Watching the 2010 Winter Olympics, I noticed a key sporting event missing. It involves speed, agility, physical strength, creativity, vision and attitude. If it were an Olympic sport, I would win a gold medal. It’s what I call speed shopping. Don’t believe me? Just try shopping for a new wardrobe in two hours or less with a heavy purse on one shoulder, three shopping bags draped over the other and ten hangers in hand. Add a giant winter coat, an overheated store, long wait lines, snappy sales associates and fellow bargain-hungry consumers &- and you won’t be a naysayer much longer. The reality is while we’re more style savvy than ever, our hectic lives leave us little time to indulge in shopping. So, we fashion junkies must resort to speed shopping. Over the years, I’ve spent time honing this skill and I’ve become quite the expert. Here are some of my tips to make the experience less painful.
1. Have a store plan. Before hitting the stores, have a list of three to six you absolutely want to frequent. If there’s time in the end, you can go to others, but if not &- do not deviate from the plan. It’s best to set aside extra time another day, rather than rush through a bunch of stores and land up with nothing in the end.
2. Make a list of what you need. Apart from knowing what stores you want to visit, it helps to know what items you intend on buying. Not only will you avoid impulse buys this way (not a good idea), but you’ll be more likely to stick to your budget and won’t wander around the store aimlessly and waste precious time.
3. Bring only what you need. Extra items in your purse or anywhere on your person will only weigh you down and slow you down. It can also cause back pain which leads to crabbiness.
4. Be awake. Speed shopping isn’t for the weak. You must be extremely alert in order to be effective and efficient in your decision-making. So, be sure to get a good night’s rest before, and please don’t speed shop hungover &- big mistake.
5. Wear appropriate clothing. Do not underestimate how important dressing appropriately is for a successful speed shopping expedition. If you’re shopping in winter, keep in mind it’s warm inside stores and it’s best to wear lightweight clothing that breathes well instead of a bulky knits. Second, how often have you wanted to try on a blazer or cardigan but had to wait twenty minutes in line because you weren’t wearing something that would enable you to try it on in the middle of the store? For this reason, don’t wear tops that don’t unzip and always wear a camisole. Also, always wear underwear (don’t be gross) and don’t wear a dress because if you want to try on a blouse, you’ll have to try on a pair of pants as well and that takes time.
6. Don’t forget footwear. If there’s one thing that can make or break your speed shopping trip, it’s uncomfortable shoes. Face it: if you can’t walk fast, or if your feet kill, how are you supposed to shop fast?
7. Shop alone or with someone you trust. If your shopping companion is slow or doesn’t give their honest opinion, you don’t need them. Invite them shopping when you have additional time.
8. Check out return policies. Although the point is to buy wisely and only what you need, everyone makes mistakes and sometimes you can’t avoid having to return something. Credit notes are easy to lose and annoying if you don’t shop at that store often. Save yourself the hassle and check the return policies of stores before whipping out your credit card.
9. Have a water bottle and snack handy. You will need sustenance along the way and you’re likely to get hot even if you’re wearing proper attire. Instead of spending time searching for a place to buy a water bottle or a quick snack, pack it with you.
10. Have fun. It’s shopping after all.