Shopping is one of, if not my favorite, activities. There's nothing I love more than making my (sometimes weekly) trips to the mall and browsing all the sale racks, trying on numerous outfits, and click-clacking around the store in the highest stiletto heels I can find.
[by Elizabeth Exposito]

As a fashion blogger, I'm constantly on the lookout for the most stylish and fashion forward items. However I always find myself running into the same problem. Impulse buys!! One moment you're admiring a cute $30 summer dress then the next thing you know, you're standing at the cash register with a hefty bill and wondering how $30 turned into $300! Even though some of the things you purchased might have been great buys, little numbers add up very quickly if you aren't careful. Through trial and error I've developed a handy system to avoid the ''do-I-really-need-this??'' purchases. This applies to girls and guys.
Just because the price is right doesn't mean you should buy it!

The first step is to establish a ''Shopping Budget''. Whether you can afford to spend $50 or $200 a week, staying within your set budget will help eliminate those types of purchases. Second, focus on purchasing high quality investment items. A great fitting pair of jeans will be well worth the extra money as opposed to the cute jeans that 'kind of fit' that only cost a little money. Trust me. Here are some items to consider--

For Woman-

1. A Little Black Dress- Almost every store carries some type of black dress. Having a great fitting one that makes you feel like a million bucks is priceless!

2. Collared Button Down- Wear it with jeans, skirts, over a bathing suit, under a sweater! Dress it up or down! This dress shirt will never go out of style.

3. Darkwash Jeans- Flared, boot-cut, low-rise, or my favorite; skinny jeans! I wear jeans with just about everything and darkwash really polishes your look.

4. Black Pumps- One of my favorite things to wear are my black pumps.They're extremely comfortable and very easy to walk in. (Shocking I know) They make even a t-shirt and jeans more stylish. I have my eye on a pair of black suede ones at the moment......

5. Blazer- Last, but certainly not least , every woman should own at least one blazer. I personally prefer black or navy. Whichever you choose, sticking to neutrals (black, charcoal, white, nude, ect.) is the best choice.

For Guys-

1. Blazer- A great blazer is priceless. The same rules from above apply here.

2. Oxfords- A great item for the well-dressed man, oxfords add a relaxed and polished touch any outfit. The right pair will last you years and years. I would suggest purchasing a pair in black or brown.

3. Darkwash Jeans- The same rules for woman apply here as well. However, I prefer looser fitting jeans on guys. Not to be confused with baggy.

4. Leather Jacket- A great leather jacket is the perfect addition to your list of investments. It can be casual or dressy, but always stylish!

5. Black Button Down- I just love black shirts on guys.You can wear it open with a t-shirt underneath or
buttoned up with a contrasting tie or bow tie! The possibilities are endless but you'll always be ''in'' when you're wearing one.

Investment items are like the canvas and accessories are the paints. Through the years you'll go through necklaces, earrings, and purses but those great fitting jeans can be worn anytime with any necklace!
You can always go to Forever21 and find a new bracelet but replacing that perfectly tailored blazer may be a tad more difficult.

The last thing I'd like to point out is how important fit is. That extra little bit of material in the wrong place can make or brake your look. The last thing you want people to remember about your outfit was how bad it fit you! Make sure you know your size and how to dress your figure.

Before you buy something ask yourself these questions-
- Do I really need this?
- Is it in my budget?
- Does it fit?
- When will I wear it? (If you can't see yourself wearing the item you probably shouldn't but it)

I hope these tips will help you on your way to being a more efficient shopper!

Elizabeth Exposito,