For most men, shopping in a retail setting for quality, classic clothing can be a huge challenge. Although (by and large) women have more of a handle on ways to “hack” the retail process, men can certainly shop with confidence, too.
In today’s guide, we’ll talk about the most common shopping mistakes you’ll want to avoid, and share useful tips on what you can do instead.
1. Not Shopping With A Purpose
It’s helpful to think about the reason for any purchase when you go out shopping. I find it helpful, to keep my wardrobe from bursting at the seams, to think about what this item could end up replacing. In other words, what I could remove or end up donating or selling to make room for this new piece that I am bringing in? Also, how many outfits could I end up creating by adding this item into my wardrobe? Could I use this jacket with a different pair of pants? Could I use the shirt or tie with something else for multiple outfits? How can you make things stretch? Shop smart!
I also find it helpful when shopping to imagine what I would look like in a particular outfit that I see in a magazine or on a particular mannequin. At the same time, I think about how I could break this outfit up, and how could I utilize these pieces differently than they’re being shown. Once I do that, I then know I can use this outfit for multiple purposes and it becomes much more useful in my wardrobe.
Don’t be intimidated by a large selection–shop with a purpose in mind, and you’ll be able to navigate the racks. 2. Not Doing Your Research
Let’s say, hypothetically, you happen to see a suit online, in GQ, or through Pinterest, and it happens to be retailing for about $4,500. Now, you could go directly to that designer’s website and purchase it through them immediately–or, you could also wait a little while longer and save some money. How upsetting would it be for you to find out that if you had just waited a little while longer, you could have saved nearly 50% on that outfit? I can say, with complete honesty, this has happened to me on multiple occasions and it’s extremely frustrating. Do your research!
When you see something that stands out and it’s calling your name, see where else you might be able to purchase that same item; check different websites, check different stores, look around first. You could always ask someone at the department store if there’s an upcoming sale. Maybe if you would wait a little while longer, you could also save by purchasing it through them, as well. These days, most of us carry our smartphones or some kind of smart device in our pockets nearly all the time; you can scan the barcode in nearly every store and try to find out where else that item is being sold, or even check prices.
3. Ignoring The Clearance Section
One of the main things I was taught about shopping when I was growing up was the importance of not wasting money. I remember my parents always saying “look for the best for less” or “search for the top of the line for bottom dollar”. Now, this didn’t mean that we could never spend money on nice things, but just to not go spending money frivolously on things that we just didn’t need. Many of us today want to look amazing at all times; you see people on Instagram or in-person that you would like to emulate, but it can be very expensive to stay on-trend with high quality garments all of the time.
By searching the sale or clearance section first, you might find some hidden gems that you may have otherwise overlooked. It may feel like a very slow and daunting process searching through rack after rack of things that you don’t want or feel like you don’t need, but keep going! You might find some great things there. Just remember, as we’ve said before, don’t buy something simply because it’s on sale, if it doesn’t work with your wardrobe.
Turnbull and Asser NYC 4. Not Taking Advantage Of Seasonality
Now, we’ve all been to the mall or to different stores, and seen the advertisements for the new items at the beginning of the season. I don’t know about you, but for me it can certainly be very tempting to buy all those brand new things right there, right on the spot. However, there is a way to avoid the trap of overspending–especially if you’re on a tight budget. The key is to try shopping out of season.
For example, try shopping for sweaters or coats in the midst of summer, or looking for swimming trunks when winter inventory is being introduced. By shopping this way, you will notice both the pros and the cons. The pro: by shopping for classic items, you might notice that they never go out of style. So even though they’re not necessarily trendy, you will always be fashionable. The con: you’ll likely also notice a lack of sizes or certain colors that you might be interested in–but keep in mind, this too will certainly help you save money.
5. Not Understanding Your Body Type
It’s a safe bet that all of us have a personal “style icon” or two. Maybe they’re a famous actor, maybe a magazine model, maybe even just a friend or coworker. Whoever they might be, it’s easy to admire our icons, and look up to the style example they set. I certainly know I do it all the time, usually when I flip through Instagram. We’re jumping into our imagination or envisioning ourselves in that particular outfit as that person. Although this is fun to do, it’s not realistic! Meaning, if the person that you’re looking at is more muscular, or taller, or shorter than you, the outfit they’re wearing would not translate on you.
One thing I find that’s helpful in this vein, when I am browsing through a store or a magazine, is to cover up the face, sometimes mentally or even with my hand, to give my brain an easier chance to better interpret what I would look like in that outfit. Also, take a minute and think, is that color going to complement me in the same way? Are clothes that are that tight or that loose going to look that way on me? Is this outfit simply a trend it is something that I could wear both casually and professionally for at least a year or longer? To learn how to dress for your body type, please check out our video here.
Shop window at D. Caraceni in Milan. 6. Shopping For Age-Inappropriate Clothing
I’ve worked in retail for over 15 years, and not a year has gone by without seeing someone make this extremely embarrassing mistake: wearing something that is clearly too young for them. When I was younger, I used to work at places like Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch. After I left these companies (and got older), I would still casually wear items from them; sweaters, t-shirts with obnoxiously big logos, and so on. After a while, I started to realize by looking in the mirror that I frankly looked childish by continuing to wear these brands.
Now, while working in these stores (which were mainly aimed at dressing young people), I noticed a lot of the parents were shopping there for themselves! Now, we all have the ability to choose what we want to wear each day. With that said, what we wear sets the tone for how we expect to be treated. As such, if you would like to be seen and treated as a professional in your workplace, you probably don’t want to be seen exclusively in brands known worldwide as being for high schoolers or teenagers.
Unless you’ve mastered the art of dressing outside your age bracket, you may not wind up with the desired effect!
Now, I have also seen the opposite of this problem when I worked in luxury retailers catering to a more mature client. Typically, while working in these environments, I would find myself working predominantly with men between the ages of about 40 to 60. Sometimes, when they would shop with me, they would bring their young adult children along with them–and in turn, try to dress these young adults in the same (older) fashion. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this in principle, but if it doesn’t fit your body type, it can certainly make you look a little bit older. If you happen to be someone who has a bit of a baby face and you want to dress older, go ahead–and if you want to appear younger (without looking like a teenager), that’s alright as well.
7. Too Many Opinions
No matter what your normal shopping habits might be, it can be nice to receive an opinion from those you trust regarding your potential purchases. And although opinions can be helpful, remember that the purchasing power ultimately lies with you. To avoid having to deal with too many opinions at one time, we recommend “pre-shopping.” If you have the time, browse the store beforehand or check out the store’s website, and see what they offer before you incorporate other opinions. Once you have found what interests you, we recommend narrowing down your choices to about three items.
If you shop with a large group and get nothing but praise, you won’t be able to make truly smart selections.
Later, bring in your trusted friend or family member to help you narrow down and finalize your choices. You don’t need to bring your entire family (the cat, the dog, the fish, or more) with you to the store–just the trusted people you know will give you sound advice. You may also find it frustrating to shop with many people, because it’s nearly impossible to please everyone. Ask yourself: “Are the people that I’m bringing along to help me shop, kind? Are they uplifting?” If not, you might find that a rude or impatient person will discourage you from experimenting, or they might rush you, resulting in a bad shopping experience. Conversely, someone who only gives you praise might not have a nuanced opinion, and could lead you to overspend or buy things that aren’t flattering. Find that person, that friend, that relative, who knows how to best lend their suggestion without smothering you with tips and questions.
How well do you avoid these 7 common pitfalls of retail shopping? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments below! #ReadyToWear #ShoppingMistakes #Menswear #Videos #Video