In the meantime, since school got out and sub jobs ended, I took a very part-time job working at an upscale clothing store. I would want to work there more often if it weren't for the fact that I either pay for childcare, negating most of my profit, or miss out on family time with my husband every time I work. I also have spent most of my paychecks on clothing that I buy with my employee discount, so I'm basically getting paid in clothes, which I do desperately need after the last several years of being pregnant, postpartum, and finally losing all of the baby weight plus some. Overall, the job is mostly fun, often rewarding, and a great learning experience for me in many ways. I keep wanting to share what I've learned with other women so we can all have the best shopping experiences. I've always liked to shop, and I do even more now. So, here it is!
Five rules that I've learned from working with women and clothes:
- Always try on. Try on many items, grab two sizes if you're in between, and try on things you're unsure of, but *might like. You will avoid having to return a bunch of stuff. If you're unsure of the correct fit of something, get a second opinion. This brings me to the next thing I've learned.
- Utilize the store employees! They know where everything is, or should, they know the sizes and what fits small or runs large. If you are trying to find full-length khaki pants, say so! Let them help you. You will save yourself lots of time. You can always ask for some time alone to try on if you feel too smothered later, and they should happily oblige. They know what is popular, and they sometimes know when sales are coming, They also can be a critical eye and should tell you if something doesn't look right. At the store I work at, we "wardrobe" people and so bring them more items in the dressing room to go with what they already have and build outfits. People often are surprised by what they love on their bodies that they didn't like on the hanger. Some people love having stuff brought to them, others hate it. We will do it until you say stop, and I certainly don't take it personally if someone doesn't want help. But, really, you should want help: we will save you time, help you zip, and should help make shopping fun.
- Build complete outfits. If you find a statement piece that you love, but you're not sure you have anything at home that will go with it, find other items to complete the look while you're shopping that day. If you can't find anything that goes, and you get home and you don't find anything in your closet either, you should probably return it. Unless you're the kind of person who is happy to wear stripes with plaids, reds with pinks, etc. Also, mixing patterns is in right now so if it works for you, it works period. Personally, I like to match my socks with my tops so I know I won't wear something unless it has a couple of options to pair with. I used to have skirts that I hadn't worn in years because I didn't have a top that paired well. I am wiser now and shop with complete outfits, including belts, shoes, and jewelry, in mind.
- Avoid age discrimination with your clothes. Don't dismiss a look because you think it is "too young" or "too old-lady" for you. I have seen a lot of older women rocking strapless tops, and young women looking great in flowered cardigans. Try something on if you like it even if it's not what you imagine to be the right age for you, get a few opinions, and see how you feel. If you feel good and like something, you should wear it! Of course, if your teenage daughter is going to badger you every time you wear something to the point that you don't want to get it out of the closet, you may want to take that into account. Then, take her shopping with you next time, or have her clear items before you take tags off.
- Allow yourself time. Rushed shopping is not usually good shopping. If you have a wedding coming up, start shopping for your outfit when you get the invitation, or before! Choose a day when you can devote several hours, choose a couple of stores, and be prepared to spend time trying on many things.You may find the right thing immediately, and then you can just spend the rest of your time getting frozen yogurt, or a pedicure, or reading a book, or whatever you like to do. But more often, it's going to take time. People get stressed and make bad choices when they only have 30 minutes to find something. You want to find clothes that you're going to love and wear for years to come, so you may need to invest some time into it.