Tips for stress-free clothes shopping

One style expert says to bring two different sizes of each item into the dressing room. Also, shop with a list. (Thinkstock)

Randi Martin, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Shopping is not all fun and games for everyone. Many women — and men — experience anxiety when gearing up for a trip to the mall.

Lauren Rothman, founder of fashion consulting firm Styleauteur, has several tips to ease off-the-rack nerves and dressing room dread.

Enter the fitting room with confidence, but be prepared.

“When you go into the fitting room, know that you’re going to see a couple of things you might prefer to not see,” Rothman says.

Harsh dressing room lighting, cramped quarters and inexpensive mirrors tend to emphasize body parts that many prefer to remain hidden.

“The hardest muscle to move in the fitting room is your mind. It’s identifying what the perception is of how you look verses the reality,” Rothman says.

Browse styles online before going to the store.

Rothman suggests shoppers go online and look at styles, prior to spending hours browsing in the stores. She especially suggests this technique when shopping for bathing suits.

“In the summer, bathing suits are one of the hardest things to shop for,” says Rothman, who adds that shoppers should identify their body types before picking out a suit to try on.

Don’t rule out tailoring.

Yes, making a trip to the tailor does cost extra time and money. But Rothman says it’s worth it.

Since body types do not reflect the latest fashion magazines, do not rule-out having a tailor size an article of clothing to your body, Rothman says. She encourages women to build tailoring into their clothing budgets.

Make a list and bring proper undergarments.

“I never go to the grocery store without one. You shouldn’t go to the mall without one either,” Rothman says.

In addition to bringing a list, make sure you bring proper undergarments. Instead of sucking in your stomach, just bring the Spanx. If heels are needed, pack them too. Walking on your tippy toes does not give you a precise idea of sizes.

Take two sizes into the dressing room.

Avoid making multiple trips in and out of the dressing room. Instead, take a few different sizes in with you.

“Take the one that you think you are and take the one that you hope you might be,” Rothman says.

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