It's Always A Good Sign To Shop Where The Lolas Are
In my first job, my daily commute back then brought me in dangerously close proximity to, if not within, five major shopping malls in Manila. And it is for that experience that's made me the fluent, thrifty shopper that I am today.
I was never really a fan of designer brands for designer brands' sake, but would rather go for what the clothes will make me feel or look ATM, which, I know is an attitude of a girl who's just gotten her first paycheck, and not at all very tita-esque. But fast-forward to today, I have realized that more than emotions, my ultimate shopping driver should really be quality and practicality.
The major rule I keep in mind? It’s that the clothes I wear for the day is a reflection of how much effort I’ve put in this morning and how much I'm taking good care of myself. It's self-respect and respect for everyone else you meet, too. Now as for shopping rules, here are a few:
AT ALL TIMES, THINK OFFICE-APPROPRIATE.
Even if it’s just a plain white tee you’ll be wearing on super hot days, or a jersey dress for when you’re lazy to put together a top and bottom, always think in terms of office dress codes. Before buying anything, ask yourself, will this subject me to the judging eyes of my boss? Will my client think I’m a credible, reliable person in this outfit?
Because at the end of the day, it will always be easier to dress down an article of clothing, than try hard (but to no avail), to dress it up. Invest in the right pieces and it will never fail you. You can always wear your band t-shirt with your metallic plisse skirt and that would make both an effortless and fabulous look.
GO WHERE THE LOLAS ARE.
I know, I know, we’re only titas here, so why follow in the comfy slippered footsteps of the lolas? But once I had this go-to office dress that I saw worn by a lola in church and it definitely affirmed my sense of style.
A lot of you may have an aversion to granny fashion, but trust me, they know their fashion. These are the women who’ve lived in custom-made dresses, custom-made suits, custom-made everything! They’re experts at rotating only two or three party dresses ala Plum Sykes, or as how the smart English women did back then. Take my word for it, you know you’re within good vicinity when you’re shopping in the presence of these wise lolas.
Whoever said shopping should be quick and done in a jiffy? Only men are capable of that and I’m not even sure if they experience such elated joy and happiness post a successful shopping spree in the way that us women do.
I strongly advise taking breaks in between. Because that’s how you can avoid impulses. It might also be your tired feet or empty stomach that’s doing the thinking, so let’s avoid that. Have coffee or tea, and while you’re at it, reassess your list or double check the trends at any of your go-to fashion websites to see if you’re shopping in the right direction.
ALWAYS, ALWAYS HAVE A LIST.
There’s a reason why mothers do their grocery errands with a list on hand. Because it strays their wandering eyes and protects their wallets. We should all do the same. As you go through your daily life, keep listing down the fashion essentials you think you need, e.g. a black knit sweater because it’s getting quite chilly at the office lately. And then when the day comes and you’re armed with funds, e.g. payday, then take out your list and hold onto it until the very end of your shopping spree, like your life depends on it.
It helps also to have a floor plan and a list of the stores you’ll be needing anything from. Write it all down. Then make a pact with yourself, or your shopping buddy, to follow this plan to heart, despite the huge and flashy discount signs and sales.
What are your shopping rules? Be generous with your tips!
Photos by Ning Nuñez; cover photo graphic art by Mikka Caronan; fashion by Pat Santos.