Tips for Olympic Style Shopping

With the Olympics going strong, I’ve been watching a lot of sports lately and got to thinking…

I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m not what you’d call athletic. I’ve certainly never been accepted onto any team. Although I’m a pretty fearless skier, the U.S. Olympic Committee definitely isn’t calling.

On the other hand, I know that if shopping were ever a sanctioned Olympic sport, I’d be the captain of the team. Well, the U.S. team anyway. And we’d have the most stylish uniforms ever, lol!

Now I know what you’re thinking, “This woman must be crazy! Shopping isn’t a sport!” I beg to differ. The ways shopping compares to sports are numerous.

And if you still think I’m crazy, I encourage you to read on to learn some valuable shopping tips!

There are 5 ways that shopping is similar to sports you’re all familiar with such as hockey, skiing and figure skating. You need to strategize. It’ also imperative to focus and visualize success and have a positive mental attitude. And just like in any sport, you’ll need a “coach.” I’ll go over each one in a little more detail, so you’ll understand the relationship.

STRATEGIZE

It’s crucial to strategize. Just like a sport has plays, you need to have a plan when you go shopping. You have to know what you need, where to get it and how to get the best deal.

Any shopping trip will be more successful when you do a little research and give thought to which stores might be your best bets for what you need. For example, if you were shopping for a new black blazer, you’d be more apt to find one at your favorite department store than at Eddie Bauer, where you might prefer to shop. But you’d probably end up with a black fleece jacket instead of a blazer, which won’t give you a lot of clout at your next meeting!

You also need to strategize to buy complete outfits so that you don’t have a lot of things hanging in your closet that don’t have anything to go with them. So many of my clients find fantastic pieces that fit them like a dream, but the clothes never get worn, because they’re just not sure how to wear them.

I know that before I trained as an image consultant, I’d go shopping, see something I’d love, and then my mind would go completely blank when I’d try to think of what was already in my closet to pair with the stellar item. The best way to remedy this is to buy complete outfits. If you love that skirt, search for the perfect top…and shoes and accessories if necessary. Your style strategy will have been so complete, you’ll be able to wear the outfit to work the very next day!

And to hit it home one last time… if you go shopping without a game plan, you may be throwing lots of balls, but never really hitting your goal…looking fabulous.

FOCUS AND VISUALIZE SUCCESS

Next, it’s important to focus and visualize success. If you’ve ever watched the Olympics and you see a female gymnast approach the beginning of her run to the vault. You never see her walk up and immediately start running. Instead she approaches slowly, she pauses, looks at her target and many times proceeds to close her eyes for a few seconds before she nods and starts her run. She’s visualizing herself completing her vault and succeeding.

Not to sound too woo-woo or “new agey”, you can even manifest what you’re shopping for. I’m not an expert in manifestation, but when you really focus on what you need, possibly even picturing details*, the more likely you are to find it.

One time I needed a white dress for a gala I was attending. Before I set out to shop, I got extremely clear on what I wanted. I stayed open minded, but imagined what the dress might look like and how I’d feel wearing it. I referred to tip #1 and thought of what store might have a white dress, so I stopped at White House Black Market in Cherry Creek North. When I walked into the store, the perfect white dress practically jumped out at me.

That white frock was of the best dresses I’ve ever owned!

Along with focusing and visualizing what you want, it’s important to have a positive mental attitude. If you go shopping with thoughts like “I hate shopping” or “I’m never going to find what I need,” chances are you’ll walk through the stores with blinders on, never even seeing all the possibilities that are meant for you.

STAMINA

Just like it is in almost any sport, stamina is important for shopping. Can you imagine a ski racer who hadn’t done any training, had no stamina and didn’t even have proper equipment? (It’s really pretty absurd, but stay with me here.) Shopping is the same. If you aren’t wearing the right shoes, i.e. comfortable, or you don’t have any water or snacks for energy, it’s likely you’ll run out of steam quickly before you have the chance to uncover the treasures waiting for you.

Even though I shop for a living, I’ll be the first to admit shopping is tiring. (It’s not tiring at all for me when I’m shopping for others, though!) When I was younger, I used to love to go shopping with my mother all day long. At the end of the day, we’d be completely wiped out! I could never figure out why…I was young and in reasonably good shape. There was no reason until I thought about it a little further. Obviously you’re doing a lot of walking, standing and trying on. But you’re also, taking in stimulus from all around you. Think about it…bright lights, merchandise, color all around you. The visual stimulation is just the beginning.

Think about all of the decisions you’re making. You’re bound to get tired. If you’re not up for a full day of shopping, consider breaking it up into smaller bits of time, which is what I do with my clients.

I know a shorter trip sounds wonderful, but I’m not talking about a half an hour and then going home. It’s still important to have a game plan, a goal and of course some endurance, but feel free to give yourself permission to go home after your set amount of time. Maybe you’ll buy something. Maybe you won’t. Either way…it’s okay!

Because you’ve strategized and haven’t waited until the last minute to buy your interview suit or the fabulous gown for a fundraiser, you can go out shopping another day. Stores get merchandise in all of the time, and perhaps what wasn’t there today, will be there in a couple of days.

GET A COACH

Every athlete needs a coach, and just because shopping isn’t really an athletic endeavor doesn’t mean you don’t need a coach. A “shopping coach” can come in many forms, but in it’s purest form, you’re asking for help.

Even a salesperson can be a “coach.” She can help you! Let’s face it…stores have lots of merchandise. It can be almost impossible to see every single, merchandise offering they have available. You might not see that perfect white dress, but the salesperson knows where it is in the store. And if they don’t have the item you’re looking for, this “coach” can save you a lot of time!

Or get a real coach like an image consultant/wardrobe consultant/personal stylist. She will learn all your needs and be able to help you strategize your wardrobe and shopping trips!

Now that you’ve read through, I hope you’re convinced shopping truly is very much like a sport. And I hope you’ve gained some shopping tips, so you’ll be able to go out for the “team.” If you’d like to learn some tips dealing a bit more with the finances of shopping and what best to invest in and what to avoid, check out this post.

I’ll reiterate my love for skiing, but I know I’m never going to the Olympics for skiing. But if the U. S. Olympic Committee ever sanctions the sport of shopping, I hope you’ll look for me and root me on.

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