The very title of this blog post was difficult for me to even write. Memories going back to my teenage years come flooding into my mind. Going to the mall with my mom, ending up in tears and getting into a few fights along the way.
Clothing is a tricky thing. It’s something we have to wear every day. It’s not THE most important thing, but when you don’t feel comfortable or confident, it can affect your entire day.
I really used to hate clothing shopping. Well, I take that back, I loved seeing all the beautiful clothes, but my biggest dread was the dressing room. How would everything fit? Sure, this dress looks nice on the rack, but what about on me?
Squeezing into things that were too small, or shaking my head in disgust at a shirt that just didn’t fit my proportions. The dressing room has always been a battle in my fight for self-love.
So, here are a few recommendations I have for those of us who need to shop for clothes, but feel like our self-confidence takes a beating each time.
1) Take an exploratory trip
This is one of my favorite things to do. I take a day and challenge myself to go to five new stores that I have never been to, or have ever purchased anything from. I try on clothes I never would have thought would look good on me. I mix and match things, I laugh at how ridiculous I look in certain cuts or colors, and I LEARN what works for me without the pressure to BUY.
In the past I would ONLY go clothing shopping when I NEEDED something for an event or special occasion. The pressure to find the right thing in a short amount of time was always a disaster. But when I went, simply to explore, and see what’s out there and how my body looked in each one was SO helpful for me.
It also helped to have the mindset of an EXPLORER. I was already prepared for somethings to work and some things just wouldn’t – and I was OK with that.
2) Have a mantra for when you try on those outfits that just aren’t working.
I am beginning to be the mantra lady! I feel like I have a mantra for everything! Shopping for clothing is no exception. I have learned to say: “This isn’t working for me.” instead of beating myself up with words like, “You look awful” “You look so ugly” “Look at that flab hanging out, look at how thick your thighs are…”
Having this mantra and truth in the forefront of my mind helps me SO much when I try on something that isn’t working. THIS piece of clothing just isn’t for me. That’s ok. The problem isn’t me, it just is what it is and there’s no need to spiral into self-pity.
3) Go into higher quality stores
I am so guilty of having half my wardrobe from Target or the clearance rack at Old Navy. I KNOW it’s so hard to think of spending money on clothes – especially as a stay at home mom. No one is really going to see me, and my kids need so many things and I just always felt guilty spending money on myself.
But I have learned a few things with low quality, low-cost clothing:
- It doesn’t last. It gets faded, stretched out, gets little holes in it or the seams come out. I end up having to waste valuable time shopping AGAIN for the same thing I just shopped for the year before. Three $20 shirts that I have to buy over three years are not better than ONE $40 shirt that lasts me for five years (or longer). Quality over quantity.
- The fit is WORLDS better. Target jeans just don’t fit me. They don’t!! I can try on all the sizes, all the cuts and it just isn’t flattering. I used to feel so insecure and self conscious shopping for pants, until I found myself at Madewell or Ann Taylor and I tried on a pair of pants – it was like BUTTAH. The fabric was thicker, the cut was better, the wear was incredible. Most times if you feel like you look terrible in the clothes – it’s the clothes, not you.
- I do a better job of taking care of my clothes when I spend more on them. When I have a $7 t-shirt from Target on, and I get some spaghetti sauce finger prints on them, I just shrug it off and leave it there because – whatever – it’s a $7 shirt from Target. But when it’s my perfect, Madewell slouchy v-neck tee, I take it off right away, wash it, treat it and take care of it. Disposable clothing is not just a problem, but a mindset – and I fall into it all the time when I’m wearing something that costs practically nothing.
My best tips for getting higher quality clothing at a lower price:
- Browse the clearance section – oftentimes the clearance section will have the clothes you love at Target prices.
- Be patient. If you see something in the store you LOVE, try it on, make sure it’s perfect and then go home and go online and add it to your cart. Let it sit there until it goes on sale! Waiting it out is a deal finders greatest skill!
- Shop second hand. Places like Plato’s closet or online at ThredUp are awesome places to find the higher quality clothes for much cheaper!
- Become a Maxxinista! I love TJMaxx and Marshall’s. You have to be careful not to get sucked in to the lower end brands that are mixed in with the higher end ones, but I have found Kate Spade, Free People, Clavin Klein, Lucky Brand and more at a huge discount!
4) Shop smart
Understand what kind of cuts, fabrics, colors and styles work for you. I know it might seem overwhelming to do something like this, but once you know it, it makes it SO much easier to shop!!
You know what foods you like, right? Would it be silly if you didn’t and you kept ordering foods you didn’t like and getting frustrated at every restaurant you went to?
Once you know what you like and what works for you – shopping and trying on things becomes much more fun.
I recommend going with a friend who has a style you like and ask them to take you shopping – make it a girls time (maybe have a few glasses of wine before you go!) and learn from her and let her eye help you develop your own.
It’s also helpful to go through your own closet and pull out your top five outfits or pieces of clothing. Ask yourself what is similar or what you like about it. How does it make you feel? What kind of colors do you see and what fabrics do you gravitate towards?
It can be so distracting going to a store and EVERYTHING looks cute, but you because of that it’s hard to narrow down what exactly YOU like and would want to get….so going with a STRONG sense of who YOU are is important.
I hope these tips have helped you as you navigate through the mall, dressing room and beyond.
I personally use a capsule wardrobe to help me keep my closet curated with just what I LOVE and what I need, making getting dressed each day SUPER simple!
CLICK HERE for my visual guide to creating your own capsule.
And feel free to FOLLOW ME on my fashion Instagram account @capsulewardrobeinspo