How To Stay Totally Positive When Shopping For Holiday Outfits

Self-deprecation and doubt sometimes feel like they are part of my very nature, and it's often difficult to figure out how to stay positive during holiday dress shopping. Despite the fact that I absolutely love to shop, it can get pretty taxing during this time of year, particularly when searching for something as specific as the perfect holiday dress.

The prospect of taking an afternoon to shop for holiday frocks often sounds great in theory, but can leave you feeling overwhelmed at best (and at worst, pissed off). Before you break out into a cold sweat, toss up your hands, and decide to risk shopping for everything online, consider this: Holiday dress shopping doesn't have to be unpleasant, as long as you are equipped with the tools to stay positive during the process. As someone who has a tough time accessing my positive side (especially when it comes to the frustrating task of finding a garment that makes me look and feel amazing) I can tell you that each one of these tips in practice has helped me leave the dressing room in a cloud sunbeams and shooting stars — as opposed to storming out in a ball of my own incandescent rage. If you're in need of a little positivity before you go shopping this season, consider the surprisingly helpful tips below.

1. Check Out Your Own Closet First

Before I brace myself for a day of shopping, I try to shop my own closet first. No, this doesn't satisfy the urge to buy something new (and as many of you know, that urge can be very compelling) but sometimes a closet refresher can lead to you realizing that you don't actually need something new because the perfect outfit was there all along. If you really don't have anything to wear, browsing your closet before a shopping spree still has some cool benefits. For one, it reminds me of the styles and brands I like, as well as what fits my particularly well. Additionally, I'm able to take a mental inventory of what jackets, sweaters, and accessories I have — this helps when you're trying to decide how to style a particular holiday dress once you're at the store.

2. Bring A Trusted Hypeman

There's a time and a place for your mom to come shopping with you to tell you exactly what she thinks, but holiday dress shopping is not that time. I definitely value an honest opinion, but sometimes I just want my shopping companions to come along, trust my sartorial instincts, and tell me I look damn good. That's why when I shop for holiday frocks, I bring someone who will provide positive reenforcement, helping me zip the back of my dress with a smile. Bonus points if they're also in need of a new dress and you can do the same for them.

3. Go Shopping On A Good Day

Every once in awhile, I'll have one of those days that sets the worst possible tone for shopping: I wake up and none of my clothes fit right, I can't find my favorite ankle boots, my hair won't do what it's supposed to, and my skin looks like hell. While I try to assure myself that I'm beautiful despite the fact that I'm a sweaty, wrangled mess, I also know that a day like that is not the best day to go shopping. Instead, wait for a day when you feel awesome, and your shopping experience won't be nearly as frustrating as the moment you spilled coffee down your new white button-down.

4. Hit The Stores You Know You Love

Or at least, go to your favorite stores first. I'm all for branching out and trying new places, but when I want to find something that makes me feel amazing, it's only logical that I return to the places that have sold me amazing garments before. Shopping at places that you've had previous success at can improve your shopping mood for a lot of reasons: You know the lay of the land, you know how the sizes correspond to your body, and you know you've killed it in a piece from them before.

5. Tell The Salespeople What You're Looking For

I'm what you call an anti-social shopper, meaning that sometimes the sight of a salesperson approaching me in my periphery is enough to make me tense up and recoil, just in time for them to say "Can I help you find anything?" and for me to blurt out, "NO FINE THANKS." However, in recent weeks I have been pleasantly surprised when I've interacted with the person on the floor. It is their job, after all. Letting a sales person help you out can cut some serious time off of how long you spend browsing, which means you have more time to get in the dressing room and impress yourself.

6. Look In Multiple Mirrors

Kristin Chirico over at BuzzFeed did an amazing experiment recently, documenting what she looked like in different dressing rooms. The differences between stores were astounding, and while you can't hop from store to store in the same dress to check yourself out, you can leave the dressing room and look in the larger mirrors that are often placed just outside. You can also wander further afield to mirror on the wall inside the store. Point being, dressing room mirrors are often a complete horrorshow, and before you decide that something looks terrible on you, you owe it to yourself to get a second mirror's opinion. Another pro-tip: If you have a friend with you, have them take a snap of the dress with their phones, as mirror images and photos often tell a completely different story.

7. Take A Moment To Celebrate Yourself

No matter how prepared you are or how much you love the stores you shop at, shopping can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Staying positive throughout the process can be tough, but remember: You owe yourself kindness above all. Instead of scoffing and convincing yourself that you probably "look like crap in literally every piece of clothing ever manufactured in the history of clothing," (an actual absurd sentence that has come out of my mouth) give yourself compliments each time you try something on. If you're really feeling your holiday look, tell yourself so. If it's not the right garment for you, criticize the clothing and deem it unworthy of your magnificent body. And if all else fails? Take a break, head to the nearest Auntie Anne's, and enjoy a delicious pretzel in celebration of your total righteousness, and remind yourself that at the end of the day, you're so much more than what the dressing room mirror says you are.

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