I have spent the past decade shopping professionally.
No, really. Between wardrobe styling or selling vintage clothes, heading into a retail outlet has been part of my job. When I shop for someone else, I consider the present life and wardrobe my client needs. I am practical and diplomatic. However, when I shop for myself, I think of shopping for my past, present and future, because even your wardrobe can turn into a Charles Dickens tale. What do I mean by fashion’s past, present and future? It’s not easy to explain and it may never be, but if you are a power shopper, you will understand my theory. If you are not, let’s proceed with caution.
Fashion’s past is easy, and it also merges into present and future. When I am on the hunt for a vintage piece, I know that it was once owned and produced in an era I am no longer a part of. But with the power of styling, I can make this piece new again. Whether for a client or me, acquiring a vintage piece incorporates a sense of modernity (aka present) and trends representing fashion’s future.
When it comes to the present, I am more hesitant, probably as a result of my frugality and my refusing to pay retail. In a traditional retail outlet, warm clothes are in the store as early as March, and retailers want customers to buy not because we may have a massive climate change, retailers want you to buy that off season item so they can get maximum profit. Genius, right? Well, the real genius is the person who has enough discipline, to wait for that piece to be mark downed in the actual season. Unless, I’ve lost my luggage, you will never see me buying a swimsuit in late winter or early spring. Same goes for heavy clothing in late July. I mark my shopping seasons with two holidays, Independence Day for summer clothes and Martin Luther King’s Day for winter clothes.
Fashion’s future is tricky, but again, it too takes from the ideas in past and present. Shop for what you know will take place. Unless you live in a social Diaspora, there will be special occasions. So if you see a great dress at a great price, buy it then rather than when such event comes up. You’ll pay an arm and a leg and work from a selection you won’t like as much. Same goes for professional clothes. There are always interviews and presentations, get that suit, you will always be prepared and looking great.
In closing, fashion may not be as spooky as The Christmas Story, there no ghosts or Scrooges but the insight to looking great and always being prepared with a great outfit, has to keep your pockets full and your wardrobe on point.
What rules do you follow when clothing shopping?
Native New Yorker Shaunya is the owner and curator of VintageShaun, a collection of vintage clothing with a contemporary vision that has been featured in NBC’s The Today Show. She is a longtime Goodwill fan and style expert. Last May, Shaunya collaborated in Goodwill’s Spring Fling the Excess, our Earth Day/spring cleaning promotion. Most recently, she styled models for Goodwill Suits You, a fashion show to mark October, National Disability Employment Awareness month.
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