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How to Figure Out the Right Stores to Shop for Your Clothing
Choosing the Best Stores for Your Style and Personality
For women, shopping for new clothes can bring happiness--or utter dread. Either way, whether you enjoy it or loathe it, the sheer number of stores in the mall and online can be daunting--with so many stores to choose from, how can you create a cohesive, unique style that fits your personality and flatters your body?
With the help of this guide to figuring out the best stores to shop for your clothing, a visit to the mall or your midnight shopping will be a cinch!
Getting Started: Identify Style Icons and Your Personality
Before you can start shopping, you first must choose some inspiration (a style icon) and determine your personality. Take a sheet of paper and jot down the names of a few celebrities (film, television, authors, bloggers, you name it!) you admire. Then, think about what those celebrities have in common. Let's say you wrote "Audrey Hepburn" and "Katie Holmes." From that, you can determine you like a classic, ladylike style with the occasional tomboy twist. Or perhaps you wrote down "Marilyn Monroe" and "Angelina Jolie." In that instance, you probably prefer a sexier, womanly style that still maintains a bit of mystery.
Next, think about your personality and your lifestyle; write down a few words or phrases for both. Do you want to excude a quirky, feminine style, or a professional, sexy one? Do you prefer functional clothes with classic cuts, or a touch of a whimsy?
Finally, take a realistic look at your budget and set a monthly shopping allowance; this will also help determine the right stores to shop for your clothing.
With these lists, you should have a better idea of the image you want to project with your personal style. Read on to find the best stores for your fashion ambitions and personality traits!
Ladylike, Professional, Quirky--The Best Stores for You
Best Stores for Professional and Ladylike Looks
If you prefer a chic, polished look both in the office and out, you have a range of options available when considering the right store to get your perfect look. For a lower price point and frequently phenomenal sales, try Ann Taylor Loft andThe Limited. For a slightly higher price point (but also higher quality clothes), try Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Nordstrom, or Shabby Apple (an online retailer).
A pencil skirt paired with a ruffled shell and cardigan can go to day to night (and professional to alluring) if you shed the cardi and swap out your sensible pumps for a higher heel.
Best Stores to Add Whimsy to Your Wardrobe
Those who don't mind standing out in a crowd can be bolder in their sartorial choices. Do you love a quirky animal print or an embellished cardigan--perhaps a fabulous dress made up of different textures and colors?
Anthropologie is a whimsy-lover's dream store, the ultimate in quirky fashion; it receives new styles regularly and is generally high-quality. However, it's a bit pricey unless you catch its wares on sales. For a lower price point, try Urban Outfitters, Delia's, Modcloth, or Ruche (the latter two are online retailers).
Of course, a little whimsy goes a long way, so stuck to one unique piece per outfit (this will also save you money; simple staples go well with whimsical pieces and are much more affordable).
Best Stores for Functional, Simple Style
For those who love the ease of a preppy, simple style, the right stores to shop for your clothing include Gap for those on a stricter budget and J. Crew or Land's End for those with a bit more with which to splurge.
Dress up a pair of slim khakis and a fitted tee with unique ballet flats or some statement jewelry to keep a simple look from falling flat.
Share Your Style!
What category best sums up your personal style?
Final Tips on Choosing the Right Store for You
There are several other ways to figure out the right store to shop for your clothing. If you see a friend, family member, or even stranger whose outfit you admire, give them a compliment and ask where they got it. Eventually, you'll develop an eye for what styles come from which stores.
You can also pick up a few women's magazines a few times a month and take note of the clothes you like and what stores they came from (good magazines for this are "Lucky" and "People Stylewatch," because the clothes in those magazines are more affordable than the ones in "Vogue" or similar high-end magazines).
Finally, stick wth stores that make you feel good--about your body and yourself. Do you like what you see in the mirror when you put on an outfit? Then it's a good store! Customer service and presentation also go a long way toward leaving a favorable mark in a shopper's mind.