I’ve not done much sale shopping this year. I tend to walk into a shop, see the rails of sale items looking completely uncategorized and chaotic and feel immediately stressed at the prospect of rooting through it. I’ve failed miserably in the past, ending up with what I thought was a great bargain but that I never wear and can’t even remember why I bought! I’ve also found things that I really like, are a great price… but only available in a size 6.
In short, sale shopping is a total minefield. The sales are on, and even so I’ve ended up buying full priced items when I’m sure there must be a bargain sale version hiding somewhere! Here are my tips on how to keep calm and focussed to see past the jumble. This is a list for me as much as anything – my good sense can go out the window completely when I’m actually shopping!
1. Think to the season ahead. I’m thinking both of trends (what is still going to be “in fashion” next season and next year) but also of the actual season. Rather than buying sale sandals, which are everywhere and are very tempting, I went for boots. I’m not going to wear sandals for at least a year! I’m already wearing the boots now and they’ll see me though the whole of winter too.
(Carvela Chelsea boots, £40 from Viva la diva)
This rule can be totally ignored if you’re lucky enough to have a late summer holiday booked. It’s a great chance to get those last minute items for a fraction of the cost!
2. Colours are always a massive issue for me as I can never predict what I’m going to be in to once the season actually changes. In the January sales I am not feeling brights at all, and now it’s July I don’t fancy mustard/navy/deep purple. It can end up being guesswork. So go for what you know you’ll definitely like, keep to transitional colours that will suit late summer/early Autumn months, or stick to classics.
3. Buy classic items that will last, like jeans, blazers and tees. It’s nice to know that something is going to be fantastic value in the long term (pence per wear).
4. Focus on what you need (or want) in your wardrobe. My wish list had chelsea boots and a Breton striped tee (among other things), so getting these things at a reduced price does actually count as a bargain!
(Striped top, £3 from Fashion Union)
5. Shop online. Filter the sale by item to find the things you know you want. I knew I wanted a striped top and it ended up being very easy to find one at a great price. I would never have found one if I’d gone round the shops looking for one.
6. If you spot something random and pretty at a price you like, standard shopping tips apply – i.e. don’t be blinded by the “bargain” price tag. Do you have something to wear it with and somewhere to wear it already? If not, it could be a mistake. I’m lucky that this lace top is a neutral colour, as it was a total impulse sale purchase!
(Cream lace top from Zara)
7. Finally – good for you if you spot that item you’ve had you’re eye on, now reduced to a price within your budget and still available in your size. You’re living the dream.