I don’t know from experience, but from what I’ve heard, back in the day, department store workers served as personal shoppers. They’d help customers try on clothes, make suggestions, find measurements and sizes, do alterations – full-service.
That’s not the way things are done anymore. You have to get a clerk to let you in the dressing rooms with keys. They give you a strict limit of how many items you can try on at one time. No one seems to be willing to give you an honest opinion on anything.
But I’ve discovered how to get that type of service at today’s stores.
During the Black Friday rush about 2 years ago, my sister, mom, and I were shopping in New York & Co. It didn’t take me long to learn that the clerks pay attention to you if you have about 10 items in your hand. One of them came to me and asked if I wanted her to start a dressing room for me. I said yes, and she took my items and wrote my name in dry-erase on one of the doors. I tried on things, she exchanged sizes for me (which is usually what my mama does), she built outfits for me and gave opinions on how things fit and looked. And at the end of the day, I only spent the amount of money I came to spend, but she got all the commission on it.
The next experience I had with personal shopping was at Buckle at the Mall of Georgia. Buckle is one of those stores that had the mannequins hanging all along the walls with lots of different items and looks. This particular night, there were several of those looks that I just thought “I want those exact pieces to wear exactly like that”. When one of the clerks asked me if I needed help with anything, and I told him what I was thinking. He looked the store over and even undressed the mannequins to see if the display items were my size. Then while I was in the dressing room, he roamed the store to look for similar items and left for me. I came home w/ some great pieces.
A similar thing happened to me at The Loft outlet in Commerce. The store manager got an idea of what kind of look I was going for and while I tried on clothes, she brought me things until I found a winner.
I guess my technique for this kind of treatment (at least until it becomes more commonplace) is to have a firm spending limit in mind, but then go in and try on clothes like I just might buy everything I see.
Now, just recently, Ken found this site called Boutiques.com. Once you sign up for free, you can take their fashion quiz and it will determine your style. You select the things you “love” and the things you “hate” and it will make suggestions to you. Then from the suggested items, you can say what you “love” and “hate” about it and the will refine the selections. Beware: it’s got a lot of high fashion brand names so don’t get sticker shock – one of the things you can “hate” is the price. But for the times that you’re not shopping for anything particular, but you’d like the help of a personal shopper, Boutiques.com is the way to go.