If there’s nothing else to do, I shop when I’m in search of fun. I shop for everything, I shop for nothing. I shop for bargains and I wander through Holt Renfrew while I drool. I shop for food, I shop for clothes. I shop for…well, you get the picture! One of the reasons I love magazine work so much is that a lot of my job is shopping for the right stuff to make a page pop.
I love shopping. I always have. But I have a problem. Actually, I have three problems; their names are Charlotte, Carson and Peyton.
Over the past seven years I have given up leisurely days at the mall and made the necessary adaptations to appear stylin’, even though I may never be able shop for sport again. I’ve learned shopping for clothes while pushing a grocery cart can be just as satisfying and fruitful as those golden shopping trips of yore if I follow a few simple rules.
1. The blacker the better Black is slimming; it’s not just an urban myth. Buy it, embrace it, love it. This also makes accessories remarkably striking as they pop against my black clothes.
2. I am not now, nor have I ever been, cute If the first thing out of my mouth is “Oh, it’s so cute!” I must walk away. As a rule, I should not bump into my babysitter in a dressing room. No odd clothing sizes i.e.: 7, 9, 11 — also called “miss” or “junior” sizes.
3. Accessorize My basic black dress can go from drab to fab with the slip of a ring and the clip of a necklace. No idea what’s hot this year? Two words — Stella and Dot.
4. On jeans pockets Bigger is better. Small, high pockets only serve to point out how little of my butt said pockets cover.
5. Know my weakness — shop accordingly My weakness is chocolate, the result is obvious. As my grandfather would say, “She’d be a good help on a farm.” To him it was the ultimate compliment of my strong physique — to 13-year-old me? Not as much. I’m not a little girl; therefore I avoid fitted dress shirts and button down dresses.
6. On saggy boobs from nursing V-necks, yes, yes, yes — strapless, no. V-necks point suggestively to the girls like a big arrow and hint at my ample cleavage. That strapless number in my drawer has everyone wondering why my shirt starts at my belly button.
7. Beware the C word Clothes described as comfortable are rarely gorgeous. Yes, my yoga pants are awesome but they are never gonna make me feel like a million bucks. If something looks great and happens to be comfortable that’s terrific but if something is comfortable and looks like a giant creamsicle — I must force myself to leave it on the rack.
8 . Three is the magic number I try not to wear more than three colours at any one time. I want people to notice me, not my clothes.
9. Underwear Like it or not, a flesh toned thong is the best choice for most occasions. Nothing ruins an outfit faster than VPL (visible panty line). Sometimes giant tummy-sucky-inny pants are good too, but I’m always a little worried that all that spandex might give way and my rolls will explode onto the scene.
10. Mix fix When attempting to wear this season’s colour blocking trend, put the lighter colour/printed piece on top. I don’t know if this is scientifically proven but I think the eye is drawn to the brightest colour/print first. Do I want everyone to look at my hips? ‘cause that’s what is going to happen if I wrap a bright pink belt there.
Prints are for curtains, not me During moments of indecision between the produce and the cereal aisles, I must ask myself: “Do I want to look like a curtain today?” Usually the answer is no.* With few exceptions the outfits that have scarred me emotionally for life, were prints; a very bad cowboy-print shirt from high school and a long floral jumper come to mind.
*Exceptions: 1. On a bad day it may be preferable to look like a curtain rather than myself. 2. Prints that sticks to my three-colour rule and don’t hurt my eyes (i.e. polka dots, stripes or a small print.) seem to be OK.
If you want to shop like a pro (i.e. like me) you have to follow a few rules: