ExecSearch International - Australia

ExecSearch International - Australia

Dress for Effect Articles

Dread Free Shopping

By Duff Watkins and Jean Woo

Many guys view shopping as like a prostate exam, dreaded but necessary.  And neither should last all day.

But since both are essential for your continued well-being as a male, let’s man-up and learn the 6 rules for dread free shopping.

1. Invest wisely:   Billionaire investor Warren Buffet wishes people were limited to only 20 investment decisions in their lifetime because then they’d think deeply before purchasing shares.

Purchasing on a whim is a great way to lose money in both the stock market and men’s shops.

You’ll save time and money, make fewer bad buys, and have fewer regrets if you limit your purchases to only clothes in which you truly want to be seen.

2. Efficient, not fast:  Psychologists say it’s unwise to buy groceries when you’re hungry because you buy more than you need and you buy more junk food.

Similarly, it’s unwise to buy clothes when you are in a hurry because you buy more than you need and you buy clothes destined for the junk bin.  Neither junk food nor junk clothes will enhance your figure.  Stick to what’s good for you.

Ironically, the most efficient way to shop is to take your time.  Buy clothes only when you’ve got time to try them on, compare prices, and inspect the garment closely.

Shopping is like a 100 metre dash in that you want to finish fast but you also want to win.  The only sure way to win at shopping is to buy stuff that you actually need or love.  Better still if you need and love it.


3. Pay for value:  It’s not the cost that counts, it’s the value.  High quality clothes look better and last longer.  That’s why it’s smarter to buy one truly good suit than three cheap ones.  High quality garments enhance your image every time you wear them.  That’s worth paying for.

How do you think the advertisers in this magazine stay in business?  They make high quality garments that retain value and style over time.  Best of all, the longer your clothes last and stay stylish, the fewer times you’ll have to shop.  (Hey, now there’s a silver lining.)

4. Be sales smart:   Experienced shoppers know that the most beautiful word in the English language is “clearance” because it means bargains are to be had.  But even sales don’t always offer smart buys.  Mark downs may tempt you but unless the garment truly grabs or you you’d consider buying it at full price, save your money and keep shopping.  Remember, making bad purchases at reduced prices is just another way of getting reamed.

5. This goes with that:  Always view the big picture.  You don’t wear garments in isolation so don’t buy them in isolation.  Your every purchase must coordinate with something else in your closet.  Your outfits should hang together like great companions, not resemble a shotgun wedding.  If an item doesn’t contribute to your wardrobe’s ‘big picture’ then don’t blow your dough.

6. First, buy right:  Returning stuff is a waste of time and energy.  Buy right the first time and you’ll avoid the hassle of seeking refunds, exchanges and store credits.

The secret of buying right the first time lies in knowing what you can and cannot wear.  Before you even get near a cash register you need to know if the garment flatters your image or flattens it.  If you’re unsure, then don the garment, find the nearest mirror and stare hard into it.  This will remove all ambiguity from your decision.

Finally, remember the golden rule shared by shopping and prostate exams:  get in, get what you want, and get out.

How to Shop Smart:

Say you’re out shopping and see something that you really like but aren’t sure if it’s a good buy?

Find out fast by asking these 3 questions:

  • Fit or fixable?  Does it fit now or can it be fixed later?  Off the rack purchases won’t always fit you perfectly.  But tailoring can transform an ordinary purchase into an excellent one.  So don’t skimp on alterations.  Next to Fido, a good tailor is a man’s best friend.  If it can be altered to fit you, buy it.  If it requires major surgery, forget it.
  • Where to wear?  Your clothes have destinations.  You don’t wear a tux to a dogfight and you don’t wear shorts to the opera.  Certain clothes are worn at certain places.  Figure that out before you buy.  Only purchase clothes that fit you and your upcoming situations.
  • Now or never?  Buy clothes only for your ‘now’.  No garment, style or trend lasts forever.  That’s why shopping for clothes is like shopping for computers.  You upgrade and update at the same time.  Buy clothes that are appropriate for your stage of life and you’ll always be a smart, successful shopper.
Dr. Duff Watkins

Dr Duff Watkins

is Director, ExecSearch International - Australia. His articles appear in Men’s Style Australia, Sydney Morning Herald, Company Director Magazine, Melbourne Herald Sun and many others.

Jean Woo 

Jean Woo

is author of Executive Style. dress essentials for men and women.  Once a corporate lawyer, she is now Director of Personal Brand Management. They are co-authors of Dress For Effect.: secrets of sartorial splendour