By Stephanie Iwuaba
I have always bought all the wrong accessories and unflattering clothes on a whim. As a result, I never achieved the looks I was going for and I was stuck with a wardrobe full of fashion pieces that don’t fit together or with any look. This drove me into a research about how not to waste my money on the wrong items and to get my desired look. I discovered these simple guidelines I call the Shopping Formula!
First of all, have a wish-look notebook! I see looks I like by flipping through fashion magazines, watching TV, browsing online etc. Why I step into stores and buy the exact opposite beats me! Thankfully, I have stumbled onto a very well known wisdom; make a wish-look notebook!
Keep pictures of looks you like, or just make a list of what you saw and how it was worn in a book. This will help you remember what looks you like and remind you when next you start picking that whimsical piece when you go shopping!
Secondly, reduce the pictures to simple pieces. OK, now that you have an idea what you are aiming for, reduce the look to bits. A top, pair of pants, those shoes and so on, write it all down next to the picture. It helps you know the components of the look you want and how to buy it bit by bit because we all know that you can’t walk into a store and see the whole look all set up and waiting.
Now do the elimination equation. For example, does the girl in the picture have on a hip hugging number and have the body to fill it but you don’t? I feel you! Just take the pants off the list, replace it with a flirty skirt in the same shade as the pants that will work better for you. Voila! You are back on track. Try this for every piece that just doesn’t work for you and you will always look like the model on the cover of Elle!
Now for the Naira and Kobo! You have a look in your book but you can’t afford the whole look, or a piece is too expensive for you? I love to pretend I’m so rich too but reality is we all have other pressing needs and bills or even investments that require our resources. We sometimes need to shop with a budget in mind. I am becoming a pro at this! You don’t have to buy the whole look and who said you can’t replace items with less expensive replicas? It’s your look now so you can buy it for how much you so wish! Keep things like the shape of the piece, the color, the design that makes it unique or what it is that attracted you in mind, and then look out for these specifications when buying a replacement. You might not see a close enough replica but if you keep to two features from the original piece, you will get almost the exact outcome.
You don’t also need the whole look. Choose what you feel is a need and save on what you really don’t need till the next visit to the mall.
Stay focused! This is the part that I always fail woefully at. Have a plan. Choose the store(s) that you feel might have the look you want. Please don’t fall in love with some random piece you didn’t plan on. Try on only pieces that fit your desired look, buy your final pick and step out. Do I stick to this? Nope, but I am getting better. Maybe you will do better than me or just be my rehab partner.
Do it all over again! Trends come and go. New looks catch your eyes and if you are anything like me, shopping is a continual thing. I already have another list forming in my head while I leave the mall so repeat the whole process again as much as you need to. Will this help you stop making trips to the mall?
No but at least now you will look exactly the way you like. It saves money and energy at the end of the day.
About the Author
Stephanie Iwuaba is a fashion blogger and designer from Lagos, Nigeria currently living in San Diego, USA. She has always had a flair for fashion and is constantly addicted to learning new fashion tricks and trends. She has successfully started her clothing line ‘Goshtibles’ in the USA and is committed to helping others discover the secrets to constantly looking flawlessly fabulous. Stephanie is inspired by renowned fashion diva Kimora Lee Simmons for her fashion trendsetting and, more importantly, for her business prowess. You can follow Stephanie’s group Trendstarters’ Lounge on Facebook for different, new, and exciting fashion trends.
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This article was first published on 28th June 2012 and updated on July 2nd, 2012 at 10:04 am