I’m not someone who enjoys spending time shopping for clothes. When I need to update, enhance, or replace items in my wardrobe, I write the information down on a list that I keep on my computer. Then, usually twice a year, I will go shopping to collect the items I need from my list.
In every sense, I am a utilitarian shopper.
One of the frustrating things about being a utilitarian shopper, however, is that fashion trends and my list usually don’t mesh well together. Styles, cuts, and colors change from season to season, and I don’t keep up on these things so it takes me days to find matches for my list.
Recently, I discovered that I can greatly improve my shopping experience with the help of a store’s personal shopper. In every case I have encountered, the service has been free. And, in all but one case, when I offered the shopper a tip, the shopper refused to take it. Free help is my kind of help!
Here’s how it works: You put together a list of what you’re looking for and take your measurements. Then, call your favorite department store and ask to speak to a personal shopper. The shopper will ask you basic questions about your life and your price range, and then you give him or her your list and measurements. You’ll also set an appointment for when you will come in to meet with the personal shopper. At your scheduled time, you arrive and the personal shopper will have clothes already pulled for you that you can try on and see if you like. You have no obligation to buy any of the clothes, and the shopper sticks around while you’re trying on items to see if you need different sizes or different cuts. Usually, at least some of the pieces work, and you’re out the door and on your way home in half the time of a normal shopping experience.
I’ve even tried this process in shops that don’t officially have personal shoppers. When a clerk in the store asks if he or she can help me, I whip out my list and discuss what I’m looking to buy. Nine times out of 10, the clerk will ask you about your size and then go and find some pieces for you. I’ve even had clerks tell me to go ahead and make my way to the fitting room and they brought the items to me. The clerks know their merchandise and find items much more quickly then someone coming into the store.
I also feel that I dress a little more hip now than I used to. The personal shoppers and clerks know the latest trends much better than I do, and they always seem to find things that flatter my body better than I find when I’m left to search a store on my own. For a utilitarian shopper like myself, a personal shopper saves me time and energy when I need new pieces for my wardrobe.
And, it should go without saying, but only use these services when you need to replace or improve your wardrobe. I like to follow the one-in-one-out philosophy with clothes: If I bring something new into my wardrobe, at least one old piece in my current collection has to go to charity or the rag bag.