Two of my pet hates - A wasted afternoon trawling stores for clothes only to come away empty handed and getting hot and flustered in the fitting rooms. Shopping trips should always be a pleasurable experience and the key to this all starts before you've stepped out the door.
Jot it down - I only ever make shopping lists for groceries but it helps many a friend so the advice here is - take stock of your wardrobe. What things do you need to invest in to work with what you already have? Fill in the gaps in your wardrobe. Keep in mind upcoming events and what you will need to wear to those. You may not need to buy a whole new outfit, rather just accessories.
Know your budget - I never stick to mine but use your self control and attempt to stick to your budget as much as possible. Sales can be enticing, and "OMG, what a bargain! It'd be a sin not to get it!" can flash through your mind many times over, but keep your list and budget in mind. It'll save you from the morning-after guilts.
Get yer kit off - There are times (especially with the kids in tow) that we feel completely flustered having to get undressed and dressed again trying on outfits. The solution is simple. Make it easy on yourself. Avoid wearing anything too tight like stockings or an all in one outfit that requires removing over your head. Wear clothing that's a cinch to take on or off and take your time to enjoy the experience. Equally its wise to wear shoes that are easy to slip on & off so avoid lace ups or boots and go for flip flops or pumps. It'll make your dressing room time a lot shorter.
Neutral knickers - Nothing worse than trying on a pair of light coloured trousers, shorts or a skirt and seeing a black knicker line when you check out the rear. The same goes for dark bras while you're trying a lighter coloured top. It can be so distracting. It may seem irrelevant but this is something that many of us don't consider but the truth is, if you wear neutral coloured underwear it won't interfere with your decision and just as importantly, ensure you're wearing a supportive bra. It will instantly improve your silhouette making you look slimmer.
Matching something? Bring it with - Sounds totally obvious, but if you want to buy a pair of jeans to wear with heels, take them with you so that you know the jeans will be the right length. If you want a top to match a skirt, take it with you to ensure the colours match or the patterns work together. Don't rely on your memory.
Beware THE SALE! - Let me be clear, the word SALE is one of my most favourite in the entire English language but to beware many retailers have items on sale because of manufacture faults or their lack of sales, so if you love it, grab it, but don't just buy it because it's a "bargain".
Ask yourself 4 key questions
* Does it suit my body shape?
* Does the colour suit me?
* Does it suit my style personality?
* Is it within my price budget?
* Not sure - not sold
Everyone shops differently. Some need time to mull it over and compare prices with different stores. I'm more decisive about my purchases. I have a quick eye for scanning arail or an entire store for that matter and when I see something I love, I'll get it there and then. But if you're in doubt about whether to buy the item or not, give yourself some time to think it over. Put it on hold, go and have a coffee or carry on with other shopping. If you can't stop thinking about it an hour or even a day later, then it's probably a fair sign that it should be yours. If you're still unsure, don't waste money on it because it'll probably never get worn.
Love it? Buy two - OK admittedly, this is this pure decadence but how often have you wished you'd bought another of your favourite piece in another colour just because it fit so perfectly and went with everything? If you find something special, that's the perfect fit, the right price and is a key item, then get another one! It's like that saying, 'if the shoe fits, buy one in every colour!'