how women shop, seven styles


I watch how women shop for clothes. I’m up close and personal these days and it’s fascinating. Thus far I’ve discovered seven shopping styles: stroller, grouch, rusher, critic, connoisseur, glutton, and twin.

The Stroller is calm and in control. She takes her time, she strolls. She knows what she likes. Because she has a good eye, she usually doesn’t require a lot of help finding things. Shopping isn’t a sport for the stroller, she’s not competitive. She doesn’t need it, but she doesn’t hate it either. The stroller knows that if she takes her time, she might find something she likes. If not, pff. Generally speaking the stroller is not impetuous or frivolous. Some times the stroller is actually pushing a stroller… 


The Grouch doesn’t want to be shopping. The grouch wants you to know that. The grouch isn’t a nice person and she wants you to know that, too. She has no idea what she’s looking for. 


The grouch doesn’t even know why she walked into the store.


She doesn’t want anyone’s help, she wants an audience, witnesses to her grouchiness. Back away from the grouch—she’s contagious.

 The Rusher blows in like a gust of wind. The rusher’s always busy, a very important person. The rusher throws a lot of things around. In her wake, stuff slips off of hangers, hangers go clattering to the ground. It’s not her fault, it’s just that she’s “clumsy.”  That’s why when she slams into that display, it’s the store’s fault. The rusher can’t make up her mind. How could a rusher, a VIP, ever be expected to make up her mind? 

The Critic, nothing pleases her. She can spot things a mile away that won’t please her up close. The critic knows everything, even when she’s wrong. She’s capable of carrying on a running monologue on several things that are wrong, while critically evaluating something she isn’t even looking at. The critic is unpleasant and condescending, and she’s related to The Rusher. 

The Connoisseur is kind and polite. She’s a bit aloof. The connoisseur knows quality and she knows what she wants. 


Be careful how you engage with the connoisseur, she does not suffer fools.


If you try to schmooze her, she will politely put you in your place. The connoisseur knows what she’s talking about. You can trust her expertise—and if she thinks your ok, she may someday come to trust yours. 

The Glutton can be very funny. The glutton is also a bit pathetic. She wants everything. She moves through the store like a harvester, grabbing armfuls of random things. The glutton tries everything on, sometimes twice. She seems to have hours to spend harvesting. The glutton is super chatty. The glutton is self-critical. Most of the time, your safe with the glutton. 

The Twin walks in with an invisible someone, who contradicts everything she thinks. Every time she reaches for something, it seems like she receives a message: “No, not that.” The twin is very confused, she can’t make up her mind. You can feel the twin’s pain, she doesn’t know which one she is. 


The twin appears to be harmless, but you have to wonder: what will happen when she finally decides?





  • Carla says:

    Oh my goodness this post gave me a smile on my Monday morning. I think I may be the desperate shopper? The one who is usually pretty content with her disheveled look until she has a TV appearance or presentation thrust upon her and realizes she has nothing to wear 🙂

    • Anita Irlen says:

      Carla, Glad about the smile. People are coming up with great additions to the list! I think maybe that, at one time or another, we’ve all been the desperate shopper. And that’s when we (I) make those awful mistakes…

  • Delia says:

    Might I suggest one other shopper. Perhaps a combination of Stroller and Connoisseur, known as the Planner. She is the creative who collects quality pieces and recycles them from season to season, interspersing with less expensive items that can be disposed of at the end of the season. She plans out what she needs and then goes shopping to round out her wardrobe. Always looks good and tastefully put together.

  • Jennifer says:

    Then there’s the “Bullied Shopper” who comes in with a know-it-all friend who proceeds to insist she buy things that look horrible on her and deflects any advice from the sales help.
    Fun list.
    Of course remember the “Addicted Shopper” who will take all the sales person’s time, buy many things and return them within two weeks. She’s addicted to the company and service from sales people.

    • Anita Irlen says:

      Jennifer, Yes, I see some of both kinds. Also the just plain lonely that need someone to talk to and maybe even just pay attention to them. It’s great how staff rally around that person to make them feel better.

  • denton says:

    I’m a combination of the connoisseur and the stroller. Except I am a lot faster.

  • Anita, this is great! I have really missed your writing, I’m sorry I haven’t been around much lately. I have never seen a list like this and whilst I work with people and actually take them shopping – I’ve never really thought too much about individual shopping styles! I like all the suggestions other readers have come up with too, I think I’m probably most like Delia’s – a ‘Stroller/Connoisseur’ – or at least I’d like to believe so! Thanks for this, it made me smile and will have me thinking about what category clients fall into whenever I’m with them, although I think most of mine naturally fall into Glutton and Twin – which is why they call on me for help! Esther xx

    • Anita Irlen says:

      Esther, Good analysis. You’re probably right about your clients. It’s the gluttons and the twins I find myself helping a lot. I just follow the rushers around and tidy up after them… xx

  • This. I am a blend of 80% stroller (minus the actual stroller) and 20% connoisseur, minus the condescension. Or so I hope.

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