Friday, 11 January 2013

The 10 commandments of shopping during sales

We all love ourselves a little post-holiday sales shopping spree. It's always a great chance to get some fabulous pieces to complete your wardrobe by spending sometimes less than half what you would normally need to, so I'm always saving up to be able to gift myself even after Christmas. But shopping during sales season can be trickier than you'd think. After years of hitting the sales and ending up with pieces I never have any inclination to actually wear, I think I've finally learned my lesson on how to properly shop. And I'm going to share it.

So here are my 10 commandments to savvy shopping during sales:

1. Though shall not buy a new piece of clothing just because it's on sale. A discount does not a bargain make. Take the time to look closely at the fabric, the cut, the state the piece is in. Think where and when you will wear, if it goes with the other pieces of clothing in your wardrobe and if it will be something you can wear next season as well. If you are satisfied by all these answers, you've got yourself a winner that will be going home with you. 

2. Though shall plan ahead. Decide what is the cap up to which you're willing to spend and make a list with what you're looking to buy - is it a new coat, a sharp jacket, an evening dress? This way you'll be minimizing the risk of spending all your money on things that you really didn't need and coming home to a wardrobe that still has gaps in it.

3. Though shall beware the lure of the IT item. When stepping into a store, our eyes are naturally drawn to the major trends of the season, but before buying them during the sales season, think hard if they will be able to transition into the next season. If the answer's no, that's a pretty safe bet that you should not be spending the money.

4. Though shall make allowance for surprises. Yes, make a list with what you're wishing to buy, but keep an eye out and an open mind for new and different styles. This is one way to make sure you don't come back with that same black coat you already have in your closet - in three different versions!

5. Though shall invest in quality. Don't go for the cheapest pieces just because you can get more. Sure, you will have plenty of stuff in the closet, but how much wear will you get out of them before they get ruined? If you've got the money to spend, the smart thing is to invest in better fabric - they never go out of style. Think about how timeless a beautiful cashmere scarf can be and you'll understand what I mean. 

6. Though shall not only go to the usual stores you visit. Of course, there's a reason why they are your favourite shopping spots - they have the style that you like, the cuts that suit you, good prices. But, during sales, you should not be shy to visit different stores too, especially the ones you usually avoid because of the higher prices. Chances are you could now find something fit for you at a more accessible price than usual.

7. Though shall go early. Early in the day and early in the sales. Not only are the best deals the first to go, you'll also likely diminish your chances of finding the right size. And trust me, from my personal experience, there's nothing worse than finding the perfect dress in the perfect colour and the perfect price in a very imperfect size!

8. Though shall stay focused. Don't let yourself be seduced by the "% off" signs or by what everyone is looking at. Stay true to what you're hoping to find and think if the price you will be paying is really the right price for that piece instead of thinking "wow, it's 75% off". Trust me, certain items, even discounted, just aren't worth the money.

9. Though shall wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Sales is about checking all the potentially interesting stores and leaving no stone unturned. This will likely take time and there's nothing worse than feeling you want to go home just 2 stores into shopping because your feet are killing you.

10. Though shall try things on. Would you buy that piece without trying it on if it were not for the discount? Most probably, your answer is no. Then why should you do it just because it's slightly less expensive? Whatever the price, you're still spending hard-earned money so it's a pity not to make sure that the piece fits exactly as it should.

Good luck shopping!

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