I remember when I was growing up, venturing up to Oxford Street most years on 27th December and waiting for the stores to open, it was part of Christmas week traditions for our family. A chance for us to get out of the house after a few days all being sat round together, to look for bargains. The initial 2 hours of sale shopping was usually followed by a cake and hot chocolate around 11am (as if we hadn’t already eaten enough… !). I am sure some of you can identify with that habit and excitement whilst others recoil in horror at the thought. It really is a ‘Marmite’ situation!
Nowadays of course, the sales begin long before Christmas. When I ventured to the shops at the weekend to get the last few gifts, there were many temptations for myself! Whether we like the ritual of conscious sale shopping or not, most of us like a bargain and most of us have bought things we later regret, whether it be that discounted coffee maker (my parents!) or the heavily discounted designer jacket.
Certainly when it comes to clothing, it’s easy to be coerced into buying something because it is ‘cheap’. However, it is very expensive if you then never wear it! You are not alone if you have items in your wardrobe with the labels still on, many of my clients do. So here are my top tips for making sure you make wise purchases in the sales if you are going rather than ending up with items that in reality you will never ever wear.
They might not be rocket science points but most people won’t have considered them before coming back laden with bags!
- Look in your wardrobe before you head out, we all forget what we have lurking in there. It’s disappointing to come back with something that is a carbon copy of something you have already. Yes black trousers are versatile but do you really need 5 pairs?
- Identify items in your current wardrobe that you don’t wear and would like to. If it’s because they don’t go with anything, think carefully about what they would go with so you can look for those clothing items, accessories and shoes.
- Make a list of 3 things you want to look for and decide in your mind how many more you’re prepared to buy so you have something to aim for.
- Set a budget, how much are you prepared to spend?
- Visit shops that are a higher price bracket than you would usually go to. Often the discounts are heavier and you’ll get a higher quality item. Remember the cost per wear equation. If it’s a staple such as a nice jacket that you’ll wear to work several times a week, it’s worth spending a bit more on it so it remains looking good.
- Don’t be swayed by sales assistants or even others in the changing room. They can’t always be trusted. If you know you suit charcoal grey much better than black then stick to that.
- Unless you are really sure, buy from shops where you can return items, especially if you want to check out how they combine with existing items in your wardrobe.
- If it’s an item in an accent colour i.e. a colour other than black, brown, grey, navy or white then think about what else it will go with in your wardrobe. Avoid buying a load of tops or shirts that only go with black trousers or jeans. If you are doing that and are female, make sure you have some accessories/shoes to match it so your outfit looks well thought through.
- Ask yourself if you really like each item you are considering buying. Would you consider it if it was full price?
If you are female, wear clothing that is easy to remove to try things on, tights are usually a good option as you can put trousers over them and skirts over them to check dresses and skirts work.