Shopping Tips for Better Style


There are lots of reasons I have shopped for clothes.

Usually, these reasons are centered around it being a form of entertainment. Or maybe to prepare for a special event. Or I just want that ‘thing’ that will make me feel ‘good’.

This past October I was preparing for the November Moms30for30 and I kinda made myself sick with all of my clothes (that I never wear but think I need more, more, more!) I decided to go on a shopping hiatus. Though I did buy running socks and running shoes, because I’m a legit runner who misses her first 5km.

Long story short, I went seven months with socks and runners being my only purchases. Where I would stock up on the cutest winter scarves and knit cardigans, then run out and buy all the coloured spring skinnies and floral blouses, I just kept wearing what I had.

In fact, I kept purging my closet working towards a capsule wardrobe. It has made my life so much easier and now I actually really love the clothes in my closet because I got rid of the ‘filler’. I’m getting clarity on the looks I love, the style I want to express myself to the world with. I haven’t missed shopping for the sake of shopping….I can especially state this with confidence since all the Targets in Canada closed. Farewell, my frenemy!

[Tweet “I haven’t missed shopping for the sake of shopping.”]

Taking this shopping hiatus has helped me to let go of the reasons I used to go shopping and decide to be very intentional about it. I mean, I’m intentional about clothes shopping for my kids, only buying clothes and shoes I know they need. I should really be doing the same for myself. Like my grandma used to do because her wardrobe was pretty much two of everything so one could be washed while the other was worn.

So know I shop with a new set of rules….more like guidelines

I’m adding these to my tips for ‘Style for the Reluctant Mom‘ because they have helped me, maybe they will help you!

clothes shopping mom h&M


I stick to a list. I spend time trying outfits and look for gaps in my closet. I don’t always succeed but I try to only buy those items.

I narrow in on the style I want. I’ve spent long enough dressing how I thought I ‘ought to’, whether it was for a job or following all of the latest trends. It is costly and leaves you dissatisfied with your wardrobe. Now I look for consistency in the image I want to portray myself.

I try everything on. I have to, cause going back to the store and returning things is about as likely as me going for an early morning run. It’s confusing and out of character.

I don’t judge clothes on the hanger. There were many years where my style was, as my little sister put it, like a Sunday School Teachers. I was destined to be cast as the next khaki-wearing mom in the Swiffer commercials. After her mini-intervention, we went shopping and she made me try on every single everything. It was out of my comfort zone but I learned that I had stupid rules on what I would wear and what I wouldn’t.  Now I grab one of everything, there’s lots of great stuff out there that is worth trying!

I take changeroom selfies. Cause we all know there is some black magic going on with those mirrors! You get it home and you are all ‘Huh?’. I actually have been taking a lot of selfies, all for myself, because I’ve learned that you can judge the balance and fit of an outfit much more clearly with a picture.

I ask for opinions. If I’m shopping alone this means sending those selfies to my besties or husband and asking if these stripes make my pancake ass look like its melting

I only buy what I love. This sounds like something I should have done all along, but I would just buy all the things I think I needed for that season/trend rather than something that I loved and would want to wear for years down the road.

I ask if it fits my lifestyle. There are lots of jokes about moms wearing grubby clothes but that’s because it’s true! Around the home, I wear things that I won’t worry about staining. This means I need less ‘nicer’ items because I don’t have the opportunity to wear a cute skirt and blouse every day.  However, I still try and buy clothes that hide stains and can be dressed up or down.

I don’t worry about money. Most people will say that you need to invest in ‘key pieces’, and that’s all well and good. I’m on the other end. You can buy clothes from a cheaper store, take care of them and wear them for years. Like this yellow cardigan I bought from H&M 7 years ago and I still wear it and love it and totally don’t care if you make fun of me for it! But if I find a really versatile piece that is practical for my life and I love how it feels to wear it, I don’t mind spending the extra money.

I shop without kids. I don’t really need to explain this one, do I?

I do a post-shopping purge. One in, one out! If I am replacing a worn, ill-fitting item like those elastic maternity sweats with some real cute ones, I MAKE myself let go of the old to let the new in. Otherwise, I’m just working hard to get back to where I started.

My goal isn’t to spend money and to fill up my closet. My goal is to CURATE a simple wardrobe.

A shopping hiatus really gave me clarity around how I was accumulating my closet full of distractions. Something that seems simple, is totally a first world problem, and an expensive lesson to learn has changed how I get dressed every day.

How about you? Do you have any guidelines for yourself in how you go clothes shopping?