How to Look Stylish When You Hate Shopping

6 rules of thumb that help your laziness work for you.

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The girl who sits next to you at work – the one with the adorable collection of platform sandals, leather jackets and the rich girl hair? You appreciate her cute outfits and her Euro-influenced “effortless style”. Inspired by – uh, jealous of – her “look”, you occasionally decide to make a tad more effort, and go shopping. But after five minutes with the fluorescent lights, the pushy sales people and the endless racks you get a wave of exhaustion thinking about all the goddamn crap you have to try on to get one thing you like. So, you turn around and leave, thinking you’ll just shop on-line. But you don’t do that either. Because you hate shopping. Yet, you want to be stylish.

Do you see the problem?

This is an exhausting situation. But, it’s solvable! Which is why we devised a few excellent rules of thumb for you to use.

1. CHAIN STORES ARE FOR BASICS. If you shop at stores like Old Navy, Zara and H&M, our advice is to do it sparingly. Not only is the impact of fast fashion terrible for the health of the planet, it is also not the most original route. Get your basics and, then, spice it up. 10-15 minutes in a consignment store or a re-sale site (like Tradesy) can help you find some low-cost, unusual objects that change your boring, corporation-generated black sheath into something that’s all you.

2. BUY INVESTMENT ACCESSORIES. This is a very key concept when you hate shopping. Invest in a few well-made, more expensive pieces (you can buy them re-sale) that fall into the category of shoes, bags or accessories (blazers can also be good for this). Make them statement pieces. Then, you can get away with your I-hate-shopping-attitude and still be stylish because the hard, cold truth is that you can wear pajamas if you are carrying a Chanel bag.

3. FOLLOW THE FRENCH. Some would say they are flawed when it comes to mouth hygiene or sunny dispositions, but the French – Parisians in particular – are seriously on to something when it comes to style. Our personal favorite guide is Ines de la Fressange. If you don’t know her, she is a style maven who wrote a book called Parisian Chic that boils down what makes the French crush it so nicely when it comes to style. She also has the dubious distinction of saying: “My toothbrush is my mascara” which basically means that brushing your teeth is critical to looking stylish (useful advice to her country-people). A few key points that might be more relevant to Americans:

Wear trends selectively.

If you love it, buy more than one.

Shop in the men’s section.

Buy clothes when you travel (even New York to L.A.) for greater variety.

4. DON’T OVER-DO THE LUXURY. Even if you’re rich, never, ever cover yourself head-to-toe in designer labels. You look like an idiot. Worse, you appear to have no imagination, which is the opposite of style. We all know that girl who wears seven fancy labels at once. She’s got perfection issues. She’s often in credit card debt. Don’t be her.

5. HAVE OTHER PEOPLE SHOP FOR YOU. You don’t have to be a Kardashian to have other people shop for you. Even going shopping – on-line or in real life – with a friend whose style you admire can be an eye-opening experience (and slightly more fun than braving the stores alone). See what they pick for you. There are also companies like Stitch Fix and Stylit that will get your dimensions, your likes and dislikes, charge you a modest styling fee and mail a package to you. This way, you can try on items that you wouldn’t necessarily pick out for yourself. You may be pleasantly surprised. Plus, it means you never have to leave your house.

6. GO FOR MID-LEVEL DESIGNERS. Let go of the idea that LV or Chanel or Balmain are the final word in style. There are so many gorgeous designers who don’t have luxury cachet. And, because they are younger, they tend to be more fashion forward, take more risks and give you a little bit of insider-attitude which might make the girl with “the rich girl hair” go shopping herself. Some great labels under this category are Maison Martin Margiela, Isabel Marant, Acne, Alexander Wang and Stella McCartney among many others.

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