For most, navigating sales can be a a confusing shopping experience. But it's also a wonderful time because SALES. But getting the absolute best deals when sale shopping? It's hard to know what's what during certain seasons because often seasons mean tons of temporary buys. From sandals that barely last until August to winter sweaters that have holes in them by November — nothing really seems to last long enough these days.
Stepping into a sale without a game plan can be disastrous, especially if you are a notorious impulse shopper. Do you really want to start investing in winter pieces when it's only August? Are you really ready to dive into sweater shopping, or even more extreme, the dreaded winter coat search? Or should you stock up on bikinis for next summer, because hello, amazing discounts? If you walk in blindly — not knowing what your wardrobe is currently lacking and what is just an of-the-moment product lust — it's difficult to know where your fashion priorities should lie.
Try to take a mental inventory of your closet. If you only had the option to buy five pieces, what would they be? Keep that in mind as you scan the shelves, and use these shopping tips to make sure you get the most out of any sale!
1. Plan Your Shopping Route
Extreme shoppers know how important efficiency is to a day of sales shopping. Timing is everything, especially if there is an Isabel Marant sample sale opening at 10 a.m. with a line around the block by 9. Check sales sites (mine is without a doubt Racked NY's 'Sample Sale' section) and make a list of all the shops you might want to visit on a specific day. Then factor in their distance away from one another, anticipated popularity (major designers having discount sales on weekends obviously draw massive crowds), and opening hours. Make a list of stores according to which you most want to hit, but try and consider travel time between shops.
2. Abandon Product-Specific Searching
Setting your focus on a specific piece can distract you from what the sale actually has to offer. Embrace it for what it is and check out the pieces at hand, while still thinking practically. If a pair of wide-leg trousers might actually be the more economical choice over flair jeans because they are both work appropriate and stylish, invest in those instead! Plus, going into a sale with high expectations is usually a serious letdown considering often times sale pieces are the equivalent of fashion leftover pizza. Still nice, but really not the same.
3. Do, However, Have A Financial Game Plan
Nobody knows better than I that walking into a sample sale is dangerous territory. If you're a student or simply watching your finances, stop at the ATM beforehand and only take out what you're OK with spending. That way, you can avoid the temptation of over-splurging, which tends to happen when you swipe your card and don't have to physically hand any money over.
4. Dress The Part
To limit your time spent in changing rooms, wear clothes that make trying things on way easier. Dresses and playsuits are clearly the winner when it comes to undressing in a flash — but don't forget to also wear nude undergarments so you can have a more authentic experience of what the backless dress might look like without a cheetah print bra impairing your vision.
5. Shop For Pieces That Are Season Neutral
If you aren't sure about which wardrobe needs more attention, summer, spring, winter or fall (because after all, they are very different — despite what your fashion-illiterate boyfriend might think) , look for things that can generally be worn across seasons like denim, evening wear, and athletic gear. That way, you'll feel treated to wearing your new clothes right away, while knowing they'll get some wear a few months from now!
6. If You're Going To Splurge, Make It Count
The only seasonal items it really makes sense to really spend on are winter jackets and boots, since you will literally wear them daily. Other than that, if you must make an impulse buy, purses and shoes are always a great way to go. You'll get so much more use out of them than a single dress. Plus, they tend to last much longer than disposable fashion pieces, like trending dresses and accessories.
7. Bring A Friend Along For Moral Support
Nothing keeps you on target better than a shopping partner-in-crime. Having another person around means a second opinion on that two-piece suit or pair of shoes. Plus, you're less likely to waste all of your time in one shop because you'll be conscious of your friend wanting to move on!
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