Fashion Junkie Shares 8 Tips to Shop Smart, Without Losing Your Cool or Your Money

By Zarine Bajaj

I worked in the media industry for more than a decade, mostly with NDTV on entertainment, lifestyle and fashion programming. But my interest in style and design finally landed me at the studio of India’s ace designer Gaurav Gupta, heading his PR and marketing. Surrounded by designers and seeing the fashion market at work, I felt something was not quite right.

I set out to find must-have pieces in Delhi but was at a loss where to start. However, when I was ready for lunch, my iPhone enabled me to seamlessly discover places to eat on Zomato. Why not the same for fashion, I thought.

That’s when I decided to create a fashion discovery website and mobile app that uses geolocation services to help a shopper find, by simple clicks, what designers, boutiques and brands are around and who sells merchandise of her interest.

Over the last few years of being a fashion-app developer and a fashion addict, this is how I’ve streamlined my shopping, and you can too.

zarine-bajaj
A fashion addict and former media professional, Zarine Bajaj founded the Findow fashion app

MAKE A LIST
Don’t wait until you’re at the store to figure out what you need. Do the research, take stock of your closet. Prioritize your wish list in case you run out of time. A list helps you stick to your budget, and stops you from buying things you don’t really need – even if they scream ‘sale’.

PRE-SHOP
Prior to your shopping trip, visit the store’s website and get an idea of their styles and prices. Make a note of what interests you, and read reviews to get a sense of whether other customers have found those items to be well-made, appropriately sized, and so on. But be flexible too. Sometimes, items don’t look as good as we’d imagined or we make unexpected discoveries.

BE COMFORTABLE
Don’t wear clothes that are hard to get on and off. A pair of jeans may be effortless, but banded pants or shorts that don’t need buttoning up are more practical. You might want to consider a nice-fitting dress that’s comfortable and easy to slip on.

CONSIDER TIMING
If you shop during peak times or weekends, you may be exhausted even by the time you’ve found a parking spot. To avoid unsettling crowds, shop first thing in the morning or right before a shop closes, and you’ll enjoy shorter lines and easier parking. Take mini-breaks for water, snacks, or simply a quiet moment away from the fray.

TRY IT ON
It’s true! Sometimes a piece is stunning on the hanger but just doesn’t look right on your frame and sometimes it’s the other way around. It’s also important to try on a variety of silhouettes (midi skirts, high-waisted trousers, boxy tees, crop tops, shift dresses) to know which styles work best for you. This will help later when you shop online too.

women'secret
The new Women’secret store in Phoenix MarketCity, Bangalore

USE FINDOW TO SAVE TIME
My app Findow helps you discover fashion nearby and across the country. You can not only locate and identify styles, stores and designers but also create your personal style diaries, review labels, and search for trend-setting products by leading designers and stylists. You can also browse categories such as “popular” or “bridal” and like, share or comment on your favourite snaps.

SHOP BACKWARDS
Always choose your wedding outfit first, then move to the other functions. Say you find a brilliant outfit for the sangeet in fuchsia pink. But then you find a perfect wedding outfit in the same colour, and you can’t buy it! Once the outfits are sorted, go for the accessories, shoes, jewellery, makeup, and so on.

DON’T BRING AN ENTOURAGE
Opinions are usually all over the place, and can overwhelm you. Just pick one or two key persons to go with you. By keeping your support system small, you will get the most honest opinions because these people know you best.

 

First published in the August 2017 issue of eShe magazine