Hey gents,

As much as we talk about what to buy, where to buy it, and how to wear it, that all doesn’t change one simple fact: most of us don’t like shopping in the first place.

Some of us do, sure, but I bet there’s a silent majority of you out there who don’t.

I also bet that some of you go through EG all amped because you’re now armed with the knowledge of what to buy, where to buy it, and how to wear it… but when it comes time to actually GO OUT and buy the stuff, you’re thinking, “F me, I hate shopping.”

End the pain quickly by shopping effectively

It’s no surprise we shop differently than the fairer sex. Men are on missions: In and out as quickly as possible without getting shot (or worse, talking to a sales associate). The ladies? It’s more of a social event to them.

So whether you’re a dude who completely loathes walking into stores, or if you’re more the type who enjoys browsing and picking out things, here are some tips that can help you shop effectively, save time, and probably even save some dough. Or money. Benjamins. Scrilla. Whatever the kids call it nowadays.

Plan ahead, know what you’re looking for

This goes without saying, but the more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be and the more time you’ll save.

  • What exactly are you looking to purchase?
  • Do you know your size? (Even if you do, you should still try several other sizes on to make sure the fit is perfect.)
  • What’s the occasion? Most likely you’re buying for a specific purpose.
  • Are there alternatives, in case you can’t find the exact item you’re looking for?

A good way around this is to shop a store’s online website before heading to the actual store. This is assuming you can’t order online for one reason or another. If you know the item you’re looking for, going in and picking it up should be a breeze.

In some instances, a store won’t carry what you’re looking for even though it’s online (I HATE that). If that’s the case, ask if the sales associate can locate or order one for you. Then if you’re in a rush, get the hell out of there.

Find inspiration before you go (and when you’re out)

Your favorite men’s style sites are great for this. Tumblr too.

You know what’s even better? Checking out women’s style sites and personal blogs. These chicks know how to dress! And they know how to combine color. You can learn a thing or two from them.

The best thing you can do when checking out these women and their style sites? Make note of color combos you like.

I was in Zara the other day waiting for Kate, and I saw this display of women’s pieces, all shades of mint green and a medium khaki. I instantly thought, “Damn, that’s a sick ass combo,” and yes, I said “sick ass” in my head.

That’s not exactly a revolutionary color pairing, but I never actually saw it together in person and realized how great they look together.

This may contradict with the whole idea of staying focused, but while you’re out, observing the stores’ mannequins and how they put together colors, patterns, and textures will give you good ideas on how to do it yourself at home.

Sometimes you need to see things in real life to realize how great they look when paired up. So get out there and start observing.

And as I mentioned, take a look at the women’s displays as well. They often have great examples of bold colors (especially in the warmer seasons), so gain inspiration from that.

Shop alone. Always.

You’re not saying yes to the dress, so you don’t need your mom and best friend rolling with you to pick up some shirts or a pair of denim.

You also don’t need your bros or your wife / girlfriend / significant other. You’re a man capable of making your own decisions; you don’t need a sidekick telling you what and what not to pick.

This also saves time because too many opinions lengthen the decision-making process, just like how too many cooks spoil the broth, or however that saying goes.

If you’re truly torn, go with your instincts. If you can afford it, get both, and then sleep on it for a day or two. Try both items on again after you’ve had some time away. This may give you more clarity in your decision. Just return the unwanted item the next time you’re out.

Also, actually return it. It’s easy to get lazy and just throw it in the back of your closet, but don’t do that.

Know your price and your range

Let’s say you’re out looking for some denim. If you have your ideal price ($55) and an acceptable range ($35-$90), you won’t be out of options if the pair you were eyeing is unavailable or you just can’t find it.

Have this range in your head before you go out; that way you won’t be questioning any of your purchases in case you can’t find the exact pair you set out to acquire. As long as it falls into your acceptable range, you’re golden!

Stay focused. It’s easy to get distracted

Browsing the suits or shoes at Bloomingdale’s when you should be getting your ass to Target to buy some Hanes isn’t exactly staying focused. You’re in a completely different store, for starters.

This all ties in to being prepared before you go out. Hey, you’re the one complaining about shopping in the first place. Stay on task so you’re not in that hell hole of a shopping mall any longer than you have to be.

If you have time and you’re in the market for a new pair of bluchers, then by all means, take a look. It wouldn’t hurt. But if you need to get in and out and you’re just not in the mood to shop, stop wasting time by looking at other items. Get your stuff, and get the hell outta there.

There you go!

Even I get a little woozy and light-headed after an hour or two browsing racks and dodging bratty kids, so hopefully some of these tips will help make your shopping experience a breeze the next time you’re out.

Any other effective, time-saving, pain-mitigating shopping tips you’ve gained from experience? Let us know in the comments below.

Till next time!


[photo, photo]

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