Commando Shoppers
Eve is a no-nonsense shopper.
Eve Feuer, 46
O contributing editor and fashion consultant

"I don't like to get caught up in trends, and I don't like to waste money."
  • To avoid accumulating environmentally unfriendly shopping bags, Eve always carries a fabric tote.
  • She skips the heavy purse and zips her wallet, keys, and cell phone into her anorak pockets.
  • After her kids go to bed, Eve shops online; she justifies shipping and handling charges by thinking of the gas money she's saving.
  • Eve always asks herself three questions before buying: "Will I get more than one season out of it? Does it go with what I already own? Is this really me?"
  • Everyone has body issues that can make shopping unpleasant. When Eve finds shoes that fit her narrow feet, she's happy to splurge on them in a few different colors.
  • Hang on to classics like pants, blazers, and skirts, says Eve, who finds quality basics at J.Crew, Club Monaco, and Target. Home in on well-constructed pieces you can wear several ways—for example, a blouse that you could pair with jeans and flats or a pencil skirt and heels.
Erica enjoys shopping solo.
Erica Reid, 36
full-time mother of two

"Shopping is my alone time. I don't want the kids saying, 'Can we go now?'"
  • For stamina, Erica never embarks on a shopping trip without water, trail mix, and rice crackers.
  • Erica buys what she likes when she sees it and holds on to it for the right occasion. "If you have to mull it over, put it down," she says
  • She also rewards loyalty: Erica returns to the same salesperson time after time, which means that even when she's not in the store, someone is pulling pieces she might like or putting them aside until a sale starts.
  • When buying something pricey that needs alterations, Erica always lets the store handle them. That way it's responsible if something goes wrong.
  • Erica empties her purse at the end of the day. She files receipts immediately so she knows where they are if needed.
Kim doesn't waste time when she shops.
Kim Vernon, 40
president and CEO of Vernon Company consulting firm

"I hesitate to buy clothes that need tailoring—who has an extra five minutes?"
  • Kim tears out magazine pages for inspiration and makes calls in advance to locate difficult-to-find items.
  • For more attention from salespeople, she hits stores on weekdays just after the doors open or uses a personal shopper.
  • Kim bulks up her wardrobe in January and July, when merchandise gets marked down. The rest of the time, her browsing is event driven.
  • Kim often wears a skirt with tights to try on items, ensuring that she's never self-conscious and undergarments lie smooth beneath the clothes.
  • It's important to shop in an outfit that communicates your style, says Kim. When you walk into a boutique, the salespeople will immediately get an idea of your taste.
Kathy takes a systematic approach to shopping.
Kathy Kalesti, 47
vice president and general manager of Narciso Rodriguez

"I tend to get overwhelmed if there isn't a systematic approach to the shopping process."
  • Kathy keeps a running list so she knows what she has to get on the weekend.
  • For one-stop shopping for everything from T-shirts to toothpaste, she gravitates to megastores like Target.
  • Forgo the dressing room; try clothes at home, Kathy advises. You're more relaxed and can see how they blend with what you've got.
  • Kathy stocks her wardrobe with seasonless neutrals and old standbys (cashmere sweaters, tailored jackets) and splurges on accessories. "I stick to the basics and wear them to death," she says.