While your online shopping through my affiliate links helps support my business – and I’m SO grateful! – I’m quite aware that many of my readers still do a lot of clothes shopping in store. Me, too! I used to be able to shop all day and still have energy left over to cook dinner for my family and throw in a load of laundry. But the older I get the tired-er I get! So I want to shop smart when I head out looking for something new to wear. I know you do, too, so today I’m sharing smart tips for clothes shopping in store.
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Recently I headed to Talbots to select a few new and fun, summery styles for my vacation to Maine. I thought this would be a good time to document my shopping trip for you, so I took along my hunky photographer, a.k.a. my husband, and jotted down a few notes as I went. I honestly stuck to my usual best practices and that’s exactly what I’m sharing with you. When I shop with a purpose like this I rarely end up returning anything and I enjoy the selections I’ve purchased for years to come.
Here’s how it works…
My Smart Tips for Clothes Shopping In Store
1 – Evaluate your wardrobe needs first.
Whether you’re shopping for your seasonal wardrobe or a special event, make sure you know what you do have and what you’re missing. Don’t assume you still have that basic white tee, for instance, that you wore last summer. Make sure it’s still in your closet and in good order.
Make a list of items you 1) definitely need to add to your wardrobe (the essentials) and 2) those you are considering adding to your wardrobe. This second category may include new trends , seasonal colors or modern iterations of the classics you already love.
2 – Peruse the Store’s Website or Catalog First
When I receive my new Talbots catalog in the mail it’s akin to when my Seventeen magazine used to arrive all those years ago. Anybody??? I pour over it and enjoy every page. It’s pure eye candy!
But if I’m going to the store to shop, I take another more serious look at my catalog. Simultaneously I get on the Talbots website on my phone. I enter the item numbers of my favorite items from the catalog into the search engine on the website. That way I can see the styles I love in other colors and prints.
PRO TIP: I take the time to read the item’s features and the fit and material information. And, if they’re available, I read the customer reviews and questions/answers. That’s information that is not as accessible in store.
This step is crucial. And it’s one that Talbots excels at. I personally love that they still have a paper catalog and that they provide so much helpful information on their website. Definitely take advantage of those resources.
3 – Schedule a Style by Appointment
Did you know that you can schedule an appointment with an experienced stylist at Talbots? And it’s absolutely FREE and so much fun. I’ve actually been doing this for years…even before I began blogging. And before you even ask, no. The sales associates are not pushy. I’ve worked with several, from Arizona to Texas to Georgia to Ohio, and they’ve all been gracious and helpful, but never pushy.
This is a service that definitely sets Talbots apart from other retailers I frequent. In fact, you can build a rapport with your stylist and request her or him every time you go in to shop. And they’ll often send you notices about upcoming style events and special offers.
I’ll tell you more about my recent Style by Appointment, but first a few more preparations before you begin shopping in store.
4 – Shop Online First
Because Talbots and most other brands do not carry all of their merchandise in every boutique, I think it’s smart to start your shopping online. Not only can your purchase things that are available online only, but, but you can usually also shop your local store online.
For instance, I purchased a couple of dresses from Talbots last weekend when they were marked down for a Flash Sale (watch for those online only offers frequently on Sunday afternoons!). Because I selected the “Free Curbside or In Store Pickup” option on the website, and then put in my zip code, I was able to see that these dresses were not available in my size in my local store. But I didn’t want to miss out on them, so I ordered them. I even paid for faster delivery because I wanted to have them for my Style by Appointment. More on that in a bit!
But other items that I was interested in were in my store. So I added these to my Talbots Wish List and made it public so that my Talbots stylist could have access to it for my appointment. So when you do make a styling appointment, make sure you let your stylist know that you’ve filled a Wish List for her to use. She’ll add other things to your fitting room, too. But when you arrive at your appointment she’ll have pulled everything you “wished for” in your chosen sizes.
5 – Dress smart and take a few essentials with you to your style appointment.
I suggest wearing something that is easy to get in and out of. Duh. But you also might want to wear some pants or jeans or a skirt that will pair easily with tops you wish to try. For my Style by Appointment with Talbots I wore my black ankle length travel pants, a striped top with an easy-on-easy-off ballet neckline and black leather slides.
But I also suggest you carry along some essentials that will help you better visualize your new finds on you. I carried along gold metallic sandals and silver metallic sandals since I was looking for styles to wear for summer vacation. But other options to consider would be nude pumps or flats, sneakers or classic loafers.
6 – Make the most of your shopping in store experience.
When I arrived at my Style by Appointment I was greeted by Blake, my stylist and the sales manager at my local Talbots in Cincinnati. She had already messaged me to find out my favorite beverage to have on hand, so I found a chilled diet cola in my fitting room. You might think that was because I’m a blogger and had a sponsored post to write. But I’ve received similar treatment every time I’ve made a Style by Appointment at Talbots.
More importantly she had pulled a large – but not overwhelming – selection of styles for me to try. This was a mix of things she’d seen on my wish list and items she had a hunch I’d like if I tried them on.
PRO Tip: When you allow a store associate to help you select items to try on, you really do yourself a service. They’ll undoubtedly choose some items you never would have considered trying. And in my experience, they’re correct more than not!
Blake shared the items with me and how she envisioned them working together. She had not only pulled clothing, but also accessories and shoes for me to try. Then she let me get to work trying them on.
One of my common practices is to take mirror selfies as I try clothes on. This helps me to remember what things looked like at the end of my appointment or try-on session without having to put them on again. Who’s got the time or energy for that?!? So this time Blake too photos of me as I tried on the items.
PRO Tip: Whether you have a Style by Appointment or are just shopping on your own, do your best to try on complete outfits, not just singular items. Even if you don’t purchase everything in the outfit, it helps you to visualize how the selected items work with things in your own closet and how you can style them to fit your body.
Don’t forget to accessorize the items you consider purchasing. Blake helped me choose these earrings that will go with everything I’m taking on vacation. And she found me this hat that will be versatile, too.
As you try things on, remove anything from the fitting room that you know you don’t want. One of the beauties of having a Style by Appointment at Talbots is that the stylist offers frequently to remove unwanted items…and she doesn’t question your decisions. Blake loved everything I put on…as did I, but she helped me to eliminate items so that I could more clearly see the collection that was really working best for me.
PRO Tip: Don’t hesitate to let your stylist or sales associate know your budget for the shopping trip, whether it’s big or small. I’ve found that I actually am more prone to stay within my budget when I am up front about it because then I have someone in my corner helping me stick to it.
With Blake’s help I was able to stay within my budget and put together a beautiful mix and match capsule wardrobe for my vacation to Maine (which I’m on right now!). And I came away with items I probably wouldn’t have tried on without her encouragement, but I was so glad I did. She shared with me additional ways to wear the items, too.
As I left my appointment I felt so good about my purchases. And I knew I’d developed a relationship with a smart young woman who will reach out to me again when new collections come in at Talbots or sales pop up. I’ll definitely call on her when I’m looking for something in particular and I can count on her knowing enough about me to help me select new styles that fit my lifestyle and preferences.
I’ve filled a shopping widget with the items I came home with from my Style by Appointment. And I’ll be sharing more about these in an upcoming video and on Instagram. So be sure to follow me on Instagram to see how I style them for my vacation.
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Blessed for My Day
What a good heart our Lord has! While our sin does offend Him, it did not close His heart to us. Instead, He reached beyond the chasm that separates us and extended grace and mercy. He loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to the world to die for those sins and open the door for a restored relationship. Then He sent His Holy Spirit into the world to draw us to Him. Amazing.
Let’s be sure to share this good news with the hurting world around us. Sometimes the ugliness of this world repulses me, quite honestly. It disappoints me and causes me to want to withdraw from it. But according to our scripture today, that is not what God would want me to do. I believe He has sent us into the world, likewise, to share this amazing gift of salvation and restoration with the people around us. Let’s ask Him to soften our hearts, if needed, and to empower and embolden us to share the good news liberally.
For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. ~ John 3:17