I’m not talking about the comfy shoes that are a must for traipsing in and out of stores. Or the refreshments that you bring along to keep fueled and hydrated. Or the great underwear that allows you to achieve your best silhouette when you fit on clothes. 

Of course, these things are important, but here I’m going to focus at a different level. I’ve found that taking a mental box containing four tools is absolutely essential when I shop for myself or with my clients. Whether it’s shopping online for five minutes or shopping in the city for an entire day these tools are important and I try to keep them as sharp as possible. 

  1. Your Style Goals: You need a pretty clear idea of the style you aspire to achieve, and the style you do NOT aspire to achieve. This is why we set style goals in the first place, so that they can keep us focused. In my line of work, where I am constantly tempted by items while shopping with others, they keep me on the straight and narrow. 
  2. A Shopping List: You need a seasonal list of the items you’re looking for, where each item on the list fits into one of four categories.
  3. A Realistic Budget: You need some idea of the amount of money you can spend in a month or season so that you don’t break the bank, or skimp unnecessarily.  
  4. A Good Attitude: You need to be in the right state of mind when you shop. This means shopping for the body you’re in today, being open to new colours, silhouettes and fabrications, and being patient, picky and practical

These tools, which are intuitive for some and more regimented for others, help to create that all important balance between wardrobe discipline and having fun with fashion. Shopping without them is how you end up unhappy with your choices, with a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.