Back-to-School Shopping: A Day in the Life Sunday

As the Sunday papers expand with back-to-school ads, I begin to plan for school shopping now as I flashed back to my own school shopping days.

We had a school shopping day where we headed out to make the rounds and we likely didn't stop until the last item was in the bag. There were the necessary items we picked up from Genovese drug store like notebooks, pens and a pencil or two (I don't remember having the long lists the kids have now) . . . and then there were the clothes.

One of 3 kids from a single parent home, we had food on the table, a roof over our head and there was not room for extras and one school shopping day, that's where the needs and wants of a teenage girl clashed.

Raise your hand if you remember selecting your designer jeans by the stitching on the pockets. Raise it higher if you were glued to the TV whenever the New York Rangers danced to Ooh la La Sassoon.

While the car was headed for the Long Island discount stores, the pull of the Jordache Look was too much for this girl to resist - even if it meant blowing the budget on 2 pairs of designer jeans when I could have had 5 others with cash to spare.

I don't remember what our back-to-school budget was then but I know it was more than just a bit shy of the $500 sixty-three percent of consumers plan to spend up to on back-to-school today. Take a look at this Back to School 2012 infographic shared by David Erickson at e-Strategy Trends.

I need your help. I have been rather fortunate that I've been able to get by with buying most of the kid's clothes for her in the past but with some of the items I purchased last year still hanging in the closet - unworn - that has come to an end.

Any tips for shopping with tween who has a mind of her own and and no money to go with it?

Personal Shoppers and Psyches: A Day in the Life Sunday

Years ago, I worked with an image consultant who was tasked with transitioning me <and my closet> from 10 years of camouflage and yoga pants to my new corporate gig in . . .  in 8 hours or less.

Think personal shopper, complete overhaul and a single woman with too much disposable income.  

We started bright and early and purposefully made our way through a small selection of boutiques, designer stores and fashion enclaves in Philadelphia <that would be hard to find for a person less connected> building my new wardrobe. She loved her job and her energy was contagious.

With a smile on my face and my credit card in hand, we didn't stop until I had a new haircut, new glasses and a closet full of new clothes. Think personal colors, designer eye wear and Max Mara.

It was fun.

There's nothing like waking up to a closet full of clothes you love to wear, knowing how make better decisions when shopping and dressing and best of all, feeling more confident and comfortable in your own skin.

Flash forward to today where you find me in the gym locker room utterly annoyed:

Me: This shirt is too freaking big and it won't . . stay. . in. . .my. . pants when I move!

Friend: Don't think of it as big, think of it as . . . blousy, yes, blousy. That's the style these days, you know.

The thing is, I tried the shirt on before I bought it. What size do I think I am anyway? How did I get out of the store with this shirt, in this size and - here's the kicker - with 2 more like it?

As I wake up today with a closet full of nothing to wear, underwhelmed by my clothing choices and lack of shopping savvy and feeling generally blah <and old>, I know that, without a doubt, I want my power and my image consultant (who BTW now provides impression and relationship management programs to businesses) back.

Knowing the shopping spree of long ago is not happening today and short of taking out a second mortgage on the house, how do I reenergize my closet and my psyche?

Do tell, what's worked for you?

Photo credit iStockphoto