The way you shop makes a difference. Always shopping the sales? Or do you shop more like a man, getting a season’s worth of clothing at once? Your shopping habits can be very telling when it comes to your wardrobe, but also when it comes to your wallet and your confidence!

Women are going to spend money on clothes. But did you know that the way you spend money might be costing you more? Often I’ve found that women who only bought a piece or two at a time, or only shopped sales, thought they were spending far less money than they actually were. Conversely, those women who spent $1k or more in a strategic way actually saved money by buying more at once. Can you believe it?

Over the past decade as a Master Style Coach, I’ve noticed that women generally fall into one of five categories. I’ve also seen how their habits can destroy their confidence, or can boost it exponentially. Take note of the pros and the pitfalls with each category, and see what subtle shifts you can make so that your shopping habits work FOR you and not against you.

1/ Desperate Shopper
The desperate shopper waits until the last minute to shop for an outfit, and often en route to an event or even a job interview. Because they lack sufficient time to seek out items that are truly right for them, the desperate shopper settles for something that’s less than ideal. Maybe the style isn’t quite right, maybe she can’t find the right shoes, or she needs alterations. There’s no time to go anywhere else because she has less than 24 hours before her big event. Sometimes she even changes at the store to head straight to her event.

Paula was a desperate shopper on her way to a job interview when she popped into StyleFinder for the very first time. This was a risky move because she didn’t really know what we’d have and we had never worked with her before. We were quickly able to help her find an outfit that worked and she got lucky that we had her sizes in stock. She put together some jewelry that finished it off, but she had not worn the right shoes and, with just 5 minutes to spare, didn’t have time to shop for those elsewhere. She headed out the door feeling good, but could have felt so much better if she weren’t in a panic.

Mindset: “I’m not worth taking time out to shop or plan. I’ll just wait until the last minute.”
• Never gets it quite right
• Doesn’t want to wear things again because they didn’t really work the first time
• Never takes time to build a wardrobe
• Has way too many clothes but nothing she loves

2/ Bargain Shopper
The bargain (or discount) shopper ONLY shops the sale rack, or at discount stores like Target, Old Navy, etc. She is a sucker for a bargain and will settle for something that’s less than perfect if the price is right. She builds her wardrobe on cute, trendy and cheap pieces that aren’t built to last and never really has the foundation she needs.

Sarah was a bargain shopper when she first called me years ago. I got into her closet and quickly understood her issue: her wardrobe was built on cheap pieces bought at Target/Old Navy or on sale. After just a few wears many of them had pilled, stretched out or shrunk, and were no longer appropriate for her career. She felt frustrated that she had spent so much money, but had little to show for it. I taught her the principles of building a wardrobe, and she began to understand how to invest in her wardrobe, rather than just go cheap, and how it would save her money in the long run.

Mindset: “I am not worth paying full price to get what I need; I can always find a better deal”
• Sacrifices quality for price
• Settles for something that isn’t quite right for price
• Never really buys outfits, just separates
• Lots of one hit wonders or stray items
• Always has a closet full of clothes nothing to wear
• Missing core pieces that are the foundation of her wardrobe

3/ Casual Shopper
The casual shopper loves to shop and often enjoys it with friends on the weekend or an afternoon outing. She’s always on the lookout for the latest trends or something new to add to her wardrobe. She’ll buy a piece or two here and there, but rarely does she buy a full outfit.

Terry is a casual shopper who loves to check out her favorite boutiques after lunch with friends. They’ll stroll in and out of their fave shops to see the latest accessories, colors, shoes and trends. Occasionally they’ll find something and each of them will have to have it: a necklace, a cute hat, a fun pair of pants. But rarely does she take the time to try on a full outfit. Terry confides in me that she feels like she spends so much money on clothes but can’t figure out why she has such a hard time getting dressed in the morning.

Mindset: “I deserve to look good and am always looking for something to add to my wardrobe.”

• Buys a piece or two at a time, hoping things will work together (but they rarely do)
• Never buys an outfit or even a capsule
• Buys more clothes but never ‘builds’ a wardrobe
• Too many clothes, but it doesn’t all work together

4/ Get it Done Shopper
The Get it Done Shopper is a serious shopper who shops like many men do. They go into their favorite boutique once or twice a year and buy a season’s worth of clothes at once, including accessories and jewelry. Then they don’t set foot inside a boutique for another 6 months or so because they have what they need.

Our client, Irene, is a get-it-done shopper. We see her a couple of times a year and we know that when she makes an appearance, she means business. When Irene shops, she doesn’t want just items, she wants outfits, complete with the best necklace, earrings, scarf or jacket to complete the look. Ready to invest in her wardrobe, she knows that if she spends $1 – $2K now, she’ll have exactly what she needs all season. She is sure to get everything she needs – including advice on what shoes to wear – so that she can go through the next season looking and feeling great! She is able to get dressed quickly and easily each season and knows she always has something to wear.

Mindset: “I don’t like to shop, but I want to look polished and need to do this for myself; I know if I invest the time and money to get what I need, I won’t have to think about my wardrobe for another 6 months.”

• May fall into a rut
• Wears same outfits over and over
• Doesn’t refresh often

5/ Strategic Shopper
This type of shopper is the ideal type. She shops once a quarter, booking an appointment with her favorite Stylista to ensure she gets what she needs for any events, trips or just everyday wear for the upcoming season. She is sure to build a capsule, including jewelry and accessories, and get advice on the right shoes and lingerie. Because of her habits, her look is consistent and creates confidence.

Mary is a strategic shopper and knows exactly what she needs. She books her appointment with us quarterly for a Wardrobe Strategy Session and often brings in a few pieces from her wardrobe. Mary knows time is money, and she is not afraid to buy exactly what she needs. She also pops in a few times throughout the season to add in those touches she know will set off her wardrobe including tops in bright colors, fresh jewelry or an unexpected jacket. She is sure to buy only things she knows will work with what she already has in her closet. She gets dressed in five minutes or less everyday because she has taken the time to build a wardrobe, and she cleans her closet out at least twice a year. She loves her closet and feels great when she walks into it, knowing it supports her in her life.

Mindset: “I’m worth it and I’m going to invest time and money into my wardrobe, knowing it will pay me back in spades.”


Take note of which type of shopper you are and what tweaks you can make to your habits to set yourself up for success.

Need help? Our Stylistas can help make your shopping more efficient while saving you money. Book your complimentary Wardrobe Strategy Session today!