Summer vacation shopping tips {BlogHer shopping at Northgate Mall}

It is summer vacation time, and everyone knows what that means: shopping. Whether you are ditching the rain and heading somewhere tropical or you are beating the heat and heading for cooler weather, chances are you need some new clothing and gear for whatever climate you’re headed to.

I like to view this as an invitation to splurge a little bit on myself to make vacation packing easier. Since I love vacation shopping more than any other kind of mall trip, I tend to plan one a few weeks before any big trips to refresh my wardrobe before fully deciding on what I will be packing. So, amed with a complimentary gift card, my daughter and I headed to Northgate Mall in Seattle to prepare for my upcoming Chicago trip for BlogHer.

Girl time at Northgate Mall
Packing for BlogHer is a bit different than any other vacation for me, because I need to be professional and put together in addition to staying cool and comfortable, so it’s not like I can pack a few shirts, a pair of jeans and some shorts and skirts and call it good. I need fancy dresses for at night, put-together outfits for day, and coordinating pieces that can do double-duty so I don’t end up with three suitcases.

Naturally, I was really excited to get my shopping started at Northgate Mall, but before I started shopping, I did a little pre-vacation prep. Having become a pro at shopping for trips in the past, this time I knew exactly what I was doing and I followed these guidelines:

1) Stick to one color scheme. Instead of packing navy, black and brown and having to bring shoes and colors that match all of them, I recommend sticking to one and adding coordinating colors. For me, black is the universal building block and I always bring black skirts and black flats and then add the fun colors in my tops, jackets, and accessories.
2) Wear your basics while shopping. For me, that’s a skirt and comfortable shoes or flip flops. If you’re planning on both jeans and skirts, bring them both with you and change outfits in the dressing room. I always wear my basics when shopping for shirts, jackets, sweaters, and necklaces because they all look different with jeans than they do with skirts and there’s no guessing whether the top is the correct length or color.
Vacation ready at Northgate MallI even braved showing off these super-white legs to wear my skirt I love for travel.
3) Speaking of wearing what you are packing, this is a great time to see if those “comfortable shoes” are really comfortable. After wearing them all around the mall all day, you will know pretty quick where those shoes rub or chafe, so mall shopping is a great way to “break them in”.

4)    Try and do all of your vacation shopping in one day. Making one trip instead of multiple days means you have your basics that you are wearing with you as well as everything else you’ve bought throughout the day to reference colors, fits, etc.  This is why I love Northgate Mall in Seattle, one of the Simon Malls, because with 130 stores it has everything I need. Big stores like Nordstrom {plus The Rack}, Macy’s, Gap, Eddie Bauer, and JC Penney as well as smaller favorites like Romy, Cathy Jean, Journeys, and Forever 21 that I love.
5) Go mobile. I used the Simon Malls iPhone app to help me prepare before I even left the house. If you have a Simon Mall near you {and chances are you DO}, you should download the app yourself. Why search for stores or wander aimlessly when you can create your plan ahead of time, find deals and discounts and get what you need quicker?
6) Bring second opinions. Sometimes that yellow top that looks amazing to you in the dressing room ends up being a huge mistake. A second opinion is always nice to have when you’re unsure. My second opinion is only 5 years old, but we all know that means one thing: complete and utter honesty.

Shopping at Northgate Mall
Once I had my plan down, my app loaded, and my personal shopper, I headed out with my favorite black skirt, my trusty black flats, and a few accessories in my bag for a fun day of shopping. I started out at Romy this time because they have some great summer options that are still stylish and professional, and bought a few tops, which I am dying to wear. I then headed to Eddie Bauer to pick up the cardigan I have been eyeing that would be perfect over the new tops.

Eddie Bauer at Northgate Mall
I decided quick that this time of year is quite possibly my favorite for buying. Just look at all these color options you just don’t see in the fall and winter.

Lots of Color at Northgate Mall
Speaking of color, a quick trip to Macy’s convinced me I needed a new purse, because a turquoise purse has been on my wish list for years and I can’t pass up clearance. While I was there, I picked up a necklace to make into a lanyard for the conference and a small wallet to match the purse.

Turquoise purse
After that, I was off to Nordstrom Rack. I love Nordy’s shoes, so I started there and found some adorable silver flats that I couldn’t leave without. Then I found a zip up hoody for the train ride home from BlogHer and spent some time browsing their accessories and tops.

Accessories shopping at Northgate Mall
Nordstroms at Northgate
Once we were done shopping, we headed out to get some lunch and relax and then we went home to lay out outfits together {my daughter likes to match, so this involved both closets}. Want to see what I came up with?

Outfit 1
Just look at all that color!  You should be very, very proud of me… my default color is black!
Outfit 2
And, as much as I love my new vacation fashion, I’m super excited that I finally got my turquoise purse I have been dying for. I may pass this bag down to my grandkids.

Turquoise purse 2
Want to see what Northgate Mall has in store? Check out their Facebook and Twitter
pages and plan your next trip!

Leanne Signature 2A big thank you to Northgate Mall and Simon Malls for providing a gift card so we could shop their many, many stores. As always, all opinions are 100% ours.

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