Whether you’re the woman who searches every rack, or the weary traveller looking for the first available couch to sit on — shopping is something most of us can’t avoid.
Like it or not, we’re all bound by society’s pressure to be fully clothed.
So when personal stylist Kirsty Milligan told us that understanding your style personality is one of the first steps in becoming a better shopper, we wanted to know more.
This knowledge can save time and money, and enable you to be more discerning, instead of simply at the mercy of fashion trends.
And it’s worthwhile figuring this shopping gig out — eco-stylist Nina Gbor believes we can be empowered by what we wear.
“For me, fashion is not about trends. It’s about women loving and embracing themselves,” she says.
“What we wear lets us see ourselves in a different light. It’s about wearing what is uplifting to you and what gives you energy throughout the day.”
We broke down five style personalities to help you understand your relationship to shopping (and why you might hate it).
So is your style natural, classic, creative, dramatic or feminine? Find out as Ms Milligan steps us through.
- In the morning, you’ll happily pick up something clean(ish) off a pile of clothes and rush out the door.
- You prefer comfort above all else: flat shoes, preferably nothing tight and natural make-up (if you wear it).
- You care more about your impact on the world than how you look.
- Well-known Natural: Jennifer Aniston.
People with this style personality shop in a state of anxiety, Ms Milligan says.
“If I told a Natural, ‘You don’t have what you need for this event and you need to go shopping’, the anxiety hormone would release immediately and stay until they’ve finished shopping,” she says.
This is because when Naturals walk into a shop, they’re overwhelmed by information.
“Also, they think that shopping is supposed to be something they enjoy, so when they don’t enjoy it, they think, ‘There’s something wrong with me’, which adds to the anxiety of it all,” Ms Milligan says.
Naturals are also more likely to care about comfort than quality.
To save money in the long run and minimise impact on the environment, it’s a good idea to know more about the fabrics you’re choosing.
Tips for Naturals:
- If you need an outfit for an event, don’t leave it to the last minute.
- Check you can wear something you already own, or if there’s an outfit or accessory you can borrow. Look at pre-loved clothes or consider hiring. “Access is the new ownership,” Ms Milligan says.
- If you absolutely need to go shopping, go during a quiet time when you’re not in a rush.
- Manage the anxiety by bringing a friend, and perhaps have a fun activity to look forward to afterwards.
- You’re all about structure and organisation, and are an incredibly functional person.
- You don’t love or hate shopping, but you always get what you want when you walk into a shop.
- Your shoes are lined up by colour and your matching clothes hangers point the same way.
- Well-known Classics: Nicole Kidman, Julie Bishop.
To you, shopping is just another task. You handle it the way you handle most things: with precision and focus.
You are the Ms Efficient of shoppers, and your Ms Efficient sash is perfectly pressed.
“When Classics go shopping, they know exactly what they want. They walk in, they get it, they leave,” Ms Milligan says.
“Shopping is just another task to tick off their to-do list.”
Tips for Classics:
- You’ve got this. But perhaps if you need to clear some wardrobe space ahead of next season, you could make some cash at the same time.
- You dress to express who you are as a person and what you’re feeling, which is why you love shopping.
- You love shopping. A lot.
- Did we mention you love shopping?
- Well-known Creatives: Zooey Deschanel, Gwen Stefani.
“Shopping is such a beautiful place for creatives,” Ms Milligan says, “because they can dress the personalities in their head. If there was an Olympics for shopping, they would win gold.”
Creatives shop for the thrill of the hunt and are so successful at it they’ll leave bags unopened, and never throw anything away just in case one day they’ll need it to perfect a look.
It can take Creatives up to two hours to put together the outfit that suits your mood, and the experience can be quite emotional.
“They will use their wardrobe to pep them up, and it will all be based on emotion, not logic or discipline. Creatives are pure emotion. They will literally wear their hearts on their sleeve,” Ms Milligan says.
Tips for Creatives:
- Your spur-of-the-moment approach to clothes means you’re not the most prepared packer when it comes to taking trips. If you have a big event coming up, start taking photos of the outfits you love so your packing list writes itself.
- You dress to stand out, and it’s important you look different to everyone else.
- You’re known for your eclectic outfits, which take a good deal of time to shop for.
- There might be a touch to your outfits that some would see as confronting. Screw ’em.
- Well-known Dramatics: Lady Gaga, Victoria Beckham.
Dramatic style personalities are beautiful and the most misunderstood, Ms Milligan says.
They can range from light dramatic — like Shelly Horton, who has a quirky, eclectic way of dressing, with hair that’s quite a bright colour — all the way to the other end, to someone with an extreme dramatic style, such as blue hair, piercings, tattoos, and an anarchic, anti-establishment approach.
“They’re likely to have a big voice, are the changers and shifters who scream the loudest. Visually, they’re almost confronting to the point that you keep away,” Ms Milligan says.
This style personality sits right in the middle of the love/hate relationship as a shopper. Dramatics often have trouble shopping because they can’t shop off the rack.
“They would be searching for hours, and the frustration is that they can’t find something to make them stand out,” Ms Milligan says.
Tips for Dramatics:
- Find a group of stores, preferably with a dramatic style personality at the helm, and look online for that unique look.
- You’re no stranger to florals, bows and ballet flats.
- Your look could be described as ranging from understated to incredibly girly.
- Once, a child pointed at you and said: “Wow! A princess!”
- Well-known Feminine: Charlotte from Sex and The City.
If your style is Feminine, you love a look that’s incredibly girly.
You enjoy shopping as long as it’s a real girls’ day out. It might involve high tea or a manicure. And at the end of the day it won’t matter too much to you whether or not your haul was big or small.
Tips for Feminines:
- Try mixing and matching floral prints with some block colours to create new looks.
- Remember, flower crowns are for Snapchat and real life.
Finally, in the middle of a bad shopping moment, just remember that a personal stylist once told you it’s OK not to shop for clothes.
“Look in your cupboard first. Is there something there? Honestly, truly, if you walk out are you going to be naked? ‘Cos I didn’t shop for 12 months … and I didn’t leave the house naked once,” Ms Milligan says.