We've all been there. One summer afternoon you decide to go on an innocent trip to a mall. And then you notice it. The bold, red word 'SALE' screaming at you from all directions. People are crowded around ZARA entrance as if they were expecting to get something for free. You decide to check it out. The whole store looks like an Indian market – clothes are everywhere, and you stumble upon shoes as you go. You see women flipping through rags, determined to 'hunt' the best pieces. Suddenly you start to feel nervous. What if you just happened to come across the most amazing sale, when you can buy sophisticated items and pay next to nothing? What if it's one in a lifetime opportunity? 'I'll just have a look' you think, and two hours later you leave the store with tons of useless crap. And guess what? It wasn't even that cheap.
But don't worry – you're not alone. There are thousands of people getting tricked into thinking that buying a polyester jacket 50% off, even if it still costs $50, is a real deal. Should you then avoid sales in general? In fact, they can allow you to build a chic wardrobe full of versatile pieces without spending a fortune. You just need to now how to shop smart. Below I present a short guide to making the most out of sales.
So what to actually look for?
- Ultimate classics
Sales are a great opportunity to find timeless pieces like a perfect pair of jeans or a little black dress. You wanted to buy them anyway, so why not do so when they cost less? As long as you choose simple style, you are very likely to enjoy them for long years. If you are lucky, you wear a less common size – very small or larger than average; they're less popular and as a result still available at the very end of the season. The same rule applies to shoes.
What to look for?
- jeans in cut that suits you most
- classic straight pants
- cigarette pants
- pencil/ A-line skirt
- crisp white shirt
- jacket in neutral color (black, white, grey, navy, camel)
- simple wool coat
- black leather courts/ boots/ ballerinas
- little black dress
- roomy bag in neutral hue
- Outstanding quality
If you can't afford to buy luxurious materials on everyday basis, sales might be the great option for you. I once found a lovely cashmere sweater for about $70. I have it to this day and it still looks amazing and I can really tell the difference when I wear it. You may still need to invest quite a lot in such pieces, as they are hardly ever really cheap. But you will thank yourself later, when you will have the chance to enjoy their exceptional quality. Still, you shouldn't narrow your search area to luxury stores. My mum once found a beautiful scarf in Marks&Spencer. It's 50% cashmere and 50% silk, and it literally costed like $10. So keep your eyes open.
What to look for:
- cashmere sweaters
- silk blouses/ tops
- silk scarves
- silk lingerie/ pyjamas
- wool coats/ jackets
- leather jackets/ pants
- leather bags/ shoes
- Items from your LIST
It might seem crazy, but I actually keep a list in my Evernote, that consists of all the things that I am planning to buy. It's composed based on what I already have in my wardrobe and what I think would go well with those pieces. It contains both 'urgent' needs and the items I'd just love to have one day. While on sales, I often refer to this list and check if this dress I'm trying on and seem to need so much at the moment, was also considered as an essential before. It really helps me not to get carried away, so what I buy is more likely to suit my wardrobe and my needs.
What to think about:
- maybe you're invited to a wedding this summer, and still don't have a dress?
- Or you decided some time ago that you should stock up on some pretty lingerie?
- Or you could really do with a new bag, as your old one shows visible signs of use?
- How about those embellished sandals that you've seen in InStyle and thought with go so well with your summer shorts and dresses?
- Statement pieces that stole your heart
If you feel like buying something really extravagant, when it's best time for it if not during sales? Even if the item is, let's say, not the most practical thing on earth, you should buy it if you really love it. After all, who said we should only buy pieces that seem reasonable? That way we would all just wear white shirts with black pencil skirts and, as a result, all look the same. You should go for pieces that suit your style and your soul, that you know you will like even if trends change.
Examples of pieces to look for:
- ridiculously high-heeled sandals embellished with feathers
- the biggest and most colorful necklace you've ever seen
- full skirt in flowery print
- shearling coat
- striped shirt
- full-length dress that looks like it was taken out of a Disney movie
- Things that are simply fun
The list of things that are worth buying during sales has already come to an end. However, there are items that you want to buy because you feel like, and I totally get that. Not allowing yourself to buy something from time to time just because it seems fun is like constantly being on a diet – it takes the whole fun out of life. Still, if you are going to waste your money, at least do it during sales (so you will waste less).
Pieces to consider:
- that pineapple bikini (seriously?)
- t-shirt that says 'eat me'
- that piece of polyester that will make you sweat even more on a hot day
- rubber-gum sandals
- that crappy lingerie you know your boyfriend secretly fantazises about (it won't last long anyway)
I hope you find this advice useful and not ruin your budget even more this summer.
What do you tend to buy during sales? Share your experiences!