As author of a style blog, I love to shop. Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to tailor my shopping experience to create maximum pleasure and minimal frustration. The key to fun, stress-free shopping trip is as easy as this: shop for accessories.
Accessories, along with flattering basics, are the very foundation of a look. The popularity of jewelry and handbags seems to have waned in the 2000s, which is a shame. Why?
No Accessory is Ever Too Small – Nothing ruins a jaunt to the mall with a wallet full o’ cash more than finding out this year’s cut of jeans at Banana Republic requires one to go up a size. Pure vanity? Yes. Maybe it shouldn’t matter if I have to buy a 10 instead of an 8 but, frankly, it’s enough to make me pack up my Mastercard and head to Target to buy housewares. The clothing in most stores is unreliable in the way it is cut and sized, probably because the garments are shipped in from overseas. But if I have to buy sweatshop pants, can’t I at the very least have the number I want on the tag?
Fashion advisers and pop stylists constantly preach the ‘size doesn’t matter’ philosophy as they coach some hapless, frustrated woman into buying a size 16 when she thinks she can wear a 14. This is wrong on multiple levels. First, plus-sized clothing is more expensive. Styles have improved (thank God) but the cost can be double what it is for the same item size 14 or under. If you are on the cusp of these two sizes, go on HSN and order a case of shape wear, then get the 14. Sometimes going down a size is unnecessary, but in this instance it actually makes sense to do so. Second, like it or not, size does matter. If I can still fit a pair of Express jeans in size 6 that I bought five years ago, I shouldn’t have to buy a 12 today. It’s just yucky, like getting picked last for dodge ball or red rover. Retailers, if you want to play switcheroo with your sizing, let us all go down a size. Maybe then your sales wouldn’t be sinking faster than a lead pipe in still water.
Accessories Speak Louder than Garments – You can have a closet full of the most basic pieces and still have style that turns heads. A fabulous dress, pant, or blouse will get looks, but accessories start conversations. Picking the extras wisely, like jewelry, shoes and bags, says the wearer has a keen eye for detail. In today’s over-worked, multitasking world of henpecked citizens about to grab a sniper rifle, taking time on the little things has an unparalleled power to impress. It’s all in the fact that earrings or tights are NOT necessary, but by choosing to spend that little bit of extra time, you have essentially sprinkled yourself in fairy dust and confidence. The woman who can find the energy to choose accessories she loves hovers just a little higher than the daily grind.
Buying Accessories is Fitting Room Free – I realize I mentioned the size issue, but that simply doesn’t do justice to the cramped, stressful, frequently awkward experience of a retail fitting room. The ones that are monitored closely inevitably subject the customer to ‘close calls’ of handles turning and knocking on doors, only making it more urgent that your five items are tried on in five minutes or less. The unmonitored rooms, while safe from pesky floor managers, tend to contain some nasty surprises, such as piles of hanger-less prom dresses, clothing strewn around like streamers, or a suspiciously bad smell.
Last, and most importantly, the way to choose the perfect accessory is as simple as this: buy what you like. Be creative; accessories are like playtime for women. And if your significant other mocks you for the price tag, just make a mental note. The sports car he eventually splurges on will be more expensive than your Dooney & Bourke bag. I promise.