How to Try on Clothes

Emily Hsieh, Allure magazine

An interview with Elyse Walker, who has a boutique in Pacific Palisades, California, called Elyse Walker and an online shopping site,

Two things can make or break a day of shopping: the outfit you wear and the person who helps you. Buying clothes is a treat, and you just need to keep a few tricks in mind to make sure it feels like one.

Dress the part. Wear simple clothes that you can pair with whatever you're trying on. Your top, for instance, should work under any blazer. I always wear a basic white or black cotton tank, because they're great for layering and keep me from overheating. I also like short booties without laces or buckles and a long jersey skirt, both of which slip on and off quickly. A nude bra, preferably one that can convert to strapless, and a pair of Spanx are key, especially if you're trying on dresses.

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Less is more. Keep your hair simple and your accessories to a minimum. You don't want to worry about snagging clothes or losing an earring. I'd skip heavy makeup, too, so there's no fear of smearing your lipstick on a white blouse. But do wear enough makeup that you feel pretty.

Lighten up. Never shop on an empty stomach, but don't have a giant meal beforehand, either. A light snack, like almonds and a banana, is perfect. I find I have a better attitude about clothes with a flat tummy.

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Be committed.
To really give something a chance, you need to try it on in the way you'd actually wear it. Don't even think about trying on a dress over pants-it's not fair to you or the dress. At my store, I won't let you look in the mirror until everything is zipped and adjusted, and I put you in shoes; do the same on your own. Shoes are the most important part of any outfit, and you need to have a visual for the head-to-toe look.

Get a second opinion. Don't just look in the dressing-room mirrors. Walk into the main part of the store, where there tends to be more natural light. Using two different mirrors gives you two perspectives. Remember, any mirror that's on a slant will make you look deceptively skinnier.

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