Style therapy: The promised land of fashion possibilities

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I don’t like shopping. i like to buy. There is a huge difference between the two.

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In my many years in the fashion industry, I have been both a professional buyer and a professional buyer. I got paid to shop.

As a professional buyer, I made half-yearly trips to Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, and New York to purchase seasonal inventory, timing deliveries to ensure fresh fashion always arrives in store. For the average buyer, the thought of flying to New York sounds tempting. In reality, the days were exhausting. New York wasn’t just bagels and Broadway. My days started early and ended late. The collections are made up of many different pieces. I would rate them based on fabric, line, shape, silhouette and value. I bought with commercial knowledge of what sells, what works and what doesn’t. For each item purchased I could refuse 40 or more. At the end of each shopping trip, everything started to look the same.

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As a professional shopper for customers, I wasn’t loyal to any store and searched everywhere to find the perfect clothes for them. These days, I shop only for myself and I can assure you that I don’t think there is anything recreational about retail shopping.

For many, shops are the promised land of possibilities. Others find shopping frustrating. I am often asked what type of store is best to shop in. The reality is, you can’t find everything in one type of store. You will end up shopping in department stores, chain stores, specialty boutiques, off-priced retailers, outlets; any type of store has what you want at a price you are willing to pay. This means looking everywhere in every price range.

My idea of ​​fun isn’t trudging through a mall only to end up seeing the same things in one chain of stores after another. I appreciate department stores and small independent retailers who offer unique labels and great service, but don’t always have the selection or size.

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Who doesn’t love off-priced retailers? (Winners, Marshall, and more). They generally don’t do promotions, sales coupons, or other gimmicks. The inventory you find hanging on the shelves is manufacturer overruns, discontinued projects, canceled retail orders, and mis-sized merchandise. You will never know what they have until you get there. It’s half the fun.

Then there are the outlets. But before you throw your hard-earned money away, let me explain how they work. Just because you’re in an outlet, don’t assume you’re in an outlet. Usually, only about half of the stores are full-fledged factory discount stores.

The tags that say “Compare with” are not the same as “Sale Price”. It is a legal term used strictly for these types of shops. It may also be that it was made specifically for an outlet, and while it may be a brand name, it is not the same product you would get in their branded stores. It’s not a fake, it’s the real deal, but the quality could be lower. It’s important? You decide.

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Never assume that you will find the best deal even in a low-priced retail store or outlet. Sometimes you can find a cheaper item when it’s on sale in a regular store.

In the off season, the shops are generally quiet. Retailers are offering hefty discounts to move their inventory and prepare for next season’s collections. If you’re a chronic person wandering the hallways to see if you can find a lot about things you don’t actually need, stop for a minute. Consider a deal that seems too hard to resist, like the one at its third discount. Make an effort not to think with your sales brain (that’s what you use when you lose all reason as to why you shouldn’t buy it). Getting involved in finding a bargain and buying an item mainly because the store is practically giving it away is just plain wrong. Everything is 100% off if you don’t buy it. Any item hanging in your closet that you don’t wear because it’s not right for you is expensive, no matter how deeply discounted it was.

On the other hand, if you end up buying something truly special at a great price, enjoy that tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment along with bragging rights about your shopping expert. Then when someone tells you how much they love those fabulous designer pants you wear, pat the fabric, smile, and proudly announce the price you paid.

Helene Oseen is a longtime fashion writer and sought-after stylist. Help women find confidence and style as they make friends with themselves and with fashion. What is the identity of your wardrobe? Take the quiz and find out at www.heleneoseen.com

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