Clothes shopping is actually incredibly simple if you keep in mind that you’re building a wardrobe, not simply purchasing a sweater or an outfit. Of course by now you should have guessed that I’ll be recommending a professional. The good news is, you don’t have to pay for a professional wardrobe consultant (unless you have the money and the wardrobe – then by all means).
Most major department stores offer a free personal shopper (the catch is – it’s polite to actually buy something). Simply call the store and make an appointment. They will ask some details about what you’re looking for and your size then they’ll shop for you ahead of time and take you to a private area to try the items on. They should also give you an honest opinion but remember to take your own counsel as well.
This will be cheaper if you pick one neutral color (black, grey, brown, white) and build around it. When money allows, you can build a second wardrobe around a second neutral color.
Buy the best quality basics you can afford (i.e., black heels, black skirt, white blouse) and buy one or two “fashionable” items each season to keep your look current.
Know what colors and styles look good on you and buy only within that range. It doesn’t matter if that sweater is an amazing deal if you don’t look good in baby blue. You’ll end up hating it or worse, wearing it and looking bad.
Only buy items that fit you well or can be minimally altered to fit you. Most major department stores have a tailor on staff or find an independent one that you trust. A good tailor is worth their weight in gold.
When you shop, don’t look at the price tag. Take the item into the dressing room, try it on and ask yourself what you’d pay for it (keep in mind that you have to be able to afford it). Then take a look at the price tag. Is it under what you guessed? You might want to buy it if it fits into your wardrobe. Is if over what you guessed? It goes back on the rack.
It is better to have a smaller, more versatile wardrobe than a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. Don’t forget that when you come upon a combination that you love, take a photo of it for future reference and quick dressing.