We may still be warming ourselves by the fireplace, but that doesn't mean we can't start firing up our spring shopping list. The spring trends are popping up in fashion spreads, in stores and online, so it's the perfect time to make a plan and start browsing for treasures. Yes, it's all right to dream about wearing that tangy tangerine maxi dress on the beach this summer!
But before you get all juiced up about shopping for a new spring wardrobe, check out these tips from the world's top fashion bloggers whose savvy advice is packed into a creative new book, "Style Yourself," by Jane Aldridge.
Aldridge admits that building the perfect wardrobe takes time and energy, but if you "shop thoughtfully, you'll find yourself standing in front of your dream closet." Here are her tips for shopping smart this spring:
—We've heard it all before, but Aldridge urges taking a ruthless inventory of what's already in our closets. Winter is a great time to make space by getting rid of what we don't wear by donating clothes to a charity or making some cash by selling a few things. Then she suggests making notes to ourselves on the things that really do work for us. "It'll help guide you to more items that are worth your money," she says. Now you can make that list.
—Stick to your plan. Yes, we know that it's easy to buy impulse items once we get into a store, but Aldridge also admits that shopping should be fun. "So if you fall in love with something that's not on your list, stroll around the block to consider the purchase."
—Work with what you've got. Your shopping list should include items that will work with other pieces in your closet. I personally stick to a few favorite colors to give my wardrobe super mix-and-match possibilities. But if you end up buying something that doesn't go with anything else in your wardrobe, we all know where that leads, don't we? You'll end up needing to source another "perfect something" to make an outfit, notes Aldridge.
—Don't be afraid to go home empty-handed. Say what? "Don't cave to the mall's pressures if you don't strike gold," says Aldridge. "It'll deplete resources that you could spend on an item that you truly love."
—Don't depend on friends. "Take others' opinions with a boulder of salt," says the style blogger. "Shopping with friends can be a blast. They can inspire you or urge you to try on surprising items." But if you aren't thrilled with the purchase yourself, then leave it on the rack.
—To splurge or to skimp? Be careful when filling a "wardrobe hole," says Aldridge. "If you can plug it with a quality item, do it! If you go the cheap and trendy route, you're likely to have to fill this same hole again each year, which means you will spend more in the long run.
—Check out the quality of an item. Sometimes we can get so caught up in finding that "perfect" sundress that we don't check to see if the seams are straight or the buttons secure. One of Aldridge's tips? "Woven, not printed, labels are a sign of quality."
—Hit the virtual mall. "Online shopping is where it's at," admits Aldridge. "That's where you can hit on amazing deals and one-of-a-kind pieces." But she has a few suggestions: Know your size and refer to the websites' sizing guide; read the product descriptions carefully and check out return policies. "If you're happy with your experience," she says, "sign up for newsletters and sale alerts that'll help you snatch up better deals at your favorite sites."
(SET IMAGE) smo021412adAP.jpg (END IMGAE) (SET CAPTION) Before you fantasize about wearing your dream dress on the beach this summer, make a shopping plan to find clothes that are worth your money. Tangerine maxi dress from Banana Republic. (END CAPTION)