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

ami kio

May 28, 2006
Down South
I would say it depends on where I am. I live in LA, so no, I never dress up to go shopping here and not many locals do. I think I was wearing flip flops last time I was in BalLA and the SAs greeted me and were super friendly.

But when I'm in Dallas or New York (and most places in Europe) I dress a little better because that's the culture. I'm not saying I get dressed up just to shop, but in general people don't dress as casually in other places as they do in LA. In some cases, it's easier to look nice than get no customer service, which can happen.
ITA. I think that the US West coast & seaside cities are pretty different than much of the US in that it's much more acceptable to be dressed casually. I find that oftentimes you have to be dressed nicely or at least have some type of recognizable handbag to guarantee good service. :shrugs: I'm not saying that you won't have good service if you don't, but the chances are lower.


Sep 13, 2007
I do put more thought into what I'm going to wear if I know I'm going to a high end store...but ultimately, I realize that I can't dress the part because I don't own a closet full of chanel suits and louboutin shoes (how fun would that be!!) I'm a jeans girl (although I do like my designer jeans ;) who carries designer bags. And SA's will make whatever judgments they want. The smart ones are the ones who will treat every customer well, because you never know who has $$ burning a hole in their purse. It is nice to be fawned over- but it's so random. I think it depends on the SA's personality, and IMHO, the mean ones are probably a bit insecure.


Dream Catcher
Mar 25, 2006
Hollywood, CA
nope not at all - I never ever go shopping as a social exercise, it's always pure business when i go - to hit sales, buy a specific item, or just browsing. I don't care how people treat me, only because I enjoy shopping so much that I'd rather be left alone when it's my 'time'. usually I go dressed super down - a warmup suit, flip flops, no makeup with my hair in a bun. it's serious business LOL!


Jan 10, 2007
I dress casually for the most part, I look young ( I am 28 and got carded to see an R movie last year!) and by unknown SA's I get treated crappy until they see my designer bag or engagement ring. Then they follow me throughout the store. The only think more irritataing than getting ignored is having someone follow you, trying to convince you to buy something you don't want. I tried on a dress the other day and among other things it was too long. The sales lady explained to me I could shorten it.... yea, I know! Usually I browse on my own and if my SA is not there I come back when she is, if I have one at that store. But it seems whenever I find one that I like she moves on.
Dec 14, 2006
I always try to look presentable when going shopping, and if I'm going to high end stores I'll make an extra effort. I already look like I'm 16, so any little bit helps. I admire those of you that don't care if you get bad service, because when I do it ruins my day and makes me just want to go home.


On a ball field
Sep 1, 2007
Land of OZ
I guess I would say I dress the part, but not on purpose. I'm the type of girl who won't leave the house in sweats, ponytail, no make-up, unless I'm on my way to the gym. It's just who I am and I'm comfortable with that. My mom was (and still is) the same way, so I come by it honestly. I also enjoy getting "dressed" for shopping. I'm sure I show up at the local Target overdressed, but so what? Wear what you are comfortable in (whether it's casual or not) & don't worry what others think! Do what feels natural.


Nov 11, 2007
Vancouver BC
Honestly yeah I do tend to dress up ( a bit) when I go shopping at higher end stores.Because I look young for my age, (I'm in my early 20's but am usually mistaken for 18 or 19 tops) I think SA's tend to think I won't spend a lot of money and I get bad service..I have had countless bad experiences at Holt Renfrew when I was wearing basic things like Juicy sweats and a plain cotton tank top.

I find that if I dress up a little more ( and use bags that have an obvious logo like LV monogram) I get better service.. in the past when I didn't dress up for a shopping trip to HR I would get snooty looks and stares but no greetings and had to hunt for SA's to get me my size for so long!
Nov 20, 2007
^^ irish, i have had the same experience at HR!! I went in there and was looking at and admiring the bal bags, and when I said I was just looking they told me to "just look and don't touch, then."

When I went back there carrying my bal bag, they were MUCH nicer to me.


Maniaca delle borse
Jan 16, 2008
Brussels and Genova
It seems that things are quite different in the US. In Europe you can almost be sure to be treated not so nicely if you enter a high-end store while badly (or just plainly) dressed.

To start with, most shopping streets have an area where high-end shop tend to concentrate and where you usually see the best dressed people, who would not step over to the cheaper shopping part.

Then, it is not just a question of dressing to impress, but why would you visit Gucci, Dior, etc... if you wear jeans all the time? I am all in favour of smart casual, but what's the point of checking out Chanel suits you are never going to wear? Of course everybody is free to enter whatever shop they choose, but it seems a big waste of time browsing stuff you won't buy when you can visit shops that sell things you love, will buy and wear.

As far as flip-flops are concerned, luckily due to weather conditions they are very rarely seen around shops, but I also think they are appropriate for beach and resort locations only, not so much for the city, also because your feet do get horribly dirty.

Finally, SA in Brussels are the TOP WORST in the world. They are rude, snotty and bad-mannered to the extreme even in some high-end shop, although there sometimes they try to make an effort. It is absolutely true that they treat you a little bit better if you are well dressed, i.e. designer from top to toe, or at least carrying an expensive bag.

Europe is not California, here a badly dressed person is definitely not a millionaire in disguise:graucho:


Up On My Toes!
Jun 6, 2006
Highland, Maryland
I dress nicely whenever I shop at the boutiques or malls. No sneakers and shorts for me at these places. Now the grocery store and other "errand" type places....that's where I don't put any effort into my apparel.


Dec 14, 2007
Alexandria, VA
On days when I am dressed better, such as at lunch on a workday, I am much more likely to breeze in to a high end store. I agree with the poster that the SA's at Tyson's NM can be the most obvious about eyeing customers up and down in judgment. I won't even go in the cosmetics department of that store. So I end up going because I am dressed better, not the other way around. Washington DC can be very traditional about such things -- what you wear seems to denote a seriousness about purchase that should not be presumed, but is.

I agree that Nordies is the best about attitude. Of course, all the handbag SAs know me anyway and come over to check what I am carrying!


Sep 30, 2006
Austin, TX
if you look through the boards, there have been many many instances of rude SAs that refuse to serve you if they deem you don't meet the standards of the store.
Jul 21, 2006
Southwest Florida
I guess I must say that I never go shopping looking like I just got through painting the exterior of my house, but I also live in an area that is very touristy, so you see a good bit of just about anything here. However, if any SA would even think that she would treat me badly because I am dressed a certain way, she'd better hold on to her hat, because I'd be the first to complain to his or her supervisor as fast as I could. How I dress is none of the business of the sales personnel...unless, of course, there is a sign at the door that lists the rules of dressing. Then I'd let her beat me up for dressing badly.


Jun 6, 2007
If I go shopping you can bet I am wearing jeans and tennis shoes. It's just too hard to have fun shopping if my feet hurt. I wear a button-down shirt with a blazer and some pearls or other casual jewelry to give my overall appearance a boost.