Shop the sales like an expert
Sales time is well and truly upon us, and with it the limitless opportunity to buy inappropriate clothes that can languish unworn with tags in your wardrobe for years to come, bought solely because they were a bargain.
However, with our top tips for sales shopping like the experts, you'll be able to avoid that slightly guilty feeling every time you open your wardrobe door and see those half-a-size-too-small jeans that seemed like such a good idea when you saw they were marked down by 60%. Stick to my Seven Simple Rules for Slick Sales Shopping and you'll be smugly admiring your stylish and versatile wardrobe while everyone else contemplates whether that bargainous cutaway metallic dress was really such a good idea after all.
Seven Simple Rules for Slick Sales Shopping
1. Don't be tempted away from your colours and style
This is the first rule for a reason. Knowing your best colours is a fantastic tool for sales shopping - you can avoid unflattering mistakes, and have the confidence to go for bolder colours that others have been nervous of trying and are heavily reduced.
Whatever else you do, stick to your best palette of colours and don't compromise your own personal style.
2. Have a list, but don't be afraid to deviate
It's always good to know what your wardrobe gaps are, but especially during sales time - if you see the perfect pair of work trousers it's good to know whether it's worth stocking up or if you already have seven perfectly functioning pairs.
However, don't be so rigorously bound by your list that you miss an opportunity to grab something that will bring your wardrobe to life - a vibrant scarf or amazing pair of shoes that you never knew you needed might be just what your outfits need to take them from so so to spectacular.
3. Shop for classics and for trends that will work in the coming season
My two favourite things to shop for in the sales; classics that will work for years to come and therefore are perfect to buy in the sales rather than rush bought at the beginning of the season (because you can get a higher end version than you might otherwise afford), and 'trend' items that will continue to work in the coming season - perhaps something like a statement shape denim that can be dressed for cooler weather after spring/summer, or pretty dresses that will work with a silky roll neck underneath to give warmth and a splash of colour. These fashion clothes might not be something that you want to wear forever more, but heavily marked down and as an extra little wardrobe boost for a couple of seasons, they can be some of the best sales buys out there.
4. Stick to your size
Yes, it's tempting to try to squeeze yourself into jeans that are one inch too small in the waist, or slop about in a boyfriend jumper that is just the wrong side of slouchy because they were so marked down, but these things will never ever be perfect items in your wardrobe. They will always be slightly tarnished by not being the perfect size. Save your money for the sales bargains that fit you perfectly.
5. Know your best brands
Knowing the brands that work for you can make sales shopping far more efficient, rather than having to rifle through every single sales rail in every single shop. As you get used to your colours, you'll begin to notice that some shops always stick to certain palettes (apart from Kettlewell, of course!) - casual wear shops like Fat Face and White Stuff, for example, often cater more for Summer and Autumn palettes but aren't even worth walking into if you're a Spring or a Winter, whereas high end fashion brands are far more likely to carry the bold Winter colours than any other.
Not that you shouldn't ever venture away from your favourites, but if time is at a premium, head for your tried and tested brands first.
6. Sign up to email alerts
Ah, email alerts, best friend of the lazy shopper. I do the vast majority of my clothes shopping online, and those email sales alerts are the perfect way to get in at the start of the sale while as much as possible is still in stock. Keep an eye out, too, for the 'further reductions' email that inevitably follows a week or so later. Often all the good stuff is gone, but occasionally you can pick up a total bargain. This is often when I will get hold of the occasional more high end pieces in my wardrobe.
7. Go early to the real shops
If you're going shopping in real life rather than online, make an early start - the sales rails will be ordered with as many sizes as possible available, clothes will be neatly hung or folded rather than draped over rails, tables and mirrors. This advice particularly applies if, like me, you actually aren't much of a shopper - the earlier you go, the more efficiently you can shop and the quicker you can get out of there, preferably before it gets too busy.