Tips for Shopping the Sales


Believe me, when it comes to sales I have done it all….

  • bought shoes that are too small because ‘they will stretch’
  • bought cheap tat from H&M because ‘it’s on sale’
  • bought clothes that I can ‘sell on ebay’
  • bought things for ‘when I lose weight’
  • suffered from sale UMS*

*UMS is what I call ‘Unreal Money Syndrome’. This happens online, in foreign currency and during sales. Money becomes like Monopoly money and it feels like you are not spending money at all. Kind of like believing calories don’t count if you eat standing up…

So, with the benefit of bitter personal experience my tips are thus:

  • rather than doing your sales shopping at Primark or H and M, think more of buying investment classic buys that you could not otherwise afford. Do you want a seasonal trend item reduced from £10 to £5 that you will never wear or an investment piece reduced from £300 to £75?
  • work from a list of things you need so that you are not blinded by the *AWOOGA AWOOGA BIG RED SALES SIGNS EVERYWHERE*
  • scope out shops beforehand and try on things you think will go on sale. That will mean that on sale day you can zero in on your item and not have to stand for ages in a queue to try the item on (or even worse just grab it because you can’t face trying it on and then not having the energy to return it when you realise it doesn’t fit)
  • if you have a shop you like, follow them on Twitter or Facebook or subscribe to an email mailing list. You will most likely be invited to shop the sale before everyone else. Mulberry, Smythson, Aspinal, Acne, Net-a-Porter all do this. You are also offered on-off discounts from time to time. To prevent email overflow use filters to move email into a shopping folder and then read them when you have time.
  • before buying something, ask yourself: Would I buy this if it was not on sale? Can I use it with something else I already own?
  • if you really want something, buy it at 50% off. Chances are it won’t still be there by the time the prices drop to 75%
  • use end of season sales as a chance to buy good boots, winter coats, good handbags, nice Filofaxes. Classic winter boots in black and brown will go on sale in late spring because no one is buying them. It won’t feel as fun to buy your dark coloured winter stuff in spring when the news stuff in the shops is all airy and springlike in flowery colors but come autumn you will have a nice boots or a warm coat that you bought for a song. I love Ecco and Frye boots which are pricey but I buy them half price at the end of a season.
  • also, almost in direct contradiction of what I said earlier – if you want to try a trend (say: harem pants or something glittery), get cheap on sale and then you won’t regret it if you wear it once (or not at all). By that though I mean buy it at H&M and not Dolce and Gabbana.
  • Zara has very good quality clothes that are not expensive to begin with and their sales are very good. They usually start a little later than the others so save your pennies. Work out beforehand when exactly the sales start in your favourite shop and don’t blow your money in the first shop with that big red SALE sign in the window.
  • if you do want something in a seasonal style or color (for example Mulberry or Filofax), pounce at the end of season sale. Or even before if you HAVE to have it. Because those seasonal items don’t come back again. Still sometimes kick myself for not getting the Personal Teal Baroque Filofax when I had the chance. Or the Prairie Mulberry Bayswater. Regrets don’t help but sometimes you can’t help having them!
  • if you make friends with the shop assistants in your regular shopping haunts they will often tip you off about upcoming sales.
  • if you do buy something full-price and it goes on sale pretty soon after you buy it, check with the shop and your credit card company (if you paid with one). They pretty often have details about refunding the difference if something you purchased recently  went on sale.

Hope this help and happy shopping!

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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