How to Shop a Store (Mindmap included)

I bet you’ve never strategically thought about how to shop a store or made a game plan for the mall, but I have. I know it might sound little type-A for some of you  it does to me, because I am absolutely not type-A  but this works. Buying clothes and staying true your personal style are not one in the same. We have overwhelm, marketing and comparison to thank for that. I have suffered (and still suffer) from all three. That’s why I started to map out my shopping expeditions ahead of time in my head so I didn’t fall prey to the dreaded buyer’s remorse or non-buyer’s remorse.


If you have fallen victim to bad purchasing decisions, today we are going to change that. Shopping fatigue is a real thing, and it's when we get tired that we make bad decisions. Combine that with manipulative marketing, and you've got a bad recipe for unconscious purchasing. Let’s go over some tips for a pre-shopping warm up.


Have A List!

Yes, just like the grocery store. I am saying to have to follow it to a T, but if you are on a budget and complain that you can never afford the things you really want, this is why. You spend money on things you don’t really need. Think about the bigger picture here. You really want that beautiful silk blouse that cost $150  you know it will last you forever and you know how good it will make you feel…so STOP spending $30 at H&M on the half-ass quality silk blouse that you feel less than your best in. Yes, I understand the instant gratification thing, but if your style and feeling good is really important, then stick to your list for optimal long-lasting gratification.


Make A List!

      Your list should be something you continue to make and add to when you are not shopping. The list is comprised of pieces you have thought about for a while. Like every time you look at your closet and think, "I really need a ridiculous cool leather jacket", add it to your list. Or when you have thought more than once how bad you need a new perfectly fitted white button down to go with this and that, add it to your list.

I am not saying you can’t see something at the mall you love and not ever get it, but I suggest you add it to your list first, and if you still want it a few weeks/months down the road, then get it.

*I know someone people might not have a budget and buying makes them feel good and they have the means ($$$), but I really suggest following a list because having more stuff makes us feel weighed down, can dilute personal style and over-consumption is a dead end.


Ok, now that you have the basics down, let’s talk about how to shop a store. The rules break down into three easy steps: Enjoy, Edit, Educate



This is easy and is my favorite step of shopping a store. I love beautiful things and being near them. I know that might sound crazy, but I truly feel like I am alive when in a store that is curated to perfection. I have to touch and see everything and you should too!

This step is all about the overview. I want you to walk the whole store, take in everything, but do not look at the prices. You are only looking for what you love at this point, ignore, sales signs/marketing, just go where the wind (prerequisite store smells) take you. You don’t pick up anything yet…

Mindset: Image that money doesn’t matter right now. You are just looking for pieces that light you up and/or are on your list. Let your heart guide you, not your head.



OK, round two. We are going to go back to the pieces that caught our eye. The pieces we loved. Now you will find your sizes and check out the price (don’t let it deter you, even if it’s out of your budget, try it on!).

Head to the dressing room and try them on. Take your time, really make sure it fits, and think about how it feels. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no. If you are unsure, put it on your list and re-visit it next time you are in the store. Never buy anything because you are ahead it won’t be available, that’s just scarcity mentality taking over. I repeat, if you don’t LOVE it, leave it.

Mindset: Be open to the things you are drawn to. Try on lots. I love bringing lots of fun things into the dressing and playing dress up. I usually grab multiple sizes, colors, and cuts. This is your time to experiment.



Ok, now you have a bunch of information in your head and you might be overwhelmed. You might have a ton if options you love, pieces that have been on your list, great deals or possibly things that are out of your budget. So what do you do!?

If the piece meets these criteria: You absolute love, it fits perfectly and has been on your list you should buy it if the price is right as well.

When I say 'price is right', if buying this means you can’t pay rent or will fall behind in bills, the price is not right. Add it to your list and put money away for it. If you really want it you will find a way. If you can afford it, that I give you the green light to go for it.

Mindset: If at any point in this last part you feel unsure of the piece based on loving it or the fit, then hold off. Money should not be the leading factor when buying clothes, let go of this mindset, it never makes for good purchases.


OK, I know this is a ton of information, so I created this fun Mindset Map for you to print off and keep in your handbag or save to your desktop for online shopping. These principles for shopping a store can be used for the virtual shopping world, too.

I really hope this helps you and gives you some new insights into shopping. It’s changed how I've been shopping  this should be fun whether or not you buy something, so go ahead, enjoy yourself. 


Always Polishing Up,


How to Shop a Store
CollectJodi Belden