Shopping Tips from a Personal Shopper - How to Shop More Successfully

Suzanne Delahunty Personal Stylist

One of the services I offer my clients is personal shopping and styling. It makes the shopping experience a whole lot less stressful and client will come away with items that fit seamlessly into their wardrobes and that suit their colour, shape, scale and lifestyle. Based on my years of shopping, I have put together my shopping tips that everyone can use to make their shopping more successful from a budget, time and environmental point of view.

Before you Shop

  • Check your wardrobe. What pieces have you been wearing on high rotation recently? What have you not worn for a while and why have you not worn it? What lessons can you learn from what’s there? For example, you haven’t worn your beautiful midi skirt that you love because you never seem to have the right shoes to wear with them. Would an ankle boot make the difference? And if so, what other pieces could you transform with a new ankle boot?
  • If you are feeling generally lost in terms of your style and what you need for the coming season, read my guide to finding your style here.
  • Do your research. Check online for new pieces that will fill the gaps in your wardrobe. Some websites, like Net-a-Porter show videos of each item and give a better idea of the fit, fall and movement of the fabric.
  • Following your prep and research make sure you have a clear agenda and list of items you need.
  • Do your hair and make up before going shopping. There’s no point shopping when you don’t feel good about your appearance. You’ll either hate everything you try on, or you’ll feel depressed and impulse buy just to make yourself feel better.
  • Always wear well-fitting underwear, preferably nude shades so that you see each piece you try on at its best. Ill-fitting underwear just make everything look bad.

General Guidelines to Keep in Mind While you Shop

  • Try new brands. Don’t just stick to your old favourites. Yes, your usual go-to brands might always have fun pieces and you are familiar with their sizing, but shopping outside your comfort zone can result in pleasant surprises, thereby extending your comfort zone.
  • Don’t impulse buy. We’ve all been there when we’re feeling spendy and are itching to have the thrill of bringing something new and shiny home with us to fill a gap in our wardrobe and our hearts. Resist the urge! Call it quits on your shopping trip if you’re just not finding anything that you truly connect with and need. Find something else to do. You could get a mani-pedi instead. Or meet a friend for a lazy lunch rather than buy something that will languish away in your wardrobe until you end up culling it.


  • Take two sizes to the change-room always. Don’t waste time waiting for sales assistants to find additional sizes.
  • Always check the label for every item you try on: is it dry clean only/hand wash only? If so, is that practical for you? What is the fabric composition? Will the fabric shrink in the wash? A quick google search will always bring up the answer.
  • If sustainability and environment is important to you, check the stores commitment to sustainability. A great resource is the Good on You app which rates most brands according to their ethical credentials. Also check the fabric composition – how sustainable is the fabric?
  • In the fitting room, sit down in the outfit, dance in it (don’t pretend you haven’t done this before), scrunch it to see if it creases easily. It’s an indication of how it will wear over the long run.
  • Check return policy of the store. Make sure you have a Plan B in case you have second thoughts once you get home.
  • Don’t buy the item right then and there. Take photos of yourself in the mirror in it from all angles. Then get the sales assistant to put it on hold. Look at the photos the next morning. Your initial reaction to those photos will tell you whether you look amazing in it or not.
  • In respect of each potential purchase ask yourself, does it go with at least five other items in your wardrobe?
  • Never buy something on sale just because it’s on sale. Only buy a sale item if you seriously considered buying it when it was full price.
  • Pay with cash – it feels more real. Notes are harder to part with and handing over your hard-earned will make you re-think your purchase.

After you shop

  • When you buy something keep it in its bag with tags on for two days. If it still brings you the same joy two days later, keep it.
  • Tailor, tailor, tailor. If anything is slightly ill-fitting, take it to your local tailor and get it tailored to your shape. It will ensure longevity of everything you have, you’ll look better in it and you’ll get more joy per wear going forward.

A personal stylist can make sure that your fashion purchases are perfect for your shape, colouring and lifestyle. They’ll take the stress out of shopping and streamline the whole process to free up your time for occasions where you can wear and enjoy your developing style. If you would like to enquire about a my personal styling services:

Suzanne Delahunty Personal Stylist
Suzanne Delahunty Personal Stylist



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