Be A Better Clothes Shopper

Be A Better Clothes Shopper

Do you agree that shopping is hard? I recently spoke to a woman who told me she’s a terrible shopper, and has such a difficult time finding clothes that feel comfortable. Usually it’s due to the fit, is what she said. And I agreed! Women always tell me that it feels impossible to find clothes that fit well.

Why you can't find clothes text overlay image of woman holding colorful shopping bags.

Another issue women have with shopping is related to fabrics and garment quality. Because unfortunately, paying a premium price no longer guarantees high caliber clothing. 

But the biggest struggle I see with shopping is rooted in body insecurities. Every woman I’ve worked with —and I’ve styled hundreds of them— feels self conscious about their body. This puts an extra hurdle in their shopping experience because whenever they look at their reflection, they only see their flaws. You can’t feel good in your new clothes when you’re judging your stomach. 

So to help you be a better clothes shopper, no matter what your struggle is, I’m sharing tips that’ll show you how to maneuver around these issues and feel more confident in your clothes

No Size Is The Same

Let’s start with fit issues. The first problem is inconsistent sizing. When you’re a size 4 at one place, and then a size 12 in another, it’s confusing. And frustrating. How are you supposed to streamline your shopping when you can’t even get your sizing down— thanks to the discrepancies across brands!

Why you're a terrible shopper text overlay image of retail store picture.

Here’s how to deal with this.

For online purchases, it’s essential to know your measurements. When I’m shopping for a client, I keep their size card nearby. Then I refer to it and make my most accurate recommendations. It’s also helpful to look at the garment’s measurements, if available, (the sleeve length, chest width, etc…) and compare those sizes to your body. In short, knowing your numbers (and knowing how to take proper measurements) is crucial when buying online clothes.

The other thing I like to do with my clients is curate a collection of “THEIR” brands. We note which ones work best for their bodies and which size they wore. This is really helpful when shopping for pants. One of my clients loves her NYDJ jeans, and then branched out to buy other styles from that brand because the fit worked well for her. 

Shopper Fit Issues

Besides sizing inconsistencies, there’s also the issue of finding clothes that fit the body well. Designers don’t include every body shape in their patterns. (This leads to insecurities as we believe that our bodies are wrong for not fitting into the clothes.) You may have a long torso and short legs, or maybe you’re all legs and stand at almost 6 feet tall. If you’re short, finding pants that fit well, and aren’t too long could be your challenge for non-capri pants. And if you’re tall, you’re tired of everything looking like long capris.

One of my clients falls into this category. She’s 5’10” and needs a 34” inseam. But she also wants her pants to rise up 14” to her waist. And while this is a difficult combination to find off the rack, I’m happy that she’s certain on what type of fit will allow her to feel comfortable in her clothes. She’s currently working with a seamstress to create her perfect pants. Once she gets this pattern, she can replicate her perfect pant in whatever fabrics and colors she wants!

You may not need a custom design for your body, but if you do struggle with fit issues, think about alterations. If you’ve got a slim waist with larger hips— buy your pants to fit the hips then have the waist taken it.  Also, specific brands cater to different bodies, so find YOURS! For example, if your pants are always too big in the waist because of your hips, try the Abercrombie Curve Love line which features an additional 2” around the hips and thigh. They cater to your body! 

Fit issues — whether from size inconsistencies, or clothes that don’t accommodate your body shape—are the main reason women struggle with shopping and updating their style.

Finding High Quality

The next problem comes from fabrics, or more specifically quality. Just because an item is more expensive doesn’t mean it’s an investment in excellence. It’s disappointing to see a blouse, and then have it feel scratchy and uncomfortable to the touch. Let’s face it, we’re busy, and it’s a lot easier to find low quality items than it is to dig for better finds.

Once I did an experiment in Zara. I was looking for quality pieces, and boy was it a challenge! I ended up seeing a couple 100% cotton tops, but it felt like work to find them. All this to say that, as a clothes shopper it’s possible to find better pieces in cheap stores. But you’ll have to look hard!

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This is one of the reasons I love vintage shopping. Sure, there’s low quality pieces thrown into the mix. But the ratio of high quality items is more prevalent. Also, this could help with your fit issues. A woman told me she buys all her jeans on Ebay because her body does better in jeans that were designed in the 90s. 

Since cheap prices and quality pieces don’t often align, I recommend investing in good items when you find them. Make them foundational and timeless in your wardrobe so you can rely on them for years to come. Think coats, bags and shoes for sure. For other staples, I like the brands Amour Vert, Cuyana and Frank & Eileen.

Shopper Struggles

Now let’s discuss the pervasive shopping issue of feeling insecure about your body. You may be convinced that you are too oddly proportioned to wear cute clothes. Or you are never satisfied with your new purchases because it’s really your body that you don’t like. 

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Here’s what to know if you struggle with feeling insecure as a shopper, your body is never the problem. If you don’t like how you look in the clothes, change them! It’s possible for everybody to look incredible in their clothes. I see it all the time.

Women come to me struggling with what to wear. And so much of their frustration comes from not knowing how to dress their bodies. So they wear things they used to wear when they were younger or when their body was different. But those styles don’t suit them anymore. You need to find items that work now! If you don’t like how your belly looks, find a different top. (Asymmetrical tops can be a great shape to downplay your center.)

Lack of confidence is a huge hurdle when shopping, but it can be developed with practice. Try new styles that highlight your body, and then train your eye to recognize when clothes look good. As you develop this skill, others will notice, and the compliments will come in. This is how you build confidence.

One of my clients came to me feeling fat and like a terrible shopper. As we worked together, I introduced her to new brands and different styles that would highlight her hourglass shape. When she tried these new silhouettes, I could tell that she was starting to see herself in a different way. She recognized that her curves were gorgeous, and something to be proud of. Now that she’s figured out how to dress well for her body, she feels excited about her style because she knows that it’s an easy way to elevate her confidence. 

Shopping Options For You

When you’re shopping, know that your best clothes are out there! I realize it can feel hard. But there are options for you! I’ve worked with women in all shapes and sizes, and they all end up with an updated style that they love and that makes them look amazing!

If you’d like to talk about how I can help you update your wardrobe, join me for a complimentary call! We’ll discuss your style — how you want to look, and what you’re struggling with. I’ll pinpoint what’s standing in the way of you looking your best. Then we’ll determine if we’re a good fit to work together to overcome your struggles and get you into your most flattering clothes. Even if we aren’t a good fit, you’ll still get a ton of value on the call by having my expert eyes focused on your style. Book your call here by clicking here.

Elysha Lenkin
I help women feel like superstars in their clothes.

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