The Shopping Uniform: What (not) to wear when shopping

As I contemplate hitting Boxing Day sales this week, I started thinking about appropriate shopping outfits–outfits that I would feel comfortable in, I could easily slip on and off, and that would be neutral enough to match with most clothing options.  In that process, I realized I have a “Shopping Uniform”, which is essentially the same uniform I wore when shopping for wedding outfits!

I hate trying on clothes, particularly the process of taking off my own clothes and putting them back on. I aim for minimal layering and fitted options that are easy to try clothes on top of. Here are my tips, from head to toe, for wedding outfit shopping and “regular” clothes shopping.


Keep your hair simple. If you’re wedding shopping, take an extra few minutes to make it look nice, but not fussy. Either wear it down or a very simple chignon so it doesn’t ruin easily when you try things on. You can’t get a feel for the outfit if your hair is frizzing out or totally unkempt.


Again, keep it simple. If you normally wear make up,  minimize the foundation (you don’t want it to get on clothes, especially wedding clothes!), but take time to wear concealer (if needed), maybe some mascara and blush. You want to look well-rested and “fresh”, particularly if you’re trying wedding outfits on. It’s hard to appreciate a wedding outfit if you look like you just rolled out of bed


None; if you must, wear small earrings and jewelry that won’t snag onto or clash with clothing.


If shopping for regular clothes, please wear a neutral coloured bra that fits and supports you well–no wireless, “Sunday” bras here, ladies!. If shopping for wedding outfits, wear a supportive strapless bra. Wait–even before you venture out shopping, get fitted for a bra if you haven’t already. Your girls need to be properly supported to get an accurate feel for how a top or dress will look on you.


My personal preference is  a fitted, white or black tank with thin straps, like this top from Revolve Clothing:

with a long, thin cardigan, such as this Theory cardigan from Revolve Clothing:

This tank + cardi combo is perfect because it keeps you warm and it’s versatile. It works in winter and when the weather is warming up or cooling down.  The cardi is super easy to take off and on, and the white cami allows you try to tops that might require a camisole underneath. It also works, however, even for tops that don’t require camis. When Indian wedding shopping, the cami provides you with some extra…coverage, as experience has taught me that several Indian clothing stores don’t have the most private of change rooms…For example, I’ve changed in a storage room, a “lunch” room, in a room with large cracks in the doors, behind a curtain that covered very little…and the list goes on. In warmer weather, just opt for a simple tank or t-shirt–nothing with buttons or zippers.


Please wear underwear that does not show pantylines!!! There are excellent seamless panties and thongs out there–check out the Commando line. I actually wore a pair on my own wedding day, which I bought  from Secrets from Your Sister  (also an excellent place for bra fittings!)


My personal preference is  black leggings (I hope they never go out of style!!). Leggings are awesome because they are super comfortable and they are almost like a second skin. You can try on quite a few outfits without taking them off: dresses, shirts, skirts, saris, lenghs, even shalwars! And again, the leggings offer that extra coverage if you prefer not to have your ass on display for any Indian store employee or customer leering at you through the crack in the changeroom door.


Sandals preferred if it’s summer; and not your Birks or Mephistos, but  something comfortable yet feminine. If it’s colder weather, comfortable flats. Stay away from the sneakers if you can; they often look bulky and scruffy. If it’s cold (kinda like now), choose boots that are easy to slip on and off. If you’re trying to match shoes with an outfit, take the shoes with you and try them on with potential outfits.


For us unfortunate cold climate dwellers, do not to wear your heaviest, warmest coat. You will melt. If you’re at a mall, leave your coat in the car and sprint to the mall from the parking lot. If you’re going store to store, for example if shopping on Queen West or going from one Indian store to the next, wear the lightest, but warmest coat you can, which preferably has a zipper–much easier to handle than multiple buttons.


Wear a messenger bag or another type of bag that you can wear across your body. A messenger bag keeps your hands free to browse through collections and carry purchases. Keep your purse items to essentials. Minimize any extra weight.

Overall, minimize any “extras”: no buttons, no belts, no multiple layers, no turtle necks, no buckles. The simpler your outfit, the better! You’ll be able to spend less time undressing and re-dressing and more time shopping!

And also remember to eat a good meal before you head out and take water with you. You will not be able to make proper decisions on an empty stomach or if dying from thirst. I know I can’t!!

Happy Shopping!




2 thoughts on “The Shopping Uniform: What (not) to wear when shopping

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