Organizing clothes shopping

harriethomeownerApril 24, 2007

Interesting article in the Washington Post about using two different personal shoppers to look for clothes, and also some comments about weeding through a closet.

You have to register to read it, but it's free.

Here is a link that might be useful: Clothes Encounters

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that was really interesting!

Boy, could I use a personal shopper; but I don't have $2,000 to spend on clothes, let alone the extra for a personal shopper!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 1:25PM
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There was an online chat with the author yesterday, and in response to someone's comment about the prices, she said:

"Oh, I'm still cringing at the prices! I love my new clothes, and the whole point of my little endeavor was to jettison some of my cheap crap in favor of well-made classics, but I continue to look at some of those receipts in disbelief. (The real kicker was when my boyfriend read the paper yesterday and looked up at me and said, "You spent $2000?!" Um...)"

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 2:57PM
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Wait a minute--this lady is a fashion editor and she has that junk in her closet? No wonder they rave about stuff we wouldn't dream of wearing--they don't wear it either. All the fashionistas I know look well put together. Most have a design background, or have flair. I can't imagine anybody in that business not knowing where to shop for great stuff at bargain prices. In L.A. there are special sales to the trade in the clothing district. If you go to fashion shows you would pick up some ideas.
We just got back from a wedding in Savannah Georgia, and women in the South really know how to dress. I came back inspired. There is something about wearing make-up, earrings and cute shoes with simple outfits that is classic. That doesn't take a personal shopper.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 5:52PM
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I would be willing to spend almost $3,000 if I could come away from the experience with some clothing which looked good on me, met my needs for easy care and comfort, as well as being versatile. Except for the one pair of $245 slacks, it doesn't sound like she really got much help for the money.

I have the good old apple shape and I've honestly not seen a woman with my body type who I thought looked attractive in her clothing. We just look like this ball on toothpicks.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 2:25AM
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I've recently gone on a shopping excursion--almost no clothes for the coming seasons. There are several things I bought that I am having second thoughts about. I am please with a pant suit and some seperates. It seems whenever I DO have clothes sometimes I can't think about what to put with what. Somedays I am creative and clothes tuned and other days I am hopeless. I've started making cheat sheets. For me (especially in nice weather) there is nothing worse than being forced to come inside, clean up and get dressed for something I'd rather not attend. My cheat sheets are meant to make it easy to get ready with as little effort as possible. I still need to fill in with an item here or a shoe there. I'm planning to keep an eye on which items I wear the most and why. I don't have a personal shopper but I'd like to get this clothes thing nailed down. I want to feel comfortable, look good, appropriate, not waste money or time--not asking too much?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 8:24AM
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I am not a fashinista by any means! In the last ten years -- I've worn nothing but turtlenecks, jeans, tees and sweatshirts.

Then last year -- I went from a size 14-16 to a size 3. And I remembered the lessons of the past.

Never buy anything -- unless you can wear it with 3 other things in your wardrobe -- RIGHT NOW! Not later when you buy that pink shirt or the lime capris.

And learn your personality style for clothing. I would love to wear long flowing skirts that are shown this year. But I am not 5' tall -- I have a very tailored personality -- so the simpler, the better. So the long flowing skirts --- would be a huge mistake, sitting in my closet, waiting for the Goodwill bag to come along.

I shop only thrift store and consignment shops -- it is really possible to look great on $200 -- not $2000. But you have to go in with a very critical eye. I hate to shop so I go for about an hour --every two or three weeks. If I shop anymore than that -- I get discouraged and make judgement errors.

The cheat sheet is a great idea. I also organize my closet like a clothing store. My daughters die laughing but I can pick out an outfit in a second. Shirts are arranged light to dark -- short sleeve to long sleeve -- solids to stripes to plaids. Tees are folded in clear boxes -- again by color and by sleeve length.

NOW --- if the rest of my life could be so organized!!!!!


    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 9:41AM
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clink: this is good:

"Never buy anything -- unless you can wear it with 3 other things in your wardrobe -- RIGHT NOW! Not later when you buy that pink shirt or the lime capris.

"And learn your personality style for clothing."

A few other things that have helped me:

1. Know what colors look best on you and don't even bother looking at clothes that aren't in those colors (the "Color Me Beautiful" philosophy). It saves me a lot of time when I'm shopping. This also makes it more likely that new clothes will go with clothes I already have. It's really true that if you wear colors that flatter, you don't need a lot of makeup or other enhancements, so that saves time and hassle as well.

2. If you find a basic item that fits well, if possible buy at least two of the same style. Especially pants, because they are so hard to find.

3. Don't bother shopping in stores that never seem to have what you want or need. I wear a size 18, so I've come to realize I'm happier going to stores that always carry the newest things in my size and where I don't have to search through every rack to find anything. So plus-size stores and places like Target get most of my business. Department stores are usually horrible.

If I have a few hours available to shop and I go to one or two of the places where I have had success in the past and use the coupons they send me, I can usually come home with a few new outfits for less than $150. I probably do this 4 or 5 times a year. I'm also very good at returning things if, after I get them home, I realize I don't like them.

I don't bother with thrift stores because they rarely have large sizes, and it's just not worth the effort.

What really trips me up (ha) is finding shoes. I wear a size 12 now and tend to have problems unless I wear comfort-type shoes when I have to walk more than a little bit. I'm in a bit of a panic right now because I haven't found any good walking sandals for this summer yet. I have to spend at least $100 for a pair of shoes if they aren't on sale.

I organize my closet by type from left to right: sleeveless tops, short-sleeved tops, long-sleeved tops, pants, skirts, and evening wear (I need this last category because I play in concerts regularly). Sweaters that need to be folded go on a shelf over the hanging rack. Shorts, T-shirts, nightwear, and such go in dresser drawers.

DH and I share a pretty small walk-in closet that has a simple organizing system (left by the POs), and we seem to have room for all our clothes.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 11:16AM
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Harriet, if you're willing to spend $100 on each pair of shoes, have you ever considered custom shoes? I have *heard* (though I don't know if it's true) that once you get the last made, the subsequent shoes are less expensive.

When I win the lottery, that's the second thing I'm doing w/ the money (the first is hiring a valet/dresser).

I don't bother w/ thrift stores bcs they hang the clothes on the racks by color, not by size--who wants to dig through every other size in the world to find the size 12s? I don't go in there thinking, "I need a red blouse"; I go in there thinking, "what do they have in my size that I might like?" It's not mistake that every RETAIL clothing store hangs their items by size.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 11:50AM
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Clink hope all that weight loss was due to happy healthy reasons :) Congratulations.
Thanks too for the tips. I also like the wear it with three things now rule. I am very guilty of breaking this rule. I think that has contributed to my having clothes but nothing to wear syndrome.
I also organize my clothes according to color and type of clothing. I still have days (many) when I can't remember that cute combo I came up with a few days before. Pathetic!
Finding a store that seems to have clothes cut to fit your body shape and also reflect your lifestyle is a godsend. I am hoping to build around the basics I bought. Since "my store" tends to have high markups and great sales perhaps I need to shop more often but with discipline! In the past I've shopped for the bargain. It takes hours, gas and often I "settle" for an item only to find I don't wear it. I need to consider sticking with those stores I know work for me, perhaps coughing up more money initially. The benfit is more time to do things I like and having a wardrobe that works and I wear. HMMM. Sounds smart but change is hard!
Shoes-Shoes are hard, horrible. Why is it so difficult??? Too bad there isn't a personal shoe shopper. A cast could be made of your foot and they could search far and wide for comfortable, good looking, affordable shoes!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 11:52AM
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they hang the clothes on the racks by color, not by size--who wants to dig through every other size in the world to find the size 12s? I don't go in there thinking, "I need a red blouse"; I go in there thinking, "what do they have in my size that I might like?"

Department stores do this, too. Drives me nuts. And most of them don't bother to put up a sign saying what sizes each style or manufacturer's line is available in.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 12:13PM
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harriet, have you tried shoe shopping at It's an online store that describes a bit about the fit and support of each shoe. The nice thing is that they accept returns for a full year, and pay shipping both ways. They carry a huge selection so I imagine at least some of them would be in your size.

Here is a link that might be useful: Zappos

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 2:20AM
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Lena M

$250 for a sweater? Outrageous.

It would have been fun to see her go with a personal shopper to local thrift stores.


Have her work with a consultant to get a few tailor-made pieces. Go from personal design to tailor-made clothes, from the vast possibilities of fabric. (Dang I miss G street fabrics).

Here is a link that might be useful: G Street Fabrics

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 8:31AM
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liz h, I'm a pretty regular Zappos customer. I do like the customer comments feature. In fact, I just ordered some things from them yesterday. What's frustrating is that I end up spending an hour or more looking at pictures and descriptions of shoes, and then most of the time I have to return what I've ordered because it doesn't fit. Maybe now that I've accepted the fact that I need to get a size 12 rather than an 11 I will have more luck. :)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 10:27AM
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LOL! Yes, the right size definitely helps.

Harriet, I know how hard it is to fit my feet comfortably, even when I look for certain things in a shoe. The first time I ordered from Zappos, I went through the entire site and ordered every pair of low heeled sandal that I thought might possibly fit. I wouldn't have been surprised to have to return all of them. To my surprise, more of them worked than I expected, and I ended up keeping too many! They better stay in style for a l-o-n-g time, because that's my shoe budget for the next few years. :>

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 12:28AM
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One nice thing about Zappos--you can do what Liz did, and order everything, tryign it on ALL at once, and send them all back. (return shipping is free)

It's SO much easier that going to a store, where the clerk will only bring you 3 shoes, and then you have to wait 20 minutes to get a different set of 3 bcs none of these worked.

The first time I ordered from Zappos, I did what Liz did--ordered almost every possible shoe. I kept one.

But at least I ended up w/ a pair of shoes!

I also like ordering from Lands' End bcs they have all my previous orders on file, and i can say, "do you still carry that flat-front twill pants I ordered a couple of years ago?"

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 10:04AM
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