Monday, June 6, 2011

How to make shopping fun

Today I went to the mall. And I had fun.

And those two sentences don't usually go together for me.

I'm not a born shopper. In fact, when I was younger, my wonderful friends/sisters/cousins would visit from California and they couldn't wait to hit the Woodburn Outlets. So off we would trundle to the outlets and I would resign myself to an afternoon of shopping. I'm guessing I wasn't as gracious as I could have been. (Sorry, girls!)

Each year we would do the rounds of shops and eventually I just focused on hanging out with the girls and when they disappeared into the netherworld of Gap and it's changing rooms, I would pull out a book and sit outside. I know, shameful. But I'm pretty sure they once spent an hour in there. :D

And this isn't to say that I've never had fun shopping. It's just not my favoirte cuppa tea. Not that I drink tea.... but that's another story.

So this is some of the things I've learned to help make shopping fun with friends and without.

1. Have money to spend. Even if it's just $5 and all you can buy is a hair clip, you'll feel better. Shallow, but practical.

2. Focus on having a positive attitude. I know it can be easy to feel sorry for yourself or a victim if a)you don't have any money and everyone else is buying stuff or b)you can't find anything you fit. See point 1 for an easy fix. If you are with other people , and I'm assuming in this case you are, else you wouldn't be shopping, think of this time as quality friend time, not shopping.

3. Focus on praising the Lord if you can't follow point 1. And remind yourself that there are seasons. Seasons to spend money and seasons to save. Seasons to be between sizes and seasons where you are a consistent size.

4. Know thy wardrobe. Know what you need versus what you want. So that if you do come across the perfect item, you might be able to splurge on a key missing piece for your wardrobe. And you won't be so tempted by stuff you don't need. If you have a hard time remembering what you do own, take pictures of your wardrobe and store them on your phone. Group your clothing together in logical ways (maybe all your dresses or by outfits) and take a picture for future reference.

5. Practice regular shopping. Sounds silly, eh? Because of my concussion and appointments, I'm out and about a lot more than I ever used to be (by myself!). This makes it easier for me to swing by a store or the mall and buy what I should be buying, instead of putting it off. Right now, when I go to the mall, instead of being overwhelmed with all the stuff that I should be buying because I haven't bought any clothing for six months, I know exactly what I need. There's no this huge sense of pressure to find everything I need for the next six months in one hour. Obviously this isn't always practical, but it's made a huge difference for me.

6. Learn from your mistakes. Analyze purchases that you never wear and figure out why you don't wear them. For me a common one is the length of a shirt. I can't tell you how many shirts I've bought that are eventually too short to wear with pants. Often I would try on a shirt, buy it, and then someone would throw it in the dryer and it would shrink and be too short to wear with pants. I've finally learned where that sweet point is and I stick to it. I've also learned that the length of shirt I like with a skirt is completely different with pants. And not to let shirts get thrown into the dryer!

7. Don't be afraid to buy something and then return it. Especially, if you are shopping by yourself. This may sound silly, but last month I found six dresses I loved at a store, brought them home and got second opinions. Then I returned half of them. I figure if I like it and my mom (or maybe some brothers) likes it, I can't go wrong. It sounds silly, but a lot of the time they catch something that I didn't see. Or they help me figure out why it just doesn't quite work and then I know what to avoid next time.

8. Don't go when you are hungry or exhausted! It just leads to going in circles, feeling overwhelmed or feeling like having a temper tantrum.

9. Know the items that always work for you. Whether it be colors, shapes or lengths, know what makes you look good. Chances are the things that you are attracted to are what looks good on you. I highly recommend at least figuring out what "season" of coloring you are, or at least whether you look good in yellow or blue tones. I wore the wrong colors for years, because that was what my Mom wore and I didn't know any different. Some people can wear almost any color but if you are like me and look seasick in pale green or like corpse in white, it can be very helpful to learn more about it! It took a while, but I've finally figured out (thanks to books and practice) what colors look good on me. And I know not to waste time trying on a cute top that's in the wrong color.

10. Don't feel too shallow. Obviously, if you are spending more time at the mall then you should be, you might be shallow. But the other ditch is believing that appearance doesn't matter, when in fact it does. Very much. Women are supposed to be beautiful (both inside and out) and should strive for that. There have been books written about that, so I'm not going to explain myself too much, but the Bible often describes Godly women by their physical beauty. I have an Uncle who was a druggie/hippy until he met the Lord in his mid-twenties. He promptly went out and bought new clothing because he realized he needed to dress like the son of the King. Obviously there are many different standards of beauty and there are certain times and activities where it is impossible to be beautiful, but most of the time, it's good to look nice. :D

Wow, I think that's all for right now. I actually had no clue that this was going to turn into such a long post. Maybe anti-biotics make me ramble...


Mama Chocolate said...

Those are great tips!

...and now I want to go shopping! ;-)

kerri said...

I agree about not putting it off too long, because that's what I always do. I'll go and think "Well this one needs socks, that one pants, Rand needs work clothes... then I get over whelmed and buy nothing. If you go more often you also get to see more of what's on sale, too. Unless of course you just know that shopping is a source of temptation and want to avoid it, I think it would be better to go more. At least more than I do.

Farmgirl said...

This post was great! It put everything I have been thinking about shopping recently( and a few things I hadn't thought of before) into a coherent form :-P

Amanda Evans said...

So what does a son of the king actually wear?

Lately I've been between sizes and short on cash a lot... But it's okay cause I'm not really recreationally shopping anymore either. Shopping more regularly would be helpful, like Kerri was saying.

Tyler said...

I love your comment about dressing like a son of the king! So many people just at church wear clothes with holes and no style. I also like you tips about knowing thy wardrobe. This will help me for the few times that I go shopping! :-)

Rosanne E. Lortz said...

Great post, Sara! Thanks for the advice.

Sara The Farmerette said...

Thanks everyone for the lovely comments!