Clothes Shopping Made Easy

Shopping can be a horrible experience with the trying on, the rejections, the sometimes annoying retail workers, and the simple fact that you don’t even really know what you want. And even when you do find things you like, your budget might be screaming some foul things in your direction. But it’s okay, guys! Once you’re done reading this, you’ll have the confidence to walk into any clothing store and not fear the massed produced selection of woven button downs, leather belts, and flat front khakis.

1.) HAVE A FOCUS!
Before heading out to shop, you need two things: money (obviously) and an idea of what you’re shopping for. Having worked in retail, I know the types who are “just looking” or the ones who “know it when I see it.” Walking into a clothing store can sometimes be intimidating. With so much to pick from, it’s easy to pass up something you might be searching for. Let’s just say you have a job interview for an office position tomorrow. You’d want to walk into the store knowing that you’re there for casual attire, ie: khakis, long/short sleeve button downs, etc. If you see a pair of jeans you like, skip over it until you’re done with what you’ve actually gone into the store for.

2.) LET THEM HELP!
We’ve all had those pesky retail workers that seem too thick headed to understand when you’re fine walking around by yourself. But sometimes it’s not so bad to actually take them up on their offer to help you. You may be focused on what you’re out shopping for, but believe it or not, those pesky workers are actually familiar with the items in their store! You can save time and frustration by letting them know what you’re looking for.

“I’m looking for something for an interview.”
“Oh, really? Well, right this way is our casual pant and right over here are some shirts that would go nicely with the pants.”

With them knowing what you’re looking for, they can lead you through their store like you’re Hollywood’s latest ‘It’ person. Express/Express Men is especially a good store to go to for this celebrity like experience. They’ve got dark denim (the hot item this Fall), graphic T’s, and hoodies. But they also have suit jackets with pants to match and other pant selections, business skirts, and more. A lot of the time you can walk in and have a table of T-Shirts next to a rack of Italian wool pants. If you simply tell an associate you’re looking for an outfit appropriate for an interview, they’ll whisk you off an a journey showing you the latest and most popular items purchased for events like a job interview.

3.) PRE-SHOP ONLINE!
One of my favorite ways to shop is to pre-shop online. If you don’t know what pre-shopping is, it’s pretty much window shopping…but at home on your computer. This can be really helpful because you can narrow down the stores you might venture out to. If you’re looking for a great pair of jeans for an upcoming concert but spent most of your money on the ticket, pre-shopping online can be extremely helpful. On a clothing store’s website, you get to see their entire selection, the prices, and most times they tell you what’s on sale which is helpful when you’ve just spent $150 on your admission to your favorite singer’s latest concert. Sometimes items are added on a store’s website before stores actually get them in, so don’t be frustrated if you walk into American Eagle and they’ve yet to get in the new low-rise bootcut jean you were eyeing on their website. Associates should be able to lead you towards something similar to what you were expecting to find, but if not, you can always actually buy it online.

4.) TRY ON AND MEMORIZE
If you really hate going into stores, shop online! It’s quick and easy and you’ll have your clothes in no time. If you’ve got some free time, go around to different stores and try on a bunch of stuff. Then you’ll know what sizes work for you where and then you can shop with that much more ease online. I recommend only buying items online from stores you’ve actually shopped in before. Why? Because, again, you’ll already know the sizes that work for you! I know that I can wear a Small shirt in Express but would want to grab a Medium in J. Crew. So if I were shopping at JCrew.com, I wouldn’t have to wonder what size to choose in their Derby-stripe shirt collection.

Hopefully that helps you a little more with the at times unbearable thing we like to call shopping. And to save you even more time, I’ll tip you off on some of the hot Fall season items and the best places to go find them.

DARK DENIM
Really dark blues, black, gray are what’s in for Fall. With a pair of dark jeans, it’s easy for guys to slip on a pair of dress shoes to make the entire outfit seem more sophisticated. Also in right now is the straight leg jean. Hollister has an awesome pair of dark, straight leg jeans for $40.

GRAY
It appears that gray is the official color for Fall 2006. Banana Republic is stocking an array of gray sweaters for men. It includes silk/casmere V-necks to merino argyle. Their sweaters range from $68 up to $80. Not bad for a cashmere sweater. But if you’re not ready yet for the sweater and if you’re not ready to spend that much on one, American Eagle has their gray vintage fit pique polo for under $30.

PLAID
Farmworker’s wear this hot new item on a daily basis without even thinking about it. Plaid is totally in right now. Again, Express Men has this and not for a bad price. Their tartan plaid shirt is priced at $49.50. For a few bucks cheaper, check out Hollister’s very Western influenced plaid shirts. But it doesn’t end with shirts. Plaid pants are trendy at the moment, too. If you’re like me and can’t afford the plain pants featured in GQ, do what I do and go to Express Men. They’ve got a few different shades of plaid, one of them including a gray pant! Fancy that.

If I had to pick a store to go to for this season’s hot and trendy items, it would have to be Express Men. They’ve got the items you find in GQ for a much cheaper price. And I’m not the only one who has noticed. GQ has featured Express Men numerous times for their quality items for afforadable prices! Now, get out there and buy you some clothes!

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