Hate Shopping? Have Someone Else Do it for You

Woman shopping
Woman shopping

Dear Budget Fashionista,

I have gone on a weight loss program this year and have lost quite a bit of weight. I have no idea how to shop for a new wardrobe. Should I enlist a personal shopper to help me determine the best new wardrobe for me?


Personal shoppers can be enormously helpful — especially in an era where the entire concept has practically been reinvented. Historically, they’ve always been fairly pricey. On the upside, you get exactly what you pay for in the form of miracle additions to your wardrobe that somehow seem absolutely perfect.

So in a word: yes, they’re worth it, and it’s a great idea. All the better if you can find one who won’t break the bank.

6 Places to Find a Personal Shopper

There are different ways to channel the expertise of a personal shopper, from focusing on an in-store specialist who can help you select items right there, or private concierges who devote their time to cultivating a closet full of new, stylish finds for you.

Woman considers coat presented by personal shopper

It all depends on your sartorial needs. If you’re just looking for a few basics, you might be comfortable consulting with someone in a store. Here are three stores to consider:

Anthropologie Personal Shoppers

From one-off outfits to entirely new wardrobes, the clothes at Anthropologie are designed to fit everything on your agenda. The stylists here take great pride in finding the right pieces for you, and they’re happy to offer these services for free. You can book your appointment online.

Macy’s Personal Shoppers

If you want to refresh your entire wardrobe without spending a ton, Macy’s is a great option. The chain’s My Stylist program provides you with the insider assistance you need to make wise, flattering choices — and you’ll get 20% off on your purchase through the service, too.

You can get started by taking their revealing style quiz before you schedule a session.

Nordstrom Personal Shoppers

At some point, you might need to find an outfit for a special occasion, or you may want to build a capsule wardrobe for work, weekends, or vacation. The stylists at Nordstrom are available to help you find your perfect fit. You can connect with them online or on the phone to get started.

If you’re more comfortable in the digital sphere — and let’s face it, so many of us are in the name of convenience — then you’ll be delighted to learn that there are several reliable online options available, too. These services send you pre-selected clothes designed to meet your needs based on your style preferences. If you love them, keep them and pay a modified price, or send them back free of charge. It’s genuinely that easy.

Le Tote

anthropologie 1
Olive green tunic from Le Tote

Le Tote is a Budget Fashionista favorite because it’s structured as a rental service vs. a purchase service. The classic membership at Le Tote will cost you $69 per month, and you are never obligated to purchase anything. If you like the clothes and accessories they send, wear them to your heart’s content and send them back when you’re ready. You can also hang on to the pieces you like and save up to 50% off the retail price.

Stitch Fix

Providing Stitch Fix with your measurements is the first step to cultivating a box that is tailor made to your tastes. They’ll send you five pieces; you can choose a value for your clothes while filling out your profile. You have three days to determine if you want to keep anything, at which point you can send anything you don’t want back at no charge.

Trunk Club

This Nordstrom company takes pride in truly getting to know your style. You can order a trunk via mail based on your specific preferences, or visit one of their physical locations for a more personal experience. You determine how much you want to spend, and there’s a $25 fee per box on top of that. You can keep what you like and return the rest.

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    Tanya is a seasoned journalist based in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Specializing in fashion, beauty, and travel, she loves to explore new places, read as much as possible, and scour the web for fabulous finds — all in the name of research, of course.

    Blog Comments

    Sounds like a great job!  I’d love to make $75 an hour to spend someone else’s money.

    The cheaper alternative, though, is to enlist a friend or two that has a great sense of style – bonus points if they have a similar body shape.  I love shopping with friends.  They have to be honest, though.  You don’t want to shop with friends that say everything looks great on you just to be “nice”.

    There’s also a web site, http://www.personalshopper.com, that offers a free Web-based personal shopping program. It’s simple and easy to use, and best of all it doesn’t cost anything.

    I also recommend Leah Feldon’s books (although I don’t know if she’s written anything after “Does This Make Me Look Fat?”) and Brenda Kinsel’s books which happen to be aimed at women over 40, but I’m a thirtysomething and I love them. Both taught me concepts about line and proportion that no live person did. Then again, I haven’t consulted with a personal shopper either.

    In addition to the Budget Fashionista’s book, I’d also like to recommend ‘Nothing to Wear? – A 5-Step Cure for the Common Closet’ by Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo.  The authors are personal stylists and shoppers.  The book helps you first figure out and define your style.  Then, it walks you through the process of cleaning out your closet based on keeping things that not only fit and flatter but are also part of your style.  Anyways, I used the book after losing some weight when I totally needed to make over my closet.  Found it very helpful and fun.  Congrats on your new figure!

    After years of neglect I have become seriously shopping phobic which is why I read Budget Fashionista.  I recently went to a WHAT NOT TO WEAR party where a fashion consultant/personal shopper critiqued outfits for us.  It was helpful and fun.  I have also enjoyed the WHAT NOT TO WEAR books if even for the hysterical photos of Trinny and Susannah.  I am using http://www.missussmartypants.com which is fun and has good advice about dressing for you figure type.  In the end I think you have to begin to trust yourself.  Enjoy!  Shopping is supposed to be fun and with a new figure you have reason to celebrate.

    Since Christmas I had lost about 20 pounds getting back into my 8’s and 10’s.  Then in April I had a very stressful month with several different situations in my life and I let ALL the weight come back on and now my 12’s are really tight and I am so miserable.  My son has come home from college for the summer and he was not going to so he eats like a horse.
    What am I going to do?  I loved getting back into my 8’s…..and wanted to get smaller.  I am 5’2” and have a small to med. frame so I could have lost some more.
    I am sorry for this being so long but i need help and I feel helpless right now.  Losing it is so hard and then putting it back on so quickly has me depressed.  I don’t feel good in anything that I put on and know that this is not the size that I want to stay.
    Any opinions or thoughts?????

    To Paula:
    First off I think you should buy one or two new outfits for your new weight. Even though you are bigger than you want to be having something fit right and new will make you feel more confident. Start your plan of losing weight again and you know you can do it because you already have. Just believe in yourself and no matter what size you are just remember you are a good person and that’s really all that matters!

    To women like Paula,

    What Erica is saying is true. You need to love your body and always remember you are a great person and that (not your weight) is what define you. I know most people don’t believe in the value of having help from a personal shopper and buy books or shop with friends instead. Even though is true that a book helps you a lot and that shopping with a friend that’s your same size helps greatly, it comes to a point that you need help from a professional.
    If you don’t have a friend you can trust, I rather go to a wardrobe consultant. True it is $75 hour but you will get the value. Just look for someone you feel comfortable with. Someone you can trust and have a good time shopping with. Someone who has YOUR best interest at heart.
    And yes, I am a wardrobe consultant and personal shopper and I love it, not because I spend other’s people’s money but because I put a smile in their faces. People pay to decorate houses and get their nails and hair done right? why not pay to get a personalized wardrobe when you have to wear clothes all the time?

    Interesting blog. It’s great to discover great writing for a change.

    I am a personal shopper. Everyone is unique and I make it my business to understand what you need. I can assist with furniture, clothing, landscaping, art and entertainment.

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