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Shopping for Clothes without Trying Them on

Whether you’re short on time, too modest to disrobe in front of strangers or simply hate dressing rooms, shopping for clothes without trying them on is something that any and every good stylist will tell you not to do. It’s a risk that can come with frustrating consequences and ruin a shopping experience. However, I know how you can avoid all that.

Now, I’m no stylist. But I do consider myself an expert shopper and I am also a mature, experienced woman (ahem, that’s code for “I’m in my 40s”) with years and years of shopping experience under my designer belt. I can, with great confidence, tell you that you can have a successful shopping adventure without trying on your purchases before paying for them. I do it almost all the time and it works out for me. Here’s how:

1. I know my size. From jeans to dresses to tops, I know my size in everything – including U.K. and Italian apparel. About 90% of the time, I can just rely on the little number on the tag and know that it’ll fit.

First thing first, get to know your size and accept it. We all gain weight over the years. It’s natural, common and nothing to be ashamed of. If you’ve gained weight, don’t be so hard on yourself. Love your body. Love your new size. Get to know it intimately and accept it.

Your size is established by your measurements. So find some time and privacy to measure your body and use the following link to accurately discover your size: www.womenssizechart.com.  While you’re at it, take note of your size in other countries, because some of your most favorite fashion finds will be imported from outside the U.S. – especially if you’re a fashion forward gal.

2. I know the best fashion styles for my body. Wrap or faux wrap dresses and blouses look amazing on me. (Actually, they look amazing on all figures.) I know that scoop necks and V-necks are best for me. I know that I have to be careful with pants because I have a big booty. I know my body’s best features and its challenges. And I stick with what I know.

Do you know what styles complement your frame best? If you aren’t there yet, don’t start shopping for clothes without trying them on until you are really familiar with the best cuts for your figure. Take some time to visit your favorite department store and try on all styles and silhouettes of dresses, tops, skirts and pants. Take note of what looks best on you and what styles to stay away from.

3. I know how the various brands and designers fit my figure. For example, while I’m normally a dress size 10, I can actually wear an 8 in Michael Kors and Diane von Furstenberg. But if it’s Marc Jacobs, I have to go up to a size 12. I also know that Shoshana is cut for my curves perfectly, while I’m way too curvy for Halston.

If you follow my advice and take the time to try on various styles and silhouettes at a major department store, then you should also try on various designers and brands from high to low. Get to know which labels are best for your body.

4. I always carry a measuring tape with me. The devil is in the details, ladies. So once you complete step 1 (getting to know your size), take note of your measurements and keep a measuring tape in your handbag when you’re shopping. This way you can easily measure waist and bust sizes and hem lengths before making a decision to purchase.

5. I bargain shop. This way if I pay $15 for a pair of designer pants that I found at Savers and it turns out they don’t fit, I’m only out $15 – although I will more than likely take them to Buffalo Exchange to see if I can get my $15 back or just auction them off on eBay for a profit. When you bargain shop, the benefits outweigh the risks.

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3 Responses to “Shopping for Clothes without Trying Them on”

  1. I hate trying clothes on so thanks for the awesome tips!

  2. I totally agree with the measuring tape tip, I always have one with me.
    I’m no stylist either, but I could be and I’ve been working as a wardrobe buyer for a couple of years so I definitely developped an eye for picking clothes up without trying them on! Well, I usually buy clothes for other people, but now I can use the skill for myself as well. And if I’m not sure, I always go for the bigger size! You can always alter a dress that’s too loose or put an insole in a shoe that’s too big, but try solving the issue the other way round!

    • Laura

      Thanks, Elisa. I LOVE your tip about buying the larger size and having it tailored. Thanks for sharing that!