Most people are familiar with Montreal’s Sainte-Catherine strip, but many of the city’s shopping gems are nestled in neighbourhoods such as Westmount and the Mile End. So where exactly are these must-stop boutiques? That’s where Montreal Shopping Tours comes in: Consider them your very own plugged-in pal as they show you the shopping ropes and spoil you with exclusive discounts and gifts as any good hostess should.
And since a true hostess makes sure her guests come prepared, she is sharing a few secrets to making the most of your shopping experience.
1. Bring your “mood board” with you. Put all that Pinterest work to good use by printing out the looks and pieces you love most. If you make a habit of tearing out magazine and catalogue pages that inspire you, be sure to bring those along, too. Having a precise image of what you’re looking for will help you stay on track and communicate to store staff (and your guide!) exactly what it is you’re hoping to find.
2. Wear separates. Ever worn a dress while shopping and wound up having to picture how a top would look sans pants? It’s important to visualize how a new piece of clothing will fit into your existing wardrobe, so be sure to wear versatile bottoms (like your favourite skinny jeans) and a close-cut top that won’t drape over or bunch up when tucked in to potential items. And whether you’re being chauffeured or out exploring on your own, comfortable shoes with a bit of height (think wedges) will give you a good idea of how an ensemble will look for any occasion without curbing your mobility or cramping your style.
3. Go with an open mind. Just like trends, our tastes evolve. (They don’t call ’em dressing rooms for nothing, after all.) Dare to step outside your comfort zone and experiment with new colours and styles to discover what works for you now. You never know: You might have shunned high-waist skirts for years only to realize that a bit of peplum was all you needed to stop feeling self-conscious and start strutting your stuff.
4. Sustenance is key. Why is it that our stomachs always start to grumble just when we’ve hit our shopping stride? Keep hunger at bay with a stash of healthy snacks, such as sliced vegetables or mixed nuts, along with a bottle of water to combat thirst. Every serious shopper knows it’s never good to burn out before her credit card!
5. Trust yourself. At the end of the day, no one knows you better than yourself. Avoid buyer’s remorse by asking yourself the following question: Can I see myself wearing this in the next year? If you can’t identify a specific situation or event for a particular item, chances are it’ll end up collecting dust in your closet. And even an item is on sale, consider the notion of “cost per wear”: Even at $100, that jaw-dropping dress isn’t worth much if you’ll only wear it once (or never), while those $300 pumps you’ll wear every day will practically pay for themselves.
Photo: Nick Lafontaine