PHOTO: The new season has arrived at Ted Baker
I know I've been banging on about shopping for the new season quite a lot recently but it is a chance to embrace the change in the weather and help you get over the end-of-Summer blues. However, it can be a battleground so don't go in alone. Lucky for you, I've got a few tips to prepare you! There are shopping trips and there are shopping trips. Sometimes it's nice to have a leisurely wander around with girlfriends punctuated with long lunches and cake stops. These tips are for those servious shopping trips when you actually want to buy something that will build your wardrobe.
Online: Before you go out to the shops, do your research online. Time spent trawling the web from the comfort of your armchair will be well spent once you are surrounded by a thousand options at your local shopping mall. Go to individual retailers' websites which you know you frequently visit and compile a short list of your favourite pieces. You can then hunt out these pieces in the flesh once you're in store. Check out vogue.co.uk, style.com or any other online fashion magazine to get inspiration from the catwalks.
Less haste: If you are not sure about something, even for a moment, don't buy it. We've all got those regretful purchases lurking in our wardrobe. Metallic purple sandals, anyone? If you walk out of the shop and never think of that item again then you've done the right thing. If you find you spend the remainder of your shopping trip wishing you'd bought it then go back for it. Many of the stores sell different versions of the same thing so have a look at them all before you buy.
Saturday shopping: If you can help it, don't shop on a Saturday. It may be your day off but that applies to the rest of the country too. It is much harder for the staff to provide a decent level of service and anyone who has been around the shops on a Saturday afternoon has seen some of the smartest stores resemble a jumble sale.
Dress the part: Make sure you are comfortable. Don't go shopping in a full face of party make-up and high heels. It won't be long before you've left most of your face on the neckline of that gorgeous white shirt you tried on and your feet are killing you. Most of your trip will be spent pit-stopping at coffee shops.
Service: Don't stand for sub-standard service. There are so many stores out there with fabulously attentive stafff so don't reward bad service with your hard earned cash. If you don't feel you're getting what you deserve then ask for the manager or just walk out. A good salesperson should be able to advise you without being your yes-man. If something isn't right for you, they should tell you so while offering you an alternative.
So now it's time for me to take my own advice and head off to the shops. I've done my online homework so now I just need to resist those sky high metaliic purple sandals.