It can be the dream moment of the year: coolness at 70% discount, is there anything better? But it can also be a nightmare: hundreds of euros trashed in pieces that looked “exactly what we needed” on the sales racks but become disaster once at home, because they were bought in the rush of adrenaline of the discount. And don’t even get me started with the “I wasn’t convinced, but it was on sale!” line… Here a few tips for a conscious and satisfying sales shopping (that I learned in years of money spent with no logic in stuff I never wore again…) and a hint on the trends to shop NOW and wear for months ;-)
MY TOP 6 SALES GENERAL RULES
a.k.a. the only moment of the year in which I use rationality instead of the PIN code of my credit card – Here I tell you how
First rule seems stupid but, as always happens, obvious things are the first to be overlooked: consider the climate of the area you live in.
You want to wear those lovely things you scored at 50% or 70 % discount, not make them sit in the closet waiting for next year still in their bags with price tags attached: what’s the use of buying 300 euros of wool jumpers and scarves in March if you’re living in Italy and in two weeks it’ll be time to wear light blazers, crispy shirts and ballet flats?
Consider carefully the balance between your desires and the sales craze and the actual use you can make of those new things RIGHT NOW. Don’t think “Oh I’ll wear them next year” “I’ll wear this top in June” because by then you’ll be already tired of it.
This is the moment to buy that amazing piece you’ve been loving since September but you weren’t able to buy at full price: if you’ve been thinking about it for four months then there are good chances you’ll still love it next year too. I always go for important pieces like coats and/or good shoes (usually boots) or often something that I wouldn’t dare to buy at full price because of its bold shape or color.
Sometimes it can be also a piece of jewellery or a bag, the important is that when you finally get it you simply can’t stop to look at it night and day because you just love it too much. But don’t overdo: the long loved-item to finally get on sales is one, two maximum, especially because often these are statement or one of a kind pieces or accessories and it’s important to keep some of the budget to make bargains with the basics too. For me this season the magic, beloved piece was a military green parka from Benetton (even though I already have a parka :p). I eyed it in August, went back to check on it periodically until Christmas and made it mine as soon as it went on 30% discount: It’s real love.
Rationalize BEFORE you hit the stores: take an hour or two to visit blogs and websites, have a look at fashion magazines and make a mental list.
This usually makes you realize the trends you really like and the things you actually need, because your brain is thinking without the blindfold of the shopping adrenaline and the discount rush. You’ll still buy on impulse some really cheap T-shirt or accessory on the verve of the moment, that’s for sure, but what matters is that the key pieces will be bought with a logic and there will be good chances that you’ll wear them for a loooong time.
It’s the time to invest in basic, timeless pieces.
The top quality black simple coat, the good white shirt, the second skin jeans, the perfect cut blazer that we don’t know how but never goes out of fashion. This is the moment to buy them because you pay a fraction of their price and therefore you can choose higher quality items: high quality is the most important thing when you buy a basic piece because you want it to be the jolly in your wardrobe for many many years to come.
Focus on the trends that will stay, forget the trends that just ones month ago seemed huge but are already fading: even if you’re not a fashion victim some old trends can make you really feel out of place the year or season after (result: waste of money).
I mean, it’s totally OK if you’re wearing the “wrong” colour (I do it all the time myself :-p) but can you imagine how it would feel to go to a party in Miu Miu glitter booties in, let’s say, Winter 2013? Ewww (if you paid 600 euros for them I bet you want to wear them at least for two years in a row… right?)
I know this is difficult because you really need to take time to have a look at magazines and the like in order to have a little forecasting mindset. But since I have a talent for wasting my time on fashion magazines and frivolous stuff (LOL) and I already made a list of to buy/not to buy trends in my head, I’ll make you spare your time and I’ll share it with you ;-)
It might sound rough, but it’s true: better alone than in a bad company.
You can have the fashion sense of Taylor Tomasi but it’s proven: there’s no easier way to make fashion mistakes than shopping with the wrong company.
I usually go on my own, since I’m strict and I kinda know what I want but I’m still “soft” and very prone to listen to other judgments, being them good or not. I also love with my mom, when I can: the most honest and tasteful person I know.
And if you really wanna go shopping with your best friend that you adore but that deviates you from the good path of the fashion that is best for you (being it because she has totally different tastes, or because she’s scared to be honest in telling you what suits you and what doesn’t) do like this: find a couple of hours to shop on your own and buy all the “important” pieces and finish your budget almost completely. Then go with her for a shopping afternoon in good company: your budget is almost over, so you can’t make too much damage, but you can still enjoy some quality time with your beloved friend ;-)
THE TRENDS TO BUY NOW and wear for at least one year (if not forever)
The military green parka has been a huge trend since 2009, but this year it really exploded popping everywhere on the runways and street style pics. No wonder why: it’s modern, edgy, you can wear it with everything and you make it sporty, elegant, preppy or cool depending on your outfit. A true jolly. The best of the season in my opinion is from Benetton, I made it mine with joy a couple of weeks ago and you can find it in sale in Benetton stores worldwide.
They’re simply EVERYWHERE but Zara (where I bought the shirt here above) and H&M (where I scored the skirt in the same print of the suit in the collage) are probably the good-to-go places in the high street for the best flower power bargains. In Spring flowers will be even more ubiquitous so buy now that the prices are nice and wear for… the next 6 months ;-)
There has been many IT shoes this winter but none was seen everywhere and in every situation like the classic brogue. From Susie Bubble’s eclectic outfit mixes to the elegant fashion editors in the streets of Paris: these classics have been seen everywhere. They’re cool and the perfect shoe to make an elegant outfit more contemporary. The best of the season? Those with little studs. I die over the Church’s ones but also Topshop had a great pair that of course was sold out before I could say “I want them!”. Now I’m eyeing the Marc by Marc Jacobs but for lower budgets I’d totally choose the ASOS patent leather brogue: I find that color quite not obvious but at the same time very wearable.
THE BIG FALL-WINTER TRENDS TO FORGET
Python and snakeskin
It was everywhere but it’s already forgotten. I know you’ve been coveting those Lanvin boots for a season and now that they’re 70% off… Leave them there
Ever since the late 90s fashion has been elaborating the decades of the 20th century in a cyclic way. This winter it was all about the ’70s. Forget them: Spring 2012 runways say that we have already moved back to the mid-century looks à la Grease. Just wait and see.
Earthy tones in soft shapes
Pre-fall runways are anticipating what we’ll wear next winter, and there’s a huge come back for grey and colder hues: that brick reddish brown and the mustard colors we loved this winter passed and went. Keep full red, green and yellow. Invest in pastels. If you want to buy brown, go for structured shapes. Discard everything that reminds those 70s furniture colors that were so huge on Winter 2011-12 runways (and at Zara…). At least until the next cycle in which 70s will be back again ;-)
And to finish: What I bought, will buy and would buy.
What I bought
- The beloved parka at Benetton
- A pair of flat leather black boots in Florence (in the pic the perfect ones from Jill Sander, unluckily the calf is narrower than it seems and was too tight for me)
- Floral prints: Skirt at H&M (from the Trend line), shirt at Zara and dress at Benetton
What I will buy
- A nice pair of gloves at COS, probably
- The Karen Walker number one sunglasses
- A pair of brogues
What would I buy
- A nice statement necklace like the ones of Shourouk
- A silk sheer shirt (love Equipment ones)
So that’s all from me, but now it’s your turn: do you have some more tips for choosing the right items on sale that I might like? What did you buy for sales and what would you still like to buy?