In a word…yes. Please let me explain. Having been a wardrobe stylist and personal shopper for over twenty years now, I’ve seen my share of ups and downs in the retail landscape, from recession to the fallout from 9/11 (I was actually in lower Manhattan at the time, if you can believe it). I have also seen and experienced a wide range of reactions, all understandable, during these traumatic times: guilt, feelings of financial insecurity, thinking material items are not important, etc.
The more I get to know the talented, creative and hard-working store owners from around the world who I feature on The Curated Shopper, the more important I’m realizing how OUR support is critical to their businesses’ success and keeping the economy going in general. Supporting independent stores is one of my true passions, and a guiding ethos of my site.
There are other ways to support wonderful retailers during this challenging time and hopefully allow them to be able to return to business as usual once this crisis has passed.
Do I want you to go out during this pandemic and shop? Absolutely NOT! Do I want you to buy a bunch of items you don’t need? NO WAY! But there are other ways to support wonderful retailers during this challenging time and hopefully allow them to be able to return to business as usual once this crisis has passed.
Buy gift cards from your favorite local stores
Is there a local boutique where you typically do your spring shopping? Great! Think about how much you’d usually spend there for your spring update (50? 500? 5000? More?) and buy a gift certificate for that amount. The merchandise will be ready and waiting for you when stores re-open. And I guarantee the store owner will be thrilled to have money to pay the bills in the meantime.
Many independent stores have shoppable websites. I know a large percentage of my featured stores have them. I even have a section for some fabulous online-only retailers. You can be sitting in your home in California and still find the most perfect outfit at a store in Austin or Paris. What could be better? No traffic to deal with, and you can be confident no one else in your area will be sporting the same look.
With most of us having loads of time at home now, wouldn’t this be the ideal time to really take a deep dive into the stores and their sites? I know this is something we don’t typically have time for.
Check out the special promotions stores are offering right now.
Just today I must have received at least 10 emails from stores in the San Francisco Bay Area that will waive shipping on their merchandise and even deliver items in a 5-mile radius. How amazing is that? I also know of various stores in many countries that will open for private appointments, allowing you to shop in a safe, clean environment.
One of my friends owns a luxury consignment store, Refind, in Seattle. They announced on Instagram that they are waiving shipping fees and have a three-day return window, which is an exception to their usual all sales final policy.
I encourage you to take advantage of these wonderful offers!
Take the time to assess your own wardrobe & fill in the gaps
In the spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, take this unexpected and extended period of time at home to really go through your wardrobe. Is there a great dress hanging there that you’ve never worn because you never had the right pair of shoes for it? How about the jacket that needs a new underpinning or two, as you’ve worn out the ones you usually wear with it?
I’ve been doing this for the last week, and I’ve really made some headway. For example, I realized that all my workout/hiking tops were old and honestly, pretty smelly, no matter how many times I wash them. So, I ordered 5 new ones and will get rid of the ratty items.
After I recently attended multiple cocktail events in one week, I discovered that area of my closet could really use a boost. I spent a few hours online perusing various websites, and I made some real finds! I can’t wait to be out and about once again enjoying these new purchases.
And when’s the last time you culled your jeans? There are some interesting new silhouettes out there, and I’ve ordered a few to try. (Tip: If you don’t know what size to get, order the same style in a 2-3 sizes and return the ones that don’t work.)
After I recently attended multiple cocktail events in one week, I discovered that area of my closet could really use a boost.
I hope these ideas will inspire you to make a difference where you can. I sincerely hope that you all stay healthy and optimistic. This is a very unprecedented time in our history, but it will eventually pass. I’m counting on that!