.Don't shop when all of your money needs to be spent on bills and textbooks. Just don't. Don't shop the day before the store you're going to gets its weekly shipment. There will be slimmer pickings and more settling.
Just don't do it.
7. Wear appropriate underwear.
Aim for a strapless bra and nude/no-show underwear. Nothing ruins a style vision like panty lines and bra straps. Seriously.
8. Ignore the tags.
Different stores do sizing differently. Don't not buy pants that look amazing on you because they're a 12 at H&M when you usually wear an 8. If it bothers you, cut the size tag off when you get home. No one will ever look at you and say, "oh, that girl is wearing jeans that are a size 10. Ew."
However, there are people that will say, "Her pants clearly don't fit her. Why?" Ignore sizes, and buy things that hug your perfect bod in all the right places.
9. Know where to go for what.
Figure out a couple of go-to stores for specific things. For me, H&M and the Loft are the first places that pop in my head when I think of needing to shop for business clothes. They fit my style and budget. If my closet is lacking some cute denim shorts, I'll hit up American Eagle first.
While I don't recommend shopping with a deadline or specific need in mind, this is real life. So,fashion emergencies happen and when they do, it's good to know some key places that you can go to.
10. If you don't love it. Don't buy it.
Of all of my tips, this one is the most important. If you've spun around in front of the mirror five times and still don't know how you feel about it, put it back. There is something else you'll find that will melt your heart within moments of you slipping into it. Whether you're hustling an after school job for cash or strategically asking your parents for it, your dollars are precious and should only go toward things you actually like and will actually use.