A Sophisticate Goes Shopping

"The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?...  Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that'd make me feel like Tiffany's, then - then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name! "
- Holly Golightly from the movie 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'

A Sophisticate LOVES to go shopping. Shopping for a Sophisticate is akin to hunting for an animal in the wild... it is done merely for survival. Of course, shopping is a survival skill that most women enjoy if not LOVE. 

For me, shopping was as relaxing as walking in the park and there was nothing so peaceful as being in the mall before it opened.  You can't talk about shopping without talking about the mall. Although, there does exist outdoor stores,  the most productive shopping is done at the mall with all of the reliable chain stores such the GAP, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor within a few feet of each other. 

My love of shopping and the mall began with my mother as a child. For extra money, my mother worked at a women's pantyhose store with my Aunt Donna called 'Parklane'. Since my parents couldn't afford a babysitter I would go to work with her. We would grab breakfast in the morning before the mall opened and then when there weren't any customers around would walk around the store looking at the stockings and how everything was beautifully arranged and perfect. When we left the mall, the weather was always so perfect and beautiful. My dad also made shopping fun since I was always provided with a treat or the excitement of being able to buy one new book every time we went to the pharmacy or to the bookstore.

And it wasn't until I started making my own money that I discovered my love for clothes shopping. Whenever I have a bad day, even if I don't buy something walking around the mall makes me feel better. The mall and stores in general are well ordered, pretty, and clean. If only life could be like that... for a few hours the world is beautiful and brand new. Even without buying something window shopping or otherwise, for a few hours the possibilities presented to you are endless.

A Sophisticate's shopping style reflects her personality. Of course, the two golden rules of shopping for a Sophisticate include 1- When buying anything it's all about quality over quantity 2- Before walking into a mall or store, a Sophisticate ALWAYS has an idea of what she is looking for so that impulse buys are avoided. 

After many years experience, here are a few tips and techniques for 'smart shopping':

Tip#1: Take a day and go window shopping: Window shopping will allow you to view all of the items in each different stores and provide you with valuable insight before you purchase... For example, did you know that because Banana Republic are owned by the same people it has the exact same items as the GAP except that they are twice the price?

Tip #2: Staples can be purchased for half the price: Certain 'staples' such as sunglasses and white t-shirts that are good for layering can be and should be bought for $15.00 or less. Anything remotely more in price shouldn't even be considered. 

Tip #3: When clothes shopping have at least a few white and black items: Black and white NEVER go out of style and are always 'in-season' therefore, those items will be good for two to three years if not longer if taken care of properly. 

Tip#4: If you are not looking for something specific, search the sales racks: If you have the time and are not looking for something specific search the sales racks.

Tip#5: Determine priorities and set a limit. If the item exceeds the limit then take 24 hours before you buy: Determine what you are willing to 'pay the price' for... shoes, clothes, or furniture. Only people who are very wealthy have no limit for all three items but most of us have to pick one out of the three each year or ever. Therefore, set spending limits on the other items that are NOT your priority. Waiting 24hrs will allow you not to waste money on something you don't want.

Tip#6: Evaluate ALL of your options: If you want to buy a pocketbook check out EVERY pocketbook store and browse. The right pocketbook or item will choose you. As you walk around to each store the pocketbook or item that you cannot get out of your head is the right one. 

Tip#7: Shopping is about YOU: Shopping is one of the few activities that is about you. Shopping is about getting what you want and getting what you want or think would be appreciated by someone else.

Every mall is beautiful and clean. The mall and each store has the appearance of perfection to allow people to escape into another world. There are no clocks so therefore, time does not exist. Everything is in it's place, shiny, and brand new. Shopping provides new opportunities for everyone to re-invent and change the way they look and their outlook of themselves and consequently about life. Shopping provides the freedom to choose who we want to be and what we want to look like. It helps us build the comforts of what we choose to call home. 

For a Sophisticate, shopping provides the backdrop and the costuming of what she chooses her life and herself to be and become. Like love and relationships, when a Sophisticate shops the right outfit and the right shoes choose her NOT the other way around. ;D!