How To Shop Like A Stylist

I like to people watch when I’m at the shops, and what I notice when doing so is the amount of people shopping for clothing that don’t actually touch the clothes, and instead walk on to the next store because they felt there was nothing in there that suited them.  


If something really does catch their eye and they do touch an item, it seems like there is a universal limit that per store, they can only touch things about three items. It’s quite interesting watching the way others shop, as I’ve never been one to shop without really looking carefully and touching everything. And it astounds me that there are so many men and women walking in and out of shops feeling down on themselves because they just can’t find something to suit them. 


What I do think is that one of the biggest differences between an everyday shopper and a Stylist, like myself, is that we shop like we’re shopping for the best fruits and veggies to cook. Think of shopping like a stylist like shopping to follow a recipe. Once we’ve found what we want to cook, we know that we need things like carrots, capsicum and onions, but we don’t just walk over to the produce section and put the closest ones to us in our bags and head to the counter. We inspect what we’re contemplating buying to see if it’s the right size for the quantity we plan to cook, if it’s bruised, in season, and if the price is what we’re willing to pay. When we shop for clothing, we should be following similar principles. 



Before Hitting The Shops


You should always know why you’re going. A Stylist never goes to the shops looking for inspiration to hit or for a bargain item to jump out at them. We go with a bullet-proof plan that’s going to take our own style or a clients style, to the next level. We treat it like a recipe. 


We go through the wardrobe, make a list of the key pieces we’re missing and we reflect on weather the state of the current wardrobe (either ours or our clients) are of the style desired, and not a mix of many different themes and fashion flings. 



Get Creative


My favourite thing to do before heading to the shops is creating a Pinterest board, making sure I know exactly what the look is that I want, so I can remind myself on my mobile when I’m out that whatever I purchase, should look like it could fit easily into the style of my Pinterest board. If you don’t follow these first two steps, heading to the shops can have you wandering around like a chic little basket case with money you want to spend but no brands to give it to. 



Set A Budget


There’s nothing as un-cute as living off bread and water and only just scraping up enough money to pay rent after a big shop. You should also set yourself a budget and include a buffer for any alterations (to drop off that day) if you’re the type to easily go a little overboard. 



Welcome Spam Emails: 
It sounds a little silly, and we all hate emails from other companies telling us to buy their stuff – but make yourself a folder in your emails or a separate email address if you only have a work one, for brands to send their emails to. You will be surprised at how much your above budget will stretch if you can snag yourself a few discounts because you’re a member of a mailing list. 



When You Arrive At The Shops
Make sure you have that list with you and your Pinterest board is readily available on your phone to refer to, and head into a store we’re you can buy the lightest items on your list. I recommend leaving heavier items like shoes and bags until the end, so you’re not lugging around heavy bags all day. 

Make Sure You’re Prepared For The Fitting Room: 
Wear your good knickers, those hideous ones that your partner hates but don’t give you any panty lines. Make sure you’re also wearing a suitable bra and clothing that you can slip on and off easily so that changing doesn’t become too much of a cardio session. 


Before heading into the room, if you’re unsure of brands sizing, take in two sizes as many businesses don’t have the funds to appoint a staff member on fitting room duty. So to minimise that awkward ‘poke your head of the curtain’, take in the sizes you need so you don’t have to change and grab another, as you’ll start to get over shopping very quickly if you do. 



While In The Fitting Room
Make sure the colours and prints of what you’re about to purchase are the style of your board and make sure you have items you already own, that can go with what you’re thinking about purchasing. Ask yourself if you have something similar, see if the item needs any alterations like hemming or sleeve shortening and make sure you factor that into the price. 


Last but not least, check the care tag. Make sure what you’re spending equals the quality of the garment and ensure that the care instructions are something you can easily follow. If you’re not prepared to look after that garment as the tag directs, don’t buy it, because it won’t last as long as you want it to. 

Start A New Habit


Keeping an envelope in your bag for receipts is an amazing tool to not only help you keep track of your spending, but to also hold onto as a backup in case you need to return anything. If you’re buying work clothing too, this comes in handy at that dreaded tax time. 

Now that you’re all ready for to head to the shops, last but not least, empty out that handbag and make sure you’re only taking the essentials and a bottle of water so you don’t have to carry so much, because nothing is as un-chic as a sore shoulder. 




Written by Alarna Hope. Read more from Alarna at or check her out on social media @alarnahopefashionstylist @alarnahope

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