It’s that time of the year. Some of us love the sales, some of us choose to stay away. I love sale shopping; to the point I rarely buy many clothes, shoes or accessories at full price. A few years ago I’d be scheduling the sale dates for my favourite department stores in London. I’d always hit the sales a few weeks in to avoid the mad first day rushes and make the most of extra discounts as time went on. I’d love going on my little retail adventures on the look out for pretty items for my wardrobe. Sometimes I didn’t know what I’d be looking for. I knew I’d always came back with some gems, many of which are still in my wardrobe and worn lots rather than just hanging around.
Time has flown by and instead of hunting down that random end of sale rail in Selfridges and wondering what I’ll find, I’m more likely to go on an imaginary shopping trip with Big Munch and her mini Selfridges cardboard bag in her playroom. Long gone are the days I’ll be on the look out for that sparkly jacket for that special occasion (that hasn’t been planned yet!). Shopping life is different now. I’m a mummy and back at work part-time, budgets are different and yes I won’t be planning whole days out on my own to explore the sales tables. Nowadays, if I need (would like or think I want!) something new to wear, it’s really got to be worth it. I’ve got to think carefully and I’ve got it really love it. It just can’t last one season or one holiday. It has to match or at least happily clash with a lot of clothes I already have. It needs to feel part of the gang in the wardrobe. So that’s how I define “wearability value”.
When I’m talking about adding value to your wardrobe through the sales, I’m not talking about the cost of something. I believe investment buys aren’t always about spending a lot of money. Don’t get me wrong as there are a few typical investment buys in my wardrobe like my biker jacket, my denim jacket and a few black leather bags. Pre-mummy days I’d justify buying a few nice timeless things as I had a feeling I wouldn’t be on the look out for them if I had kids. With sale shopping and adding wearability value to your wardrobe it’s about finding something you’ll love and wear over and over again at a price that is right for you and your (life)style.
So if you love the sales as much as I do and like treating yourself every so often, here’s 7 things that can help you to buy items that you’ll enjoy lots and lots. Bring on the wearability value…
1. Work out what you really need for your wardrobe. Do a mini wardrobe audit. This doesn’t have to take long. It’s not often we get to stand back and actually look at what clothes we have. It’s rare that we have Carrie style walk-in wardrobes where every item is on show. Wardrobes can also get messy as we might be pulling out clothes in a rush or think “oh I’ll fold that another time!” Even 15 minutes can help you to cleanse your wardrobe. (I’m sure I’ll be popping up a post on wardrobe cleansing another time…). If you have an hour to spare then it’s worth having a good tidy up, laying out clothes on the bed and pulling out your favourite outfits so they’re more visible in your wardrobe. I often do this when the girls have gone to bed. Once you’ve done a mini-audit you can figure out what’s missing from your wardrobe. It’s also a chance to declutter your style and send stuff that no longer fits or doesn’t get worn much off to the charity shop.
2. Work out what you love wearing and what you end up wearing. It’s about wearing clothes you love and feel happy in. For me it’s often about bright colours as well as monochrome combinations. Not forgetting something gold or sparkly. Do you tend to be in jeans, trousers, skirts or dresses most of the week? So this then comes onto the question of what do you REALLY NEED to add to your wardrobe if you’re heading to the sales. If you’re always in trousers do you need another pair so the others don’t wear out? If you’re always in jeans and already have enough pairs already do you really need another denim addition for the wardrobe?
3. A good match. If you buy something in the sale make sure it compliments what you already have and love wearing from week to week. It doesn’t mean you can’t buy something different to what you normally wear but it should be something you will actually wear! So this is why scanning your wardrobe before you hit the sales (in-store or online) helps a bit. It could be handy to do sale shopping online near your wardrobe so you can hold up your phone to see if that top will go with lots of things. I often send a couple of my friends a link to see what they think of a potential purchase, especially if I can’t choose between two things.
4. One thing. Do the one thing test. If you could only buy one thing in the sales, what would it be? Would you rather pool all of your budget and use it for one really nice thing instead of buying a few cheaper things? If you’ve chosen one thing, go back to top tip number 4 and think about what it would go well with in your wardrobe.
5. Research your favourite things in advance of the sale. Which stores do you tend to buy your clothes, bags and accessories from? I always keep an eye on the M&S Limited Collection and Autograph ranges to see what I like during the seasons. My silver skirt from Marks and Spencer is one of my favourite sale finds ever. Wearing something metallic always makes me feel a bit glam as well as confident.
I usually earmark some accessories on the &Other Stories website. I love my necklace collection, all found in the &Other Stories sale at 70% off the original price. I rarely buy things at their full price as these retailers tend to have sales every few months. So it’s about waiting patiently for those sale email alerts or red posters in the shop windows. Yes you run the risk of not picking up your favourite item in the sale or maybe they will sell out but that’s ok. You’ll get over it. Sales come and go and there will always be things to add to your wishlist. If you’ve spotted a few things way before the sales, maybe ask for vouchers for your birthday or Christmas so you can pick up that item you’ve been eyeing up for a little while.
6. Buy an outfit in the sale. Ok so it’s not always about one thing but a sales shopping trip could grow into finding two things! If you have the budget and find that you pick up things in the sale that don’t go with anything, maybe buy an outfit in the sale. Then there’s less risk of buying something random where you realise it doesn’t quite fit in with your own style when you get home. Maybe time to slow down if you also end up buying a handbag, pair of shoes, earrings, scarf, some make up to go with that initial outfit.
7. Think timeless (for your own style). Some people love buying cheaper clothes so they can turn around their wardrobes every season. Some people love buying items that can stick around for longer through weekly washes and can work with lots of different outfits and seasons. My wardrobe has now become more about longer-term items. As I’m getting older I know what I like to wear and wear what I like. Think about your own definition of timeless. Is it a new decent wool coat that you’ll wear every year? A new handbag that you can pull out each Summer and maybe in Autumn too? For me, timeless doesn’t need to mean a plain top that goes with everything. It’s got to be “me” and something I know I’ll wear year in year out. A lot of my clothes have been in my wardrobe for a very long time. Some of my favourite timeless items found in the sale are my Chanelesque looking pink blazer from the Jigsaw sale (via John Lewis) and my DKNY cross body bag from Harvey Nichols in Birmingham (you may have spotted it on my time to head back to work post). Not forgetting my pink kitten heels from LK Bennett which are perfect for work, weddings, afternoon teas or general pretty play. Yep pink obviously fits into my own definition of timeless.
So if you’re going on any retail adventures enjoy exploring the sales. Happy bargain hunting finding things that make your wardrobe you. X
If you have any other top tips for sale shopping, go on, sharing is caring so leave a comment below.