Shopping for clothes

pobody:

thaxted:

realsocialskills:

Hello, thank you for running this blog. I was wondering if you have any ideas on how to make shopping for clothes less overwhelming? I almost never buy new clothes until mine are full of holes because of a few reasons, but mostly because I get stressed out in clothing stores and even while shopping online because of how many things there are. Thank you!
realsocialskills said:
Shopping for clothing is hard, particularly for women. I don’t have a complete solution, but I do have some ideas:
Pay attention to sensory overload:
  • Most stores that sell clothing are also very overloading on a number of levels
  • It might be helpful to listen to music on headphones while you shop
  • Pay attention to which stores are more overloading, and try to shop at the ones that are easier to deal with
  • When you get overloaded or overwhelmed, it can be really helpful to stop and hold onto something solid (eg: a clothing rack, a shopping cart) for a couple of minutes until you feel more grounded

It might be helpful to have someone shop with you

  • Some people get distracted and overloaded alone, but not with other people
  • Sometimes another person can help you narrow down decisions
  • Sometimes another person can notice signs of overload and help you come out of it
  • Sometimes just having someone else there can make it easier to have perspective
  • This doesn’t work for everyone, and for some people having someone else can make it worse. But it works really well for some people

When you find something you like, buy more than one of it

  • Then when it wears out or is in the wash or whatever, you’ll still have one
  • If you want one, you probably want more than one
  • Clothing is easier when a lot of it is the same
  • If you are a woman and will be socially penalized for wearing the same shirts style all the time, you can sometimes fix this by having a lot of scarves and wearing a different one every day.

Notice brands you like

  • If you like a particular brand, it’s likely that you’ll keep liking stuff from that brand even as they change it
  • The same brands are usually in the same places in the store
  • And if not, you can look for them on purpose instead of being completely overwhelmed by all the options

Different kinds of stores are different, and some might be more or less overloading:

  • For instance, The Burlington Coat Factory has racks where all the skirts in a particular range of sizes are. And then you can flip through.
  • Most other stores have racks with one particular thing in several different sizes, organized by designer and loosely organized be levels of fanciness
  • Depending on how you think, one or the other style of store might be dramatically easier for you to deal with
  • For instance, if I know that I want a shirt, I usually find it easier to go to a store that has all the shirts in my size in one place.
  • If I need various different pieces of clothing, I often find it easier to go to a store that’s organized by brand, so I can get various things in a brand I know I like

Some stores have people who can help you shop

  • This seems like it is probably helpful to some people, but as of yet, I am not one of those people, so I can’t tell you much about it
  • I am hoping other people will have more of a sense of how this can be helpful

Do any of y’all have suggestions about making clothes shopping manageable? 

thaxted said:

In addition to all the good tips above:

Stores are busy at different times of day and of the week. When my work schedule is flexible (it isn’t always), I try to shop early in the day on week days when there are fewer people around, and avoid crowded weekend afternoons and evenings. Less noise, less accidental contact, less competition for dressing rooms, more chill environment overall.

I’m learning some sewing basics and putting patches on the wear-spots in my jeans and sewing up tears in my shirts so I can get a few more months out of them before going through the shopping ordeal again.

Checking the sizes on my clothes/writing them down before I go out so that I can grab things of the same brand off the rack/shelf and know exactly what size I need instead of having to try them on all over again (only works with the same brand because different brands of the same labelled size can have a totally different fit).

If I don’t know what size I need, grabbing multiple versions of the same thing in different sizes so I can try them all on and not have to keep going back for more. I start with the biggest size and work my way down because it’s easier to deal with putting on something that’s too big than something that’s too small.

It’s never not stressful—this is just how I minimize the likelihood of having a panic attack and needing to leave. :(

pobody said:

online shopping can be overwhelming and complicated, especially if you have to deal with shipping costs, but it does have its benefits

  • most stores have e-mail newsletters you can sign up for if you don’t mind spam, so if you know a store that carries lots of stuff you like you can stay on top of what kinds of deals they’re having (this is especially helpful if it’s a place that’s normally a bit out of your price range)
  • similarly, some places have points cards or membership programs that offer you exclusive discounts and coupons
  • lots of stores have terrible websites, but lots are easy to navigate. sifting through them can be time consuming and overwhelming, so just check once in a while when you find somewhere you like to shop. if you use the site often, it will become easier.
  • if you tend to put off buying clothes and end up having to run to the store because your last pair of pants gave up, e-mails help notify you when your favourite style is available/on sale, so you can stock up, or just remind you that spring is coming and you might need a new rain jacket or something
  • (you should definitely wait to buy seasonal things if you can though, because stores always put winter stuff on sale to make room for summer stuff, and vice versa)
  • a lot of websites have an option to check availabilities in your local store, so if you know what style and colour you want ahead of time you can look it up so you don’t have to go store-to-store
  • you can also do this over the phone if that’s what you prefer, and this way you can probably ask the sales associate to put the item on hold for you
  • if you’re going to buy something online that you haven’t tried on, make sure to check the returns policy

i sometimes make a list of things i want before i go shopping, and usually end up keeping it on hand for weeks or months so when i happen to be near a clothing store i like, i can pull it out of my purse and say “oh right, i wanted pink socks and cardigans” so i don’t end up wandering aimlessly through the store. this works on a piece of paper or a smart phone.

if i’m shopping alone, i like to take photos with my phone of everything i like, or what i try on in dressing rooms. i might send these to a friend to decide if i’ll buy it then and there, or if i’m not set on buying something i might just go home and look at the photos again later. you can also take a picture of the price tag, so you can do some budgeting later if you need to.