Dressing the part?! Answers Needed Please....

Jan 29, 2006
I wanted to ask this as a general question and was going to post in the 'handbag section' because this question applies to all handbags however since I frequent the BAL. forum the most I decided to come here and ask....

this is going to be used in a survey/essay so please answer honestly...

do you think that when shopping you have to dress the part? like for instance if you walk into let's say BALNY or a LV boutique do you think you have to dress up? At least more than usual? Do you get better treatment/service if you look the part of a 'big spender'? For people who have gone into high end boutiques 'dressed down' have you received bad service ? How bad ( if i may ask) ?

thank you guys!:flowers:

i hope it's okay that i post this in the LV section as well since I need as many opinions as possible. thanks everyone! & please answer as honestly as possible too...i cannot stress that enough! :heart:


Life is good.. :)
Mar 27, 2007
Beachy SoCAL...♥
I'd dress the same if I were going to any mall, whether it's upscale or not. I don't dress to impress, nor do I care what other people think... I'm simply there to spend $$$.. :graucho:.

I also don't walk in with an attitude of being expected to be waited on right away. I actually prefer lurking around then asking for help when I'm ready to be helped. ;) If a SA were to judge who he/she helped by someones appearance.. then it's there loss on a potential sale.

But to answer your question, I certainly don't dress myself any better or nicer in a sense if I were shopping in Beverly Hills to South Coast or Fashion Island. But, I don't wear my PJ's out either....kwim? I also haven't had any negative experiences either.
Feb 2, 2008
Bay Area
When I go shopping, I always wear my comfortable walking shoes/flats and I tend to dress casually with these shoes. I don't really care what the SA's think about me. It's more important to me that my feet don't hurt!

So far, I haven't had any negative experience at any high end boutiques or department stores when I walked in dressing very casually. I think the SA's in my area (Silicon Valley) know that someone in sweats may very well be a billionaire / multi-millionaire (sorry, millionaire is a dime a dozen here)! I once sat next to a CEO of a very big high tech company at a neighborhood breakfast place and he was wearing shorts and flip flops! OK, I digress...

Well, at the end of the day, money talks. Even though I dress very casually most of the time I go shopping, there are SA's who remember me by name, just because I bought big ticket items from them before.


Feb 10, 2008
The only time I "dress the part" is at work (or for formal events, but that's a given), and at work it's "dress for the job you want not the one you have."
I do however, refuse to wear "workout" clothes out about in public unless I am working out. I brush my hair & my teeth before I leave the house, I wear deodorant, my casual is still put together and neat. I don't look like I rolled out of bed & decided, meh maybe I'll go shopping.

In short, the answer is "no" (I think:shrugs:), I'm going shopping, not to high tea at the palace.:shame:


Mar 16, 2007
I don't dress up for stores like those. I wear what I would normally wear for going out to the shops and/or a boutique.

Besides, I want to see how that bag will look with the clothes that I normally wear anyway and since I'm more of a casual dresser, thats how I would want to see the bags look on me when trying them on to get a real life impression rather than having to imagine.

I think if an sa is going to be rude or stuck up, that's their problem and not mine and I wouldn't want them to have my sale anyway. I'd go to the one that was nicer.

To answer one of your questions, I have received bad service and it was with an sa called Leo at Barneys NY midtown. Long story but he was terriblly rude and stuck up and that really upset me at the time. I left and wrote a long 2 page letter to the GM of Barneys and he replied with a letter of apology and stating that Leo was 'dealt with apprpriately' and and the GM also offered a complimentary dinner for two at their upscale restaurant Freds (which I did do and loved it - I have to go back to Freds!!).

But I've since learned that Leo is an ***hole anyway since someone else has told me about him being fired once from Barneys but becuase of some workers union, he returned 4 months later.

Apart from that, customer service has been fine for me as far as attitudes. Balny is pretty cool since I've been there a few times so they kinda know me now and they call out my sa as soon as I walk in!


one is never enough
Jul 5, 2007
I would say that I would need to to be taken seriously (not that I do ;) ). I normally wear jeans, t-shirts and flip flops. I go into NM Tyson's quite frequently... my normal SA fawns all over me, knowing if I see something I love, I'll get it. There are a couple of SA's there that look at me like I don't belong though. I don't care as long as my SA is there to help me out. (And I find if I'm carrying a high end bag, know the name of the styles, colors, etc., they take me a little more seriously.)


Jul 28, 2006
i personally don't get dressed up, but i never leave the house in sweats either. so i guess i look presentable when i am in high-end stores.

i'm not sure what the context is for this survey/essay but in my psych research methods class in college some girls studied this topic and did their own experiment where they went to stores dressed like sloppy college kids and then another time dressed well. i don't know what their results were but i do know that real research has been done on the topic. if you are in college and have access to Jstor or other databases, i would look around for scholarly articles.


shallow obsessor ;)
Jan 17, 2006
Down Under
Nope. If the SA wants to judge me based on my appearance/attire, their loss :noworry:, because I'm happy to take my patronage elsewhere where I get impeccable service regardless of how I dress or the size of my bank balance.


Oct 7, 2007
Nope, I've gone shopping in everything from "work" clothes (suit, heels, make-up) to on my way home from central park (which is pretty bad). Can't say I've ever noticed a difference.

Karenab, I know what you mean about Leo, I try to stay away from him as much as possible!


obsessed member
Oct 5, 2006
honestly?! yes.. but i like to get dressed up and sometimes do it for no reason at all (or reasons like strolling around in the city..haha)
when i was a little younger i always felt a little unconfortable walking into highend boutiques in sneakers etc. Especially because here in Europe they can be really really unfriendly and snobbish!
honestly, now i dont feel like i have to do it anymore and always go as i am :heart:


Sep 14, 2007
I'm with curiousmind...I don't care what the SA's think. To me, they are minimum wage workers that will cop an attitude if they can not afford to buy what they are trying to sell me. The only negative experience I had was in a boutique on Sunset Blvd. in LA eons ago. I was wearing shorts, a tank top and flip flops. I already knew what I was going to purchase so I wasn't 'shopping'. The SA stared down her nose at me, only to help this woman dripping in diamonds with bad plastic surgery (think of a Chinese duck) I laughed as the woman she was helping (kissing her butt) pranced out of the store after leaving a heap of clothes on the dressing room floor, and purchasing nothing. And lil ol' me just smiled, pointed to the item I wanted (a 1K+ handbag) paid and walked out. Needless to say, I never returned.
I will always buy something if the SA is genuinely helpful. I appreciate good service, but never demand it. And one should never be judged by appearance...EVER!


wishing and hoping
Nov 2, 2005
northern NJ
I work from home, so my uniform is jeans-shirt-sneakers or flip flops with a Bbag on my arm. I do not get dressed up to go shopping, not even to snootyass Short Hills Mall and it never stops me from getting service. I'm also not a browser...when I'm shopping it's because I want to buy something...I think that sense of purpose comes out in my attitude.


Apr 8, 2007
I experienced this just yesterday! I live in a smaller town, with no high-end department stores, but we do have a few small boutiques, and our Dillard's is a really large one with a fairly good size designer dept. This is where I will begin! Now keep in mind, I dress very casually, but by no means look like a bum. I wear nice clothes, even though they are casual. I was in terrible need of a few new things for spring, and DH was busy with a friend so I decided to go find some clothes. I knew I would be trying on tons of stuff, so didn't put much effort into hair or clothes, I figured 'what's the point?' it's just going to make it a hassle to try things on. I had on jeans, a nice top embroidered with our kennel logo and tennis shoes (I was carrying may Balenciaga Day bag, but nobody around here knows what that is!). I went to the shoe dept. first, no problem there, SA (man) was very nice and I bought 2 pairs of shoes. Then I head upstairs to the designer dept. After getting looked-down-the-nose at, I wandered around and had accumulated about 6 or 8 hangers (arm getting very sore as I'm also carying the bag of shoes), when finally an older woman asked if she could start a dressing room for me. I thanked her very much. She came back to me a couple of times and took things to the dressing room. When I finally went in to try things on, I probably had about 20-25 pieces in there. I came out to get a different size of jeans, and another snooty SA came up to me and asked if I was done yet, because she wanted to start putting my things back on the racks! Excuse me? I haven't even tried them all on yet. I couldn't believe she actually said that to me, like she figured I had no intention of buying anything! After all was said and done, and I had decided what I was buying, I went to the older lady and gave her the sale (12 pieces mind you!). I left the store happy, not because of the service, but because I actually found that many things that fit me! In the past, I have gone there dressed quite well, after work, and it's a totally different scene. They fall all over themselves trying to be the first to help you, so they get credit for the sale. I was just in the mood to shop for clothes yesterday (which never, ever is the case, I despise shopping for clothes), and apparently the SA's thought I was just out wasting my day trying on clothes for something fun to do.

The small boutiques we have in the area are very 'uppity' and so are the people that work in them. I wouldn't even consider walking into one of them the way I was dressed yesterday. I would have received no help whatsoever, and would have been watched like a hawk, like I was going to steal something! I won't deal with feeling like that, so I won't shop at those stores. If there is something that I want that I can't find at Macy's or Dillard's, I buy it online. Much less stress!

Hope that helps!


Feb 1, 2007
Well I don't want to dispute anyone of the posts above, but I just feel more comfortable (for ME -- not any sales people) if I am dressed well. This could be a throwback to Southern grandmother and mother who treated going shopping as if it was a 4 star "dress-out" experience!! (This was in the olden days of Memphis and Dallas.) You can be sure when I go shopping in NYC, I am properly dressed; trying to be chic there is an occupation, and you have to have the right combination of casual and the coolest stuff. If I go to BALNY, I usually have one of my Bal bags with me. It just makes ME feel better. When I see the hoards of horribly super-casually-dressed tourists in jogging suits and tacky shorts and flip flops in, for example, Prada in Soho, I cringe. I really don't have tons of money to throw around (like those "billionaires" mentioned above), but I do like to shop, and usually know what I like, and I do want to be treated with respect. SO I guess I must care what the SA's think! It's kind of a psychological situation with me (probably the grandmother/mother thing)...but I rarely go out shopping in very casual clothes. Unless it is a Saturday and I just run in somewhere on the spur of the moment. My 2cents.:smile: