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Let’s talk retail therapy, shall we? Because the expression gets thrown around a lot, but just as an excited undergrad fresh out of Psych 101 is not a therapist, neither is retail therapy…unless you do it right. If shopping makes you grumpy, sweaty and irritable, a change of clothes and gear may be all you need to feel happier and, literally, lighter. So the next time you embark on a shopathon (hello, Black Friday), keep this list of DOs and DONTs handy, and stay fabulous!

FOOTWEAR

DO: Wear comfortable shoes that you can easily slip in and out of when trying on clothes in the change room. Walking and standing all day will be tough on your tender tootsies, and the last thing you want is to shorten your trip over preventable foot pain. Keep your heels at home and borrow a store pair if you’re trying outfits that require them. However, if you’re specifically seeking a dress to match your favourite pair of heels, pack them in your bag.

DON’T: Wear shoes with unnecessary or elaborate buckles and laces (choose Velcro or zips) — they’ll slow you down and cause frustration when you have to repeatedly undo and do them up again each time you try something on. This goes for every item you wear, choose low maintenance items from your wardrobe that won’t cause a fuss.

OUTERWEAR

DO: Opt for a light jacket. Better yet, stash your winter gear in your car or a locker if you’re heading to a contained indoor shopping area, like a mall. But if that’s not an option, a lightweight shell or thin down coat that can be tucked away in your purse or a shopping bag will keep your hands free — all the better for grabbing hot deals off the shelves.

DON’T: Wear a scarf. We love scarves, but they easily catch and tangle in coat hangers and purse straps, and they add an unnecessary step in the change room. Same goes for big, bulky hats and anything you have to take off and carry. After all, you’ll want to give your arms a break and save room in your bags for new stuff!

BASE LAYERS

DO: Wear thin, breathable under layers you don’t mind showing off, such as cotton leggings and a tank. Pair them with a long, loose skirt and a complementary undone button-up shirt and you can kiss change room queues goodbye. Try pants on under the skirt and easily shed your button-up to try on tops over the tank, just about anywhere in the store. And if your leggings and tank are light enough, they can act in lieu of slips and undershirts and will allow you to try on fancy apparel with equal speed.

DON’T: Wear anything too tight. Ill-fitting undergarments can distort the lines of the clothes you try on and make everything you put on over them look bad. If your underwear is altering your outfits, make the lingerie store your first stop. And if you’re seeking a piece that requires a specific undergarment — a strapless dress, for instance — pack or wear your strapless bra to see if they work together.

ACCESSORIES

DO: Carry a large purse to haul your loot, and stash a few reusable shopping bags in it for good measure. Not only are they better for the environment, they’re easier to carry and won’t leave your wrists and elbows riddled with red marks from the weight of your purchases.

DON’T: Wear large or elaborate jewelry — hoop earrings are notorious for catching on clothes and pulling on tender lobes, and your favourite necklace can easily get caught or lost after one too many change room sessions. Leave the accessories at home and try them on with your new clothes when you get back.

SKIN AND HAIR

DO: Wear uncomplicated makeup. You don’t want mascara smudges on your cheeks or your new clothes, so opt for minimal makeup or the best no-smudge-no-flake-no-melt maquillage you’ve got.

DON’T: Wear an elaborate hairdo. For long hair, a messy ponytail is perfect — simply refasten whenever it’s disrupted by too many changes. Short styles work best if they’re simple and natural; avoid excess product and keep your clothes clean and your shoulders flake-free.

STASH

DO: Bring energy supplies. Pack a small water bottle with a reliable seal in your bag and refill as needed from public water fountains so dehydration doesn’t curtail your shopping spree. Lightweight, calorie-dense snacks like nuts and energy bars are ideal for boosting energy between meals.

DON’T: Overfill your purse. Maximize space in your handbag for your new finds and minimize extra weight and bulk.

With these simple tips — and perhaps a friend to increase the fun factor — you’ll be set for a fruitful, unstressed trip to retail bliss.