Shopping Tips for People Who Hate Shopping

Hate Shopping? You are in Good Company! As a fashion consultant I talk a lot about shopping. One conversation I have on a daily basis is how clients hate to shop!

I can't say that I blame them. There are so many choices out there that it leaves people frozen. The book The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz talks about this exact subject.

The thesis is that we face so many options that it exhausts us mentally and physically. (I would add in emotionally and spiritually as well.)

If you are one of those people who hates to shop because you hate crowds, pushy sales people, and / or the logistics of navigating stores, here are a few tips to can help you out:

  • Go shopping on a Monday or Tuesday night. I absolutely love to go shopping with clients at the start of the week. Why? There are fewer people and open dressing rooms. Plus, there is simply more room to hear yourself think when you don't have a ton of people in the same space.
  • If a sales person is being too pushy just say something. You don't have to be rude or mean - just speak up and say, "I don't need your help at this time, thank you." In some stores landing a sale means commission. Everyone has to earn a living, so don't take it personally if you are approached. You can politely say that want a bit of time and space to look on your own.
  • Know that you have to get clothes at some point during the year. This may sound like a no-brainer, but many times people who hate shopping put it off to such a point that it compounds the problem. Clothing has an expiration date just like everything else. Well made clothes will last longer, but chances are you are going to need a couple of things every now and then. It's just part of living - we need to wear clothes. A bit of budgeting and planning will go a long way to being mentally prepared to get it done.
  • If you are on a budget work from the back of the store to the front. Stores typically put their sale merchandise in the back while the newer items are closer to store entrances.
  • Bookend your shopping trips with things you enjoy doing. So, if  you have to go shopping set a time limit and call your best friend after it is done. Make sure that your favorite show is TiVo'd so you can go home and watch it. Go to a yoga class. Love coffee? Start your shopping trip off buy purchasing a cup. The idea is that you can build a ritual around it to bring down your stress level.
  • Bring water and a little snack. It makes a big difference in comfort level.
  • Don't wait until an event to get the item that you need. Perhaps you are going to a wedding or speaking at a conference and thus need a new outfit. This means you not only have to shop, but that shopping trip has a deadline. If you put it off until the last minute two things are very likely to happen: 1) you aren't going to find something that you absolutely love - you are going to find something that is available. This means it has a high likelihood of you feeling "meh" about it. If this happens a couple of times during the year your wardrobe gets full of items are just "meh," thereby leaving you more unsatisfied about your wardrobe as a whole. 2) You are going to spend more money than you intended. Both of these reasons ultimately lead to more stress around shopping! To combat this, take out your calendar and look at the events you have for the remainder of the year. Six weeks prior to the event  write yourself a note that says "get new outfit for Holiday Party" or whatever the case may be. Then plan a trip to do just that. Many times the act of just writing it down will make it stay in the back of your brain, so when you are out and about and see a dress you think, "ah! I have the holiday party in a couple of weeks!" This little bit of planning can help take some of the pressure off of your shopping trips.

What about you? Do you hate shopping? Any tips to make the experience less stressful? If so, feel free to share in the comments below!