Shops may be (slowly) opening once again, but shopping right now is still quite a different experience to the pre-coronavirus style we’re used to.
From socially distanced queues and one-way systems round the aisles to closed-off changing rooms, it’s going to be challenging to buy clothes without immediate buyer’s remorse.
How do you make sure clothes fit you when you can’t try them on? And how can you make sure you spend wisely when you’re being carefully herded around a store, knowing that to get another go you’ll need to brave a massive queue again?
Handily, personal stylist Susie Hasler, who runs Styled By Susie, has shared her tips for successful clothes shopping amid Covid-19.
Make a list and stick to it
‘It might sound a little OTT, but the better prepared you are to hit the shops, the less time you’ll spend browsing and lingering in stores,’ says Susie. ‘Once you’ve made it into the shop of your choice, the last thing you’ll want to do is forget some of the items you wanted to buy, or just grab what you think will work – as I guarantee it will result in you having to make a second trip to return items.
‘Before heading to the shops, you must make a plan.
A list is your friend. Have a specific idea in mind of what you want to shop for. Take a look through your wardrobe beforehand and identify any gaps you have.
‘Do you have lots of lovely summer skirts but no tops to go with them? If so, make a note of the colours of the skirts and which hues would complement them. Or do you need summer shoes? Have a style in mind – do you want flats, or sandals or wedges or trainers?
‘Add all these items to a list, so that the items you will be buying will make a complete outfit.
‘Then write down a list of shops you want to go to. Browse online to see whether they have anything you particularly like, and want to see ‘in the flesh’. Take some screenshots on your phone so that you have everything at your fingertips, and you can easily find items when in store.’
Wear something comfy
You’re going to be queuing for longer than usual – to get into the shops and to pay, too.
Wear comfortable shoes and bring snacks and water, just in case.
Take your measurements
As most stores’ sizes come up differently, and you won’t be able to try on items in shops, finding something that fits is going to be tricky.
Susie recommends taking your measurements before you hit the shops, taking note of your leg length, hips, waist, shoulders and bust. Then cross-reference these with size charts of the shops you plan to visit online, again making note so you can easily check when you’re in the shop.
It’s also helpful to look through your wardrobe and check what sizes you’ve bought from different stores, so you can make a note of whether they run a touch too small or are massively oversized.
‘It’s probably wise to play it safe and head to familiar stores while changing rooms are closed,’ Susie adds.
‘Shops such as Zara, H&M and Mango are less generous with their sizing, compared to Next and M&S. This means you might need to size up once or even twice.
‘Also check that the size noted on the hanger is the same as what’s on the label – there’s nothing more frustrating than buying an item only to find it has been placed on the wrong hanger!
‘If you’ve measured yourself at home, pop a tape measure in your bag and compare the items of clothes you want to buy to ensure they’ll fit without having to try them on.’
Check your store’s return terms
Many shops have extended their returns and refunds deadlines, knowing that with changing rooms closed, people may need to exchange items that end up not fitting properly.
Check this in advance – and see if your chosen shops allow you to return items by post, which will save you an additional trip.
If your chosen store has an easy (and free) returns system, you can bypass the changing room dithering by just grabbing different sizes of the same item, taking them home to try them on, then sending the one that doesn’t fit back.
Don’t allow random impulse buys
‘Shopping post-pandemic means an end to hours of browsing – for now,’ says Susie. ‘You’ll also want to shop effectively, which is also good for the environment, and that means not just grabbing items of clothing for which you don’t have an outfit in mind.
‘I have carried out hundreds of wardrobe declutters on women who have countless items still with the labels on as when they got them home, they realised they had nothing to wear them with.
‘You may opt for a pretty printed skirt, but when you get it home you realise you have nothing to wear with it.
‘Not having enough basic items is the reason behind the saying “I have too many clothes but nothing to wear”.
‘Basics are “boring” items – the T-shirts, vests, cardigans and knitwear – that act as the glue to pull so many more outfits together.
‘A basic white T-shirt, for example, can be worn with jeans, with a co-ord suit, tucked into a pleated skirt or under a pair of dungarees. Just that one T-shirt will give you at least four different outfits!
‘You can’t beat a basic, and if you aim to stock up on vest tops and tees, you can be safe in the knowledge that they will go with anything you wear on the bottom half. ‘
The best shops for your body shape, according to Susie:
- Next: They will work well for your curvy hips as their jeans will fit well on the waist too. They are also great for smart trousers and summer shorts.
- H&M: Great for tops that show off your lovely delicate shoulders and décolletage. Look for ones with detail on the shoulders and pretty prints
- River Island: Their jeans will work well for your shape and they offer a great online Curve range if you’re above a size 18.
- Next: Great for Jeans and basics that don’t cling to the tummy
- Mint Velvet: A higher price point but their clothes flatter curves as well as a fuller bust.
- Topshop: Their jeans work well for your curvaceous shape and will fit well on the hips as well as the waist. You may need to size up as Topshop sizing isn’t too generous!
- Dorothy Perkins: Their dresses work well for hourglasses as they accentuate your waist and skim over the hips.
- Zara and H&M work well for jeans and trousers because they are cut a little narrower on the hips.
- H&M is great for rectangle shapes as they are cut well for their silhouette and they usually have a great choice of prints, patterns and fabrics. Try their slacks trousers which will fit well on your hips.
- Mango is great if you like a more simple, chic look and it’s affordable too. Perfect for rectangle shaped ladies.
- New Look: Great for skirts that are cut a little narrower on the hips, therefore showing off your narrowest point.
- Hush: A higher price point but their dresses and tops are cut generously for the strawberry top half.
- River Island: Their jeans will show off those killer legs. Choose light colours and rips.
- Warehouse: Great for tops and blouses that fit well on broader shoulders and a fuller bust. You may have to size up.
Unfortunately the in-store ranges are sparse for plus-sized ladies but there are many options online which work so well for my clients. Most shops have an online Curve range. Some of my favourites include:
- Mango Violeta Range, New Look Curve, Very Curve, River Island Plus and Dorothy Perkins Curve
- Yours Clothing for plus-sized ladies. It’s not a visually appealing shop but the clothes are great
- Evans has also become better in recent years and they are brilliant for stylish shoes in a wide fitting size
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article