When I was a kid, my Great Aunt Ella introduced me to the wonders of big city sale shopping. She’d don hat and gloves, prepare her purse with chocolate treats to dole out at intervals, and take me on the streetcar to some of her favourite fashion haunts in Montreal. It was summer in the 60s, and for Auntie Ella, shopping was serious business. We’d spend the day elbowing our way through hoards of like-minded women and girls looking for the best deals and return to the 3rd story flat she shared with two sisters, exhausted but happy, with our multicoloured parcels and hatboxes.
The chocolate thing has stuck with me. Many times that bit of sugar and caffeine has kept me from fainting during an all-day buying spree; but, times have changed since Auntie Ella took me to those 1960’s cathedrals of shopping, and I’ve picked up a few pointers along the way.
Whether you’re shopping for funky vintage at spots like Vintage Soul Geek’s semi-annual garage sale or culling the overstuffed racks at Forever 21 on a 50% off day, you’ll want to dress for maximum ease, speed, and efficiency for trying stuff on – in the change rooms or right in the aisle. Here’s the Hat Show Lady’s head-to-toe guide to dressing for the occasion:
• Go Hatless: Even if the sale is outdoors, this is probably the only time I can be found without a hat. At the type of sale that I’m talking about, where other economy-minded fashionistas jostle and grab for those one-of-a-kind marked down treasures, a hat will get in the way. If you wear one, it may get knocked off, and if you put it down, a precious fashion hat may get crushed, lost, or stolen. Perhaps even sold! You need your hands free to dig for those bargains, so ix-nay on the chapeau.
• Abandon the Sunglasses: I know you want to look cool, but you will need clear vision to spot stains, fabric flaws, and colour variations.
• Wear Inexpensive Stud Earrings: This is a must if you plan to try the clothes on. As you yank items on and off over your head, an expensive earring can inadvertently slip off in the frenzy and be forever lost. A dangling one can snag a desired garment.
• Leave your Lipstick at Home: Just Google how difficult it is to remove a lipstick stain from fabric, and you will see the wisdom of leaving your lips bare.
• Wear a Simple Choker: A short collar-style necklace won’t get caught in a garment and will help you visualize the potential of any garment you try on in the mirror.
• Dress in a Simple Shift: If you don’t have a dress you can pull on and off over your head without fiddling with zips or buttons, get one. This will save you dressing room time and energy.
• Slip-on Shoes are a Must. You don’t want to fiddle with laces or shoe buckles when trying on pants. Again, this is a dressing room time and energy saving tip.
• Strap Yourself into a Fanny Pack or Purse that Converts to a Backpack: A traditional handbag will get in the way and risks being stolen if placed on the shop room floor.
Bonus Tip: Pack a snack; if the sale is as good as you hope it is, you will need to keep up your stamina.
What are your marathon shopping tops? Please post them below.