The 5 habits of highly effective shoppers

James Lin
Fashion Season Shopping

Follow these and you’d never have to feel guilty about your purchases again.

Hit the dressing room
The saying “different strokes for different folks” also holds true in fashion. Certain cuts, colours and fabrics may look great for some people and unsuitable for others.

So forget about hiring a personal shopper or Googling for hard and fast rules: There is no better or easier way to discover your sartorial disposition than old-school trial and error. You’ll find that the more you learn to style yourself, the savvier you’ll be about it in the near future.

So spend a little time in stores and try some clothes on – even those you feel may not suit your style. Who knows? You might be pleasantly surprised!

If in doubt, walk away
We’ve all been in this situation before.

You walk into a store and something catches your eye. You check out the tag and guess what? The price is right.

You try it on in the dressing room and it is perfect. Well, almost.

Maybe the checkered prints make you look like a walking chessboard, or the shade isn’t exactly right. The cut looks a little wonky and there are some hipster tatters in regions that you’d rather cover up.

At this precise moment, it would be wise to just put it back on the rack, walk out of the store and never, ever look back. In the words of American journalist Franklin P. Jones, “A bargain is something you can’t use at a price you can't resist.”

Shop with your wardrobe in mind
A good way to keep track of your fashion stash is to do an inventory, and to store the list on your email for easy access via your mobile phone. While shopping, you can check against this list for similar pieces you already own. It'll also help you visualise how that piece may complement your current wardrobe.

Have a fashion wishlist
Like New Year’s resolutions, a fashion wishlist can prove more prudent than indulgent. Take a long hard look at your wardrobe, contemplate on your desired look and hunt relentlessly for the missing pieces. For me, it is a lesser sin to splurge on a few items you really desire than to spend mindlessly on sale items.

Outwit the competition
Sale seasons always mean three things – massive discounts, oversized clothes and the “leftover pile”. So if the label on your shirt doesn’t read XXXL, you'll have better luck dropping by the stores whenever you’re in the area for the occasional sale.

You might just snap up some lovely booty that is exactly the right size, albeit at a slightly higher price. In the long term, you’ll have a more dignified wardrobe and avoid that awkward moment when your friend quips, “I almost bought this at the Great Singapore Sale too!”

A contributor who's wearing too many hats at the same time (pun intended). James lives and breathes parties, beautiful people and the intricacies of fashion.