shopping tips

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Plan Your Attack
Assess Your Closet A few questions to ask yourself: "What do I need? Do I have eight printed blouses but only one neutral skirt, or vice versa? What three things do I feel best in, and what do they have in common (shape, color, fit)?" And finally, "What have I not worn in the past year?"

Fuel Up Don't shop when you're hungry, tired, or in a bad mood. Bring a bottle of water and snacks to keep your energy up, and wear comfortable shoes.

Enlist Help Ask a salesperson or a personal shopper to give you a heads-up about sales. If you're shopping online, look for promo codes before purchasing (a couple of good sites: RetailMeNot and Coupon Sherpa).

Primp Shopping is more fun when you look your best, so fix your hair and makeup. You'll be checking yourself out in the mirror all day.
how to shop smart

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In the Fray
Be Flexible About Sizing Buy the size that fits, not the size you wish you were. Sizes vary by designer, so don't get hung up on the number on the tag.

Walk This Way Hold off on buying shoes till the afternoon, when your feet are more swollen, to ensure proper fit. Try to walk on different surfaces to get the best sense of how the shoes feel.

Be Leisurely If you have to shop for an event, don't wait until the last minute—when you could feel pressured into making a bad decision. You may need extra time to find accessories or make alterations.

Build From a Strong Base Wear a supportive bra; nothing looks good on a saggy foundation. Hit the dressing room with your shapewear already on.

Do the Twist Always look at yourself in a three-way mirror, and sit down in a garment to make sure it's comfortable and that it doesn't ride up in an unflattering way. Have a friend take a picture of your rear view if you're still unsure. Put swimsuits to the towel test: Bend down as if you're picking up a towel, and see if anything falls out.
shopping smart

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Closing the Deal
Knowledge Is Power Ask about a store's return policy before you buy, and hold on to the receipt until you're sure you're keeping the item. For an online purchase, save the confirmation email.

Resist Temptation Don't buy an item on sale unless you love it. It's not a bargain if you don't wear it.

Splurge Wisely Never spend more than you can afford. It's not worth going into debt for fashion. If you want to invest, choose a timeless piece like the perfect black blazer, not a trendy item.

Know When to Pass Don't purchase embellished or delicate clothes you won't have time to care for. Also, accept that certain styles don't flatter you—maybe strapless, sleeveless, low-rise anything. It doesn't matter. Love the looks that love you back.