How To Shop Like a Pro: 6 Tips from Image Consultant Elisa Bonandini

February 13, 2018

How To Shop Like a Pro: 6 Tips from Image Consultant Elisa Bonandini

By Elisa Bonandini, Image Consultant and Contributor for Donna Moderna

Some love it, some dread it. We are talking about shopping, obviously! Buying well is not easy, and coming home disappointed after a long and tiring shopping session is all too common unfortunately. The truth is that the majority of us doesn’t prepare well in advance before going shopping. If you think about it, we plan for many things in our life: travels, gym, beauty appointments… but when it comes to our wardrobe, suddenly our organizational skills vanish and we leave it to impulse shopping. Here is how I prepare for a shopping session with my clients so that it will be productive and gratifying.

Before going shopping: Detox, make a list and set a budget

I usually suggest my clients to “detox” their closets before planning a big shopping session, when you might buy many items of clothing, for example during the sales season. My golden rule is: if an item gets in, another must get out. This way your wardrobe remains under control and never gets too full. So, what to throw out? Everything that’s too old and ruined, like those pilled sweaters you still keep but would never wear out of the house; or items you’ve used over and over again and have been in your closet for a decade; and what about that skirt with the tag still on that you haven’t been able to match with anything since you bought it 5 years ago? Every closet has its “skeleton”, and you can always find something to get rid of that doesn’t help your image and style. Do not underestimate the detoxing power of getting rid of old clothes that don’t reflect who you are anymore!

After detoxing, it’s time to create a list. Standing in front of your closet, write down a list of the items that are missing from your wardrobe, already thinking of what you are going to pair them with. This part is important because when you give in to impulse shopping, you end up buying items you won’t be able to match with what’s already in your closet. If you have this kind of item in your closet, bring it along during your shopping session and find it a “match” so you have complete outfits in your closet. Finally, how much do you want to spend during your shopping session? Set a maximum budget and respect that. Having a method and following it is important if you want to avoid falling back into impulsive shopper habits.

Know your color palette and body shape

If you haven’t done that yet, reward yourself with an image consulting session, thanks to which you’ll learn what colors enhance your skin tone, and you’ll create a go-to color palette with the colors that will make you look your best. Furthermore, what you wear can dramatically change the perception of your body – it’s all in the harmony and balance of the lines, cuts and fabrics. Every body shape has its set of characteristics that should be treated a certain way to improve its perception. Many items that end up buried in your closet unused probably are not right for your body type. It might be a color that clashes with your skin tone, your eye or hair color, or a cut that doesn’t enhance your figure. You might not realize it, but 90% of the reasons are due to colors and body shape! The more your learn about them and yourself, the more you can make the right purchases.

What to bring with you when shopping

When the shopping fever takes over, your head is already among the rows of beautiful clothes of the department store and you don’t prepare properly. But shopping can be tiring, and you should be prepared. Based on what you need to buy, think ahead of what shoes you want to try them with. You’ll obviously wear comfortable shoes to shop (better yet if you don’t need to tie and untie them every time you have to try something on), but if you are planning to buy a dress, bring with you also the heels you wear more often to see how they look together. Also think about your underwear, making sure it will work with anything. Seamless panties in neutral colors are the best option, but also bring an extra shape-enhancing panty: You need to see the best effect when you are trying on new things! Lastly, bring a small water bottle and a clothespin. You need to stay hydrated as hours can go by while you shop and you might not realize it, and you need to be lucid to make good decisions. As for the clothespin, if you want to see how a dress or top would look like a bit more fitted on your curves, you can see the effect by pinning the clothespin to the back, and then having it properly fitted by a tailor once you’ve bought it.

Where to start

You start from the basics. The items you need in your closet, like a black pair of pants, a sheath dress, a jacket. These need to be high-quality items. Don’t save on these ones because you are going to be using these items a lot as they go well with many outfits. Once you find the basics, you move on with the rest of the list.

The magical power of the outfit

Something we rarely do is creating complete outfits when we shop, but it’s very useful and saves us from not knowing how to match something we just bought and love but doesn’t go with anything. Seeing a complete outfit lets you understand if it really works together and on you.

The importance of the break

Does it happen to you too to look at the clock exhausted and realize you’ve just shopped for 4 straight hours? By that point you are already too tired and you’ve probably already bought something you didn’t need because you weren’t thinking straight. To avoid reaching that point, plan a coffee break of at least half an hour halfway through your shopping session. Shopping needs to be a pleasant and relaxing experience, not a stressful marathon that leaves you drained.

Do you think this is all too much? Then let a Personal Shopper guide you through a shopping experience everyone should try at least once in their lifetime!

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