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5 Stylist Tips For Smarter Shopping

Lifestyle

Building a versatile wardrobe is important for every busy gal - because when your wardrobe is optimized, your whole world can change. You’ll get dressed easier, you’ll look more refined and polished, and you’ll have no trouble transitioning from business meetings to after-hours events. To get to that level of wardrobe clarity, a bit of shopping is required, which might be frustrating and tedious - especially if you are tight on time and/or budget.


My job as a Wardrobe Stylist and Personal Shopper is to help my clients find the ideal pieces for their curated wardrobes without breaking the bank, and I also spend a lot of time teaching my clients valuable techniques on how to make shopping more stress-free, efficient and even (gasp!) fun.

I’m sharing 5 of my favorite Stylist Shopping Secrets, so take a read – and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!

If you’re looking to create a robust wardrobe and don’t know where to start, be sure to check out my article, “How to Build a Wardrobe for Success: “Lusts” and “Musts” to make your closet complete”.

1

ACE THE LIST

It’s very easy to get distracted if you start shopping with no particular goals in mind. You can wander aimlessly for hours, feeling uninspired without finding anything you love, or worse, you could end up buying random items you won’t easily be able to incorporate into your existing wardrobe. When you go grocery shopping, you usually make a list, don’t you? Well, I recommend applying the same planning strategy to your clothing shopping.

One good way to start building this list is by going through your existing wardrobe, and looking at what you own with a critical eye. Ask yourself: how often do I wear each piece? Does it fit with at least 3 other pieces in my wardrobe? Do I love the way I feel when I wear it? What accessory do I need to make this outfit feel & look complete?

This exercise helps you identify the missing pieces – so you can start jotting down your “needs and wants” list (which you can keep digitally or in a pretty notebook – whatever inspires you). This list should grow with seasonal items, trendy pieces you see celebs and Instagram bloggers showing off, and any items that you need to replace because they’re getting a lot of wear. List-building is a process, so the earlier you start, the more efficient your shopping will be the next time you go. I also find it helpful to make notes on the “priority level” of the items on your list, along with the budget you want to allocate to each item and any other specifics you want to look for (for example, red suede pumps to go with your green skirt). The next time you find yourself in the store, whip out your list and cross-reference it with what you’re eyeing - it will help you stay on course and be more objective with your purchases.

2

START WITH A VIRTUAL “WINDOW SHOP”

If you’re not a patient shopper, if you’re time-starved, or if shopping is just not your thing, it’s good to think of ways to alleviate the stress of the experience to make it more efficient. One of my favorite tips is to familiarize yourself with brands you love and follow them online to eye their inventory and new arrivals - before actually heading into their stores. One great thing about virtual shopping is that you can do it from the comfort of your couch (with glass of wine in hand), and you can check out all the details up close at your own pace. Plus, some sites even give you suggestions to help you create outfits. Virtual window shopping allows you to come up with a plan of what you’d like to try on in the stores, so that when you arrive, you’re not wasting time walking around, but rather enlisting the help of a knowledgeable sales associate to round up the items for you. PRO TIP: print out the list of items you want to focus on and bring it along so you can more quickly head to the dressing room.

3

WORK THOSE PERKS

Waiting for items to go on sale may not always work for you. In this case, I recommend a few other tactics to score better pricing. Some stores have loyalty/birthday programs, offering special discounts the month of your birthday (here’s looking at you, Anthro), or they may offer special perks like free shipping, tailoring and reward points for your purchases – which can add up to gift cards and gifts with purchase down the line (like Bloomingdales Loyalist).

Signing up to these in advance of your shopping spree is a great idea – as you’ll also receive notifications of special promotions, new arrivals and outfit inspirations.

4

USE YOUR VIRTUAL SHOPPING CART

To uncover savings, while you’re looking online at your favorite shopping sites, it’s a great idea to pop the items you’re considering into your cart or wish list. Not only will this become your “Shopping List” for that particular store, it will also allow you to track the prices for some of the items you’re lusting after, as any markdowns or sales will be reflected in the shopping cart when you refresh it periodically. This mostly applies to items that are not an immediate priority on your list, or when you’re willing to wait until they go on sale. Your patience will be rewarded and you can reap some mega savings with this technique.

5

SAVE SOME LEGWORK

To reduce the time you spend shopping, one thing I recommend is to call the store nearest to you in advance, and ask a sales associate to find the items you’re looking for, confirm they are in stock and then place them on hold (most stores will hold items for 24-48 hours, or at the very least till end of day). This way when you arrive at the store, your clothes will be waiting for you to try on – and you can save time that you would have spent walking around the store hunting (plus you’ll be sure your sizes are available). Additionally, most stores can search inventory across all their locations to check for sizes and availability - so if an item isn’t available at your local store, they’ll give you a list of other stores that might have it, or maybe even ship it to you (sometimes at little or no cost).

5 min read
Self

Lessons Learned and the Power of Turning 50

Except for 16, I have celebrated all of my milestone birthdays in New York City.

I turned 16 in Arnold, Missouri. Arnold is a small town (though not small anymore) 20 miles south of St. Louis. St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch, a beautiful arch of shiny stainless steel, built by the National Parks Service in 1935 to commemorate Thomas Jefferson's vision of a transcontinental U.S. St. Louis is also known for its custard, a frozen dessert that is so thick, they hand it to you upside down with a spoon inside. Something else about St. Louis you should know is that there is a courthouse just steps from the base of the Gateway Arch where one of the most important cases in history was tried: Dred Scott v. Sanford.

I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive.

Mr. Scott was born into enslavement around 1799 and, in 1830, was sold to a military surgeon who traveled back and forth between his military posts in Illinois and Wisconsin, where slavery was prohibited under the Missouri Compromise of 1820. In 1842 the doctor and Mr. Scott both married, and they, all four, returned to St. Louis. Still enslaved, Dred Scott filed a lawsuit against the doctor's wife for his and his wife Harriet's freedom. We don't know exactly why he chose this moment in time to file a lawsuit, however, he did. At the time of filing his, now, famous lawsuit, he was 50 years old. Ultimately, The Scott family did not gain their freedom, but their profound courage in filling this case helped ignite the Civil War and what we would come to know (or think we know) as freedom from enslavement for all human beings. Powerful then and even more powerful now.

My next milestone was turning 21, and I did it in the Big Apple. Having only moved to "the city that never sleeps" a few months prior, I knew nobody except my new friends, the bus-boys from the restaurant I was working at, Patzo's on the Upper West Side. And, yes, pazzo is actually the correct spelling of the Italian word, which translates to "crazy." Trust me we all had several laughs about the misspelling and the definition going hand in hand. I worked a full shift, closing out at around 11 PM, when, my kitchen team came out from the line with a cake singing, "Cumpleaños Feliz." It was fantastic. And the kindness of these almost-strangers was a powerful reminder of connection then as it still is today almost 29 years later.

I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy.

When I turned 30, I had just finished a European tour with Lucinda Childs dance company. The company had been on tour for months together and were inseparable. We traveled through Paris, Vienna, Lisbon, and Rome. We ate together, we rode on a bus together, we had drinks after shows together, and we even took turns giving company class to get warmed up before a show. It was deeply meaningful and dreamy. We ended the tour back in New York City at BAM, The Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was an incredible way to end the tour, by being on our home court, not to mention I was having an important birthday at the culmination of this already incredible experience.

So, when I invited everyone to join me at Chelsea Pier's Sky Rink to ice skate in late August, I was schooled really quickly that "tour" does not mean you are friends in real life, it means you are tour friends. When the tour ends, so does the relationship. I skated a few laps and then went home. This was a beautiful lesson learned about who your real friends are; it was powerful then as it is today.

Turning 40 was a completely different experience. I was in a serious relationship with my now-husband, Joe. I had just come off of a successful one-woman dance show that I produced, choreographed, and danced in, I had just choreographed a feature film, John Turturro's Romance and Cigarettes, with A-list actors, including Kate Winslet and James Gandolfini, who became a dear friend and had even been on the red carpet with Susan Sarandon at the Venice Film Festival for the movie a year earlier.

And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age.

This was a very special birthday, and I had, in those 10 years between 30 and 40, come to cultivate very real friendships with some wonderful colleagues. We all celebrated at a local Italian restaurant, Etcetera Etcetera (who is delivering for those of you in NYC — we order weekly to support them during COVID), a staple in the theater district. Joe and I were (and are) regulars and, of course, wanted to celebrate my 40th with our restaurant family and friends. We were upstairs in the private room, and it was really lovely. Many of those in attendance are no longer with us, including Joe's Dad, Bob Ricci, and my dear friend Jim Gandolfini having transitioned to the other side. Currently, that restaurant is holding on by a thread of loving neighbors and regulars like us. Life is precious. Powerful then and today even more so.

I write this article because I'm turning 50, still in New York City. However, I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive. And I could not be more filled with hope, love, possibility, and power. This year has included an impeachment hearing, a global pandemic, and global protests that are finally giving a larger platform to the Black Lives Matter movement. Being able to fully embody who I am as a woman, a 50-year-old woman who is living fully in purpose, takes the cake, the rink, and the party.

I'm making movies about conversations around race. I've been happily married for 11 years to the love of my life, Joe Ricci. I'm amplifying and elevating the voices of those who have not previously had a platform for speaking out. I choose who to spend time with and how long! I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy. Being 50 is one of the most amazing things I ever thought I could experience. And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age. I'm 50 and powerful. Dred Scott was 50 and powerful. This powerful lesson is for today and tomorrow. We have the power. No matter what age you are, I invite you to use your powerful voice to join me in making the world a better place.