A Modern Woman’s Guide to Savvy Shopping

Buying into every clothing fad that hits the shelves will leave your closet bursting at the seams with “nothing to wear.” There’s a smarter way to shop and save money.

Fashion industry leaders don’t follow the same regime they feed their customers.

Head designer and creative director of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld has been wearing the same thing for 30 years—and don’t forget fashion icon and chief editor of Vogue Anna Wintour who has worked oversized shades and a bob since the ‘80s.

Successful people such as themselves find something that works for them and stick with it. If they changed their looks as fast as Zara changes its stock, they wouldn’t have the creative energy to fuel the fashion industry in the first place.

They are proof that you won’t look dated if you don’t go shopping every month. This is, of course, assuming that when you do shop, you shop correctly.

To shop correctly, you must understand and appreciate your figure. Even in my short lifetime, gaucho pants have come in, out, in and back out of style. Despite their recurring presence, not everyone should buy gaucho pants.

Various fashion magazines attempt to help women pick flattering clothes by categorizing their bodies into three or four groups such has “boy figure”, “apple-shaped” or “pear-shaped.”

In reality, women come in infinite shapes and sizes. Though it would be convenient to fall under a single body shape, your body is far more complex. The only thing you can do is develop an eye for what does and doesn’t work for you. To help you adjust your wardrobe to your body and lifestyle, here are some general guidelines.

Take your proportions into consideration.


Dressing for your figure is about achieving balance. Women who are bigger on top should avoid high necklines and tight-fitting blouses.

If you have hips or legs that are significantly wider than your upper body, you want to avoid color blocking with black on top and white on the bottom. It still holds true that black is trimming and white is… well, the opposite.

Patterns, like colors, can also be employed for their illusionary effects. Where vertical patterns lengthen, horizontal patterns widen, so take your proportions into consideration when buying a paisley boho top or striped jeans.

Identify your coloring.


Red lipstick is a classic go-to like the little black dress? Not if pink lipstick suits you better!

Like any other physical trait, everyone’s coloring is different. Accordingly, there is a unique selection of colors that will suit you better than others.

To determine your ideal wardrobe’s color scheme, you must first identify your coloring. One effective way of doing so involves undertones and contrast levels.

1. Find your undertones:

  • Look at the veins on the inside of your arm. Veins that appear blue-green indicate warm undertones while veins that appear blue-purple indicate cool undertones.
  • If the color is ambiguous, then ask yourself: do you prefer wearing gold or silver jewelry? Gold complements warmer undertones while silver complements cooler undertones.

2. If you have…

  • warm undertones: You have gold or peachy hues and look best in warm colors and earth tones like olive, beige and yellow.
  • cool undertones: You have pink or blue hues and look best in cool colors like purple, gray and aqua.

3. Do your hair and eye color contrast with your skin tone? If you have…

  • dark hair with cool undertones: Your contrasting features are striking and allow you to sport attention-grabbing colors. Intense and bright hues like red or royal blue look great on you. There’s no need to bother with muted or soft colors.
  • dark hair with warm undertones: Your hair, eyes and skin tone do not contrast with one another. They all carry rich and warm hues, making autumn your ideal color palette. Think spicy oranges, deep reds and earth tones. Harsh colors like white may take away from your lovely face!
  • light hair with warm undertones: The contrast between your cool hair color and warm skin tone make red lipstick a must! Both bright and soft colors look great on you whereas darker, muted colors don’t do much.
  • light hair with cool undertones: Very little contrast here; you have light and delicate features across the board. You have a wide range of flattering color schemes as long as they aren’t too vivid or harsh. You look best in cool pastels like lavender.

Dress the Part.

A 2012 study concludes that people work more effectively when dressed for the part.

Through my own trial-and-error, I have discovered that the right outfit can reap the same rewards of a double espresso in the morning.

This is an especially useful trick for morning classes when skipping a coffee can mean 20 extra minutes of sleep! As a journalism major, I find myself most productive in casual, neat clothing.

Simple cuts and soft fabrics help me to stay focused and comfortable. However, if you’re a photographer, you may feel most creative in something more expressive. And let’s take this moment to quickly address the “athleisure” phenomenon.

Unless you’re something akin to a yoga instructor or personal trainer—or, of course, going to work out— I can find no good reason to be dressed as such.

Buy clothing you will actually wear.


Now that you’ve considered what suits your body and your lifestyle, make sure to keep this in mind when you shop.

Avoid impulsive buys on trendy items by assessing whether or not buying the item makes sense for you. Does it do credit to your unique attributes? If you hate clubbing, will you actually wear that red bodycon dress?

You now have the tools to shop correctly, so go get ‘em. Don’t forget to share your own shopping tips with us below!

About the author

Isabella Le Bon

Isabella is a francophile and health nut who loves dark chocolate, Otis Redding and cured Spanish ham. She loves traveling and dinner conversations that last until the wee hours of the morning.

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