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It’s Almost Black Friday, Let’s Go Shopping!


Beauty & Fashion Kuel Thought Leader: Gail Scott

As a professional stylist, I am also a pro shopper. Think “Olympian level shopper”, like I am GOOD. This month, I am sharing shopping tips and gift ideas to make this holiday season less stressful.

Shop now! Holiday sales are happening now. Do not get confused and think you need to be out in the wee hours of the morning on Black Friday. The sales go on before and after the big day and shopping now will give you the best selection. Years ago, there were amazing deals on that special Friday, but now you can usually get the same deals before and after (unless it’s that one deal on some ginormous television). My sanity is worth a lot, so I will not go anywhere at four am, even for a half-price television.

Online Shopping:

Shop online. Online shopping has come a long way baby! I do almost all of my shopping online. Many items are only available online. There is also more selection for sizes and colors on the World Wide Web. Free shipping is available from many retailers, so you can save money and time shopping online. If you need something quickly, you can order online for in-store pickup, and use online coupons.

Use credit, not debit, regardless of where you shop. Most credit cards offer buyer protection against fraud that exceeds what is available for debit cards. Plus, with the delay in the time you charge and the time you pay, you have the opportunity to dispute fraud before it impacts you. These protections are especially important for online shopping.

“Watch for rotating sales and restocking of items.”

Watch for rotating sales and restocking of items. Often, retailers will run rotating sales, meaning items may be on sale, off sale, and then on sale again. They also re-stock inventories and receive returns, so keep checking back if you have your eye on an item.

Check Reviews:

Buy several sizes and do an at-home try-on, whether shopping in-store or online. I hate store dressing rooms and getting undressed in public. Use your credit card to buy up several sizes and options, then try them on in the privacy of your own home with the shoes, other clothing, and undergarments you plan to wear the item with. This is also a great way to avoid a sellout of a favorite online item while you try on one size. If in doubt about size, I order two sizes and return the one that doesn’t fit.

Checking reviews can save you a lot of frustration, time, and money. This is especially true for online shopping when items may not look as they appear. Even when in-store shopping, whip out your phone and look up online reviews for how an item holds up or performs, or if it is available elsewhere for less.

Know the return policy. Don’t get caught off guard by not knowing the details. Shop at retailers with hassle-free returns and long return windows. When online shopping, look for free returns, or at a minimum, free in-store returns.

Collect wish lists and sizing information from family members using a Google Form. This year, I sent my kiddos a Google Form and asked for their wish list, sizing, favorite tradition, and one dish they would love to see on the table. Now, I have all the details in one place and can access them on my laptop or phone.

“When shopping online, pics can be very deceiving and sometimes it isn’t even intentional.”

Shopping Lists:

Create good lists to avoid running in circles. Use shopping lists with travel paths and group your stops.

Pick up stocking stuffers along the way. I have been purchasing little goodies for my adult kids for weeks. When I see them, I grab them. I do not want to go out and shop for small items at the last minute. If I wind up with too many things, I will simply return some.

Enlarge pics of items online. When shopping online, pics can be very deceiving and sometimes it isn’t even intentional. Enlarge the pic and zoom in to see the texture, pattern, and color. Also, look at all pictures provided to see details, the back of the item, etc. And again, check the reviews for pics from actual customers.

Compare prices online and check other retailers for the item. When you find an item you love, capture the name and brand and Google it to see if it is available elsewhere at a better price or with better shipping and/or returns options.

If traveling out of town, ship to that location when you purchase, then wrap on arrival. This one is a game-changer. If you are traveling to see family or friends for the holidays, ship items to someone in that town that you trust and who is willing to collect the deliveries for you. Take wrapping supplies with you or purchase them upon arrival and wrap them on location. This is much easier than shipping wrapped gifts or traveling with them. In a pinch, you can have some retailers wrap and ship for you.

Rewards Programs:

Sign up for rewards programs. Not only will you earn discounts and free products, but you often get free shipping and/or returns for being a member of the retailer’s program. And yes, you will receive emails from the stores. If this annoys you, set up a free Google email account for these emails and check it when you like. Keep in mind though, that if you do not check that email often, you may miss a deal or a pre-sale opportunity.

Purchase things that others skimp on and get them the luxury model, like socks. Often, we will purchase the less expensive options for ourselves and not indulge in nicer items. Socks are a great example. We often buy utilitarian options rather than wool or cashmere. Choose a basic item that everyone uses and purchase it in an upgraded version for a gift.

Shop for yourself, deals are plentiful. Tis the season to shop for thyself. Great buys are everywhere, so grab things that you need. Also, find creative ways to get your gift list to those who buy for you. If you have a stylist (like me), you can ask her to let your Santa know some things you would like.

“Break up sets for stocking stuffers.”

Break up sets for stocking stuffers. Look for deals on multiples, bundles, or holiday collections of mini-sized products. This is a great way to try a product and stuff some stockings at a great price. I just purchased a five-piece holiday set, took one for myself, and the others go in stockings for family members.

5 Great Gift Suggestions:

Now that you know the “HOW”, I have the “WHAT” for you! Some great gift suggestions for this year:

  1. Cashmere fits perfectly into this season’s classic trend.
  2. Corduroy is on trend and makes a warm Winter gift.
  3. Experiences are always a way to give someone joy! How about a cooking class, makeup course, or styling services?
  4. Small gifts to make life easier are always appreciated. A steamer is a handy gift for someone who hates ironing.
  5. Gifts of beauty can make someone feel pampered and pretty.

Those are just a few ideas, I have shopping links for you with great gift ideas for men, women, and stylish kiddos.

Until Next Month, Happy Shopping!

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Gail Scott

About the Author:

Gail is the Beauty & Fashion Editor for www.yourcolorstyle.com.
As a 28 year veteran in the beauty industry, she is passionate about helping women to look their best and to express themselves in their outward appearance. She is also co-host of the Midlife Moxie podcast, available on all major platforms. Find Gail on IG: @gailsscott Email: gailscott@bellsouth.net Or through www.yourcolorstyle.com Take the FREE style quiz at Personal Style Quiz.