Having an amazing collection of clothes requires some work. There are several steps to creating a wardrobe that functions effortlessly, helping you look fabulous every time you get dressed.
Many women assume that the most important part of the equation is where to buy the clothes. Actually, I don’t think this is true. I believe it’s possible to cultivate an incredible wardrobe from just about anywhere...Neiman Marcus to Goodwill.
I am regularly asked, ‘Where do you shop for clothing?’
My answer often comes as a surprise. I only shop in a limited number of stores. Why?
By limiting the number of stores, shopping takes less time and is less overwhelming.
Am I missing something amazing in one of the stores I don’t frequent? Possibly, but I’m okay with that. Too many choices is paralyzing for me. In the past, I became frozen when faced with endless options!
Fewer stores = less stress + a better wardrobe
As a general rule, I only shop in about nine stores for all of my wardrobe needs, including under garments and shoes. Nine.
Below you'll find my current list. Keep in mind that my list does change sometimes. I might seek out a new spot because of a change in lifestyle, budget or size/shape of my body. But for now, the following stores are my staples.
Nordstrom and DSW - for shoes
I like good shoes. I only wear shoes that are very comfortable from the first step. I don’t want to spend a fortune on footwear. I like a flexible return policy, in case I have an issue with fit or quality after buying.
Old Navy, Target, H&M and Forever 21- for the basics
I buy the bulk of my basics in these stores. For better or worse, they work for my current lifestyle and budget. I always look for the very best quality available in these fast-fashion spots. I consistently find items that will work with my existing wardrobe. The price points in these shops allows me to stay current each season while still having money left to buy the things my kids need for their wardrobes:-)
Anthropologie- for denim, blazers and
This one may seem obvious since as an employee, I’m eligible for a discount. I am very thankful for my Anthro discount and it allows me to purchase items I honestly might not buy without it. However, I really only buy what I absolutely love. At any price. The items I choose to purchase at Anthropologie, I would purchase at full price even if I didn’t work there.
I’m often surprised by the wide range of price points available at Anthropologie. Always check out the sale section. Often you’ll find beautiful garments for $39.95 and under.
Gap and Victoria’s Secret- for undies and bras
I am a creature of habit with regards to underwear. I also don’t want to spend a fortune on undies and bras. I tend to buy the same panty in basic colors when there is a promotion. I love VS’s 7 for $25 deals!
Bras are tough for me. I’ve nursed three babies and I’ve been informed by those who fit women for bras that my ‘fullness is on the bottom’. That’s a nice way of saying I have ‘very small breasts that have sagged’.
I can usually count on finding good quality bras and panties at these two retailers.
If I find myself shopping for fun, I will occasionally check out what’s new in some other stores.
I’ve learned that the stores below don’t really work for either my body, style or budget, but I am inspired by their displays...
Small, hip boutiques
There are some women who buy almost everything for their wardrobe in one store. Those women often dislike shopping or have extreme brand loyalty. No problem. If that’s your way and it works for you, stick with it.
However, it seems that most women tend to spend exhaustive hours trolling their local malls and visiting many, many different stores. There is a definite FOMO that compels women to hit every store that could possibly carry something they might want to wear.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the time or the energy for that approach.
I want to find great pieces and get on with my life!
So, I’ve edited the list of stores where I regularly shop. It’s a small, dependable handful that works for me. Only shopping in a few favorite stores, allows me to assess collections quickly and easily...purchasing only what I need and love.
Why create your own short list of favorite stores?
Saves time - This method beautifully limits the time you spend shopping because you aren’t roaming all over the mall, combing every rack in the entire place. There's simplicity in a tight selection of stores that you know carry pieces that work for you.
Saves money - You'll benefit from customer loyalty programs and discounts as well as early notification of sales. Fewer options means slighter chance of buying something you'll later regret. Stick with what you know and love.
Saves energy - It’s mentally exhausting to search through piles and rows of clothing to find a few great pieces. Having too many choices leads to decision fatigue...the very real problem of depleting your power to make a decision.
How to decide which stores to include in your list?
If you aren’t a seasoned shopper, you’ll need to be patient while you learn which stores are your best fit for lifestyle, budget and body type.
Look in your closet and evaluate your current wardrobe.
Answer the following questions...
What are your favorite pieces?
Which pieces have the best shape/fit for your body?
What items don’t really work for you?
Which pieces aren’t very good quality/aren’t lasting?
Which garments gather the most compliments?
Next, note where you purchased the pieces you listed above. Most women notice a pattern…
All my coolest t-shirts came from:
The jeans that fit me best are from:
Garments that aren’t holding up so well are from:
My most comfortable clothings/shoes are all from:
Your answers will be the beginning of your very own...
Short List of Favorite Stores!
Still building your Short List? Use what you've learned through the exercise above to streamline your next shopping trip. Start by shopping in your go-to stores first.
If you’re not finding everything you need, check out one additional store. Not every store in the mall, just one. Become familiar with what that 'extra' store offers and how their merchandise works for you. Then, decide if it makes your list.
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Have questions about specific stores or where to find something?
I’m happy to help if I can. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks so much for being here.
Hello, I'm Kristen.
As a personal stylist,