For many women, shopping for new clothes can be a stressful experience that leaves your self-esteem feeling a little battered. This negative experience is especially exacerbated if you don’t like your body or if you struggle with emotional eating – since shopping increases focus on all the parts of your body that you don’t feel comfortable with.

But shopping can, and should be, an enjoyable experience. It should not be an activity that leaves you feeling dissatisfied with your body and vowing to go on a diet tomorrow. Everybody deserves to feel comfortable in what they wear, and to dress in clothes which complement their figure and bring them joy.

This blog, gives you 9 useful tips to help you do your clothes shopping with ease and confidence.

Try On New Clothes When You’re Feeling Positive

Avoid shopping when you’re feeling tired, stressed or emotional. If you have a tight deadline looming at the office or you’ve had a fight with your partner, any negative thoughts about your body are going to be much harder to deal with. Try to schedule your shopping trip for when you’re in a good frame of mind.

Go Slow

Choose a day when you have plenty of time, and can shop at a leisurely pace with no pressure to be somewhere else. Shopping in a hurry can cause you to buy items which, when you try them on a second time at home, are not as comfortable or flattering as you initially thought.

Consider Your Cycle

You might find this tip slightly strange, but it’s based on sound logic. If you’re feeling bloated, tired and emotional, these sensations will undoubtedly increase body dissatisfaction. Schedule the shopping for when you’re not premenstrual.

Buy For the Body You Have

We’ve all done this. It can be so tempting to buy those jeans which, when we suck in our stomach, look fabulous. We convince ourselves they’ll fit like a dream once we’ve just lost a kilo or two. The truth is clothes should fit your body – you shouldn’t have to change your body to fit the clothes. The more uncomfortable the clothing, the more conscious of your body you will be. And not in a positive way. Buying comfortable and flattering clothing lets you get on with other, more important, aspects of your life. And you can include your new pieces in your wardrobe immediately.

Shop by Feel

This can be tricky when you’re in a fitting room surrounded by wall-to-wall mirror, but when you try the clothing on, without looking, decide if it feels good. Is it comfortable? Does it pinch in any area, or restrict your range of movement? If it feels good, THEN step back, look up and do a quick once-over to see if you like the overall effect.

The reality is that this is what other people see – not the in-depth scrutiny you put yourself through. Doing this will help you buy clothes which are actually comfortable to wear and move in.

Buck the Trend

You don’t have to wear what everyone else is wearing. There are as many different body shapes as there are people in the world, which is why there are so many different styles of clothing! If figure-hugging dresses make you super-conscious of your stomach, try something with a nipped in waist. If you’re not comfortable in skinny jeans, opt for wide leg pants or culottes. Ditch the trends and choose timeless pieces that work for your body shape and independent sense of style. You’ll feel better for it – and who knows what trends you might inspire!

Look at the Big Picture

It can be easy to zone in on the parts you don’t like about your body. Instead, try to focus on the overall effect of the clothing you’re trying on. When you are preoccupied with certain parts of your body – your thighs or abdomen, etc. – you are more likely to increase your body dissatisfaction. The more we scrutinise, the more we distort things. No clothing will ever look good to us when we do this. And the truth is, most people will never spend as much time studying our appearance as we do in the fitting room mirror.

Be Realistic

Fitting rooms are hardly idyllic. Recognise that the harsh lighting, cramped space and, in some cases, the mirrors on all sides, can make even body-positive women doubt that they look good!

Look for Advice

If you really don’t know what looks good on your body, why not take a good friend with you for advice. Choose someone who you trust and know will be honest with you. I often hear clients admit that they will try on different styles to what they normally would choose when prompted by a friend. Having a fresh and unbiased perspective and some honest guidance can open up a whole new world of possibility. It could be that you are stuck in a rut and all you need is some gentle advice from someone who knows and cares about you.

Think back to a time when you wore something that made you feel fabulous – that perfect pair of pants that made your hips look amazing; or that flowing summer dress that hugged all the right curves and hid the bits you dislike – those pieces that become our favourite wardrobe items for years to come. Remember, your clothes can either work against you, limiting you to be constantly conscious of your body, or they can free you to live your life with ease and confidence. Choosing items that really work for you can re-frame how you feel about clothing and shopping.

Lastly – be gentle on yourself. While you’re in the fitting room, as with all other areas of life, use and think words that you would say to a friend.

Shopping can be enjoyable. It can, and should be, an act of self-care not self-destruction.

Feel free to share this blog post if you think it will be helpful for your friends and family.

Happy shopping!

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