Why Women Love Shopping – And How To Shop Smarter

What is it about shopping that inspires us? Why can we spend literally hours traipsing up and down a shopping mall, max out our credit cards and ignore our own physical comfort just to have the perfect dress, shoes or handbag? That's the allure of fashion.

Most women love fashion. We buy fashion because it's fun and it makes us feel good to have nice things. Essentially we are drawn to fashion because it fulfills an emotional need. We fall in love with the color or the cut and simply have to own it. The power of fashion is that it allows us to transform ourselves. New clothes and accessories let us see ourselves in a different way.

Women today can shop in a way their grandmothers would have thought impossible. Today we have more power, are better educated, have far more resources and are better able to make our own decisions. Women actually make the majority of financial decisions in the household and have more disposable income than ever before. Shopping has become a favorite hobby, a fun girls' day out and even an addiction for some.

However the shopping experience is not always positive. We've all had to deal with pushy sales assistants, blaring music, poorly designed stores and badly lit change rooms (the type that can make trying on swimwear a total nightmare).

Why do we keep coming back? Because when we find something that works, something that shouts 'this is me!' as soon as you try it on, it all becomes worth it. Our moods and spirits soar. Buying something nice is a gift to ourselves. Why? 'Because you're worth it.'

Still, not everyone loves fashion. Some women just are not interested – for them clothing is a social necessity and shopping a waste of time, money and energy. For others it is just too hard – they have no idea what actually suits them so the shopping process becomes frustrating and soul destroying. If this is you, finding out once and for all which colors and styles of clothes really suit you can open up a whole new world!

What type of shopper are you? Maybe you can see yourself in these descriptions:

The Passionate Shopper

You love clothes and fashion and are greatly influenced by the latest fads and trends and recommendations of sales people. You often buy things without trying them on and do not learn from your fashion mistakes. Try to slow down a little and not waste so much money on things you do not need and do not really suit you.

The Elitist Shopper

You shop at specialist boutiques and purchase only the best designers. You will put up with discomfort for the sake of the label. Do not be afraid of cheap clothes. As long as you choose carefully you will get some great looks that will not break the bank.

The Cautious Shopper

You have found a look that works for you and you stick with it. You are not particularly interested in fashion, are loyal to certain labels and shop mainly at department stores. Try to loosen up a little and trying something new. You can dramatically improve your options by thinking outside the square.

The Creative Shopper

You have built a wardrobe slowly and will shop anywhere, mixing quality basic items with less expensive trendy add-ins. You have a true mix and match wardrobe and always have a few great outfits to fall back on. Well done!

(Thanks to the Australian Image Company's Style Wise and Shop Smart manual for these shopper descriptions).

Whatever type of shopper you are and how you feel about fashion, there are a number of practical things you can do to shop successfully:

  1. Plan what to buy – go through your wardrobe and work out what you need
  2. Allow enough time to shop – do not leave it till the last minute
  3. Shop first thing in the morning – you will have more energy, stores will be less crowded and you will not feel as rushed
  4. Dress for the occasion – wear attractive lingerie, clean styled hair and a little makeup. Nothing you try on will look good if you start out feeling unattractive.
  5. Check the details – what are the laundering instructions? How much does it cost? Does it go with anything else you own? If it's dry clean only, 5 times what you wanted to spend and does not go with anything – put it back! And save yourself the trouble.

Shopping for clothes can either be lots of fun or incredibly frustrating. Knowing what to look for and how to shop successfully makes all the difference.

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