The sale season is upon us and it tends to turn the most sensible women into crazed banshees hunting for a bargain! Stores are crowded, there are long queues for the fitting rooms and till and shops descend into chaos.
It’s incredibly tempting to buy reduced items but how can you be sure you are buying something of value? Having previously worked more sales than I care to remember I’m well qualified to advise!
Firstly try not to buy seasonal summer or winter clothing in the first few months of a season. It will inevitably be reduced in sale. The big summer and winter sales serve a purpose, to help the retailers clear seasonal stock. This is especially important with summer clothing, after all in Ireland you only need a limited amount of bikinis/shorts/sun hats! It’s very satisfying to get your summer clothing at bargain prices mid-season. It’s a matter of patience and playing the waiting game.
Consider stock at full price before sales. Look out for any limited edition collections or outrageous colours or styles. These are often reduced in sale if they are not selling enough units at full price. Conversely items that are selling extremely well or basics are unlikely to be reduced.
Try and go to the shops early in the first few days of sales. After a few days of sale, the best items are gone and anything left will have been manhandled! If you have difficulty dealing with crowds, mobility issues or have young children, mornings are a good time to scope out the sales without being trampled. Weekends and evenings are peak times so beware!
Look out for signs of damage or wear on items before you buy. Sometimes you can get an extra discount if something is damaged but think carefully. You will more than likely not be able to return this if you knowingly buy a damaged product. So if it’s something you can fix like a missing button then go ahead. Any major defects do not purchase. Hold onto receipts in case you change your mind.
Be sure you know the return policy before buying a sale item. Many stores offer both refund and exchange on sale but some will only offer exchange. If you aren’t sure ask.
When trying on items, take your time. Ask yourself if you can wear this garment with at least three other things in your wardrobe at home. If the answer is no, then you know what to do. Put it back!
During sales your size may not be available, trying on another size may seem like a good idea rather than missing out. But if something doesn’t fit correctly it will never ever look good and it’s a waste of money. It will sit in your wardrobe taunting you forever! Your feet will not grow or shrink and likewise your body shape is unlikely to alter extremely!
When trying on a jacket, always button it up if it has buttons and check it doesn’t gape or sag. When trying a dress or skirt, walk around, sit or squat down. This will give you an idea of how much movement the garment allows and whether you feel comfortable with the length sitting down. View yourself from different angles or ask a friend’s opinion.
When trying shoes be careful as sizes may have been mismatched during sale. Be sure to get the correct size and try to walk around in them even if the store is packed.
Think about your personal style and don’t buy something that you know isn’t “you”. Buy items you would happily buy at full price. If you are buying for a special occasion, sales are a great opportunity. It’s easy to pick up a formal outfit for less rather than blowing a lot of money for one day.
High heels, smart dresses, work wear and handbags are items to look out for. Keep your eyes peeled for leather jackets, bags and shoes. Leather is very durable and will last a long time. One of my best sale bargains was finding leather brogues reduced from €70 to only €18.
Check the labels inside for washing and ironing instructions. You may see a lovely cheap dress but if it is dry clean or hand wash only, ask yourself if you are prepared for the cost/effort of maintenance.
Remember most stores will be displaying full price items after a few days or in one part of the store. So be aware of this area if you came to specifically shop for bargains!
It may be hard to locate a member of staff during sales but remain courteous and they will help you with your needs. Also most stores tend to hire new or temporary staff at Christmas so if a staff member appears clueless they may be new. There is usually a manager on hand to help with any problems/queries.
Post Christmas is a great time to buy a new coat at discount so try and hang on to your old reliable till then.
Now here are my picks of what’s on sale at the moment and the best stores to pick up a bargain.
Zara are fantastic for sale accessories such as this vintage-style belt now €16.99. This would be fantastic with jeans and a check shirt for a vintage vibe.
I also adore this clutch bag that I’ve had my eye on for a while! In black and white and now €9.99!
If you are looking for cute phone/tablet cases , Zara have these by the bucket load!
For jumpers try Forever 21, I love this cable knit now €15.99.
Stradivarius always have amazing handbags in sale, in particular this rucksack. Cool, practical and now €15.99!
Their footwear sale is usually worth checking out too, these metallic ankle boots are amazing. (€49.99)
Topshop is a good place to sales shop, especially to get unusual pieces at reduced prices. Larger Topshop stores usually have concession rails and this is a great place to a get a dress/playsuit on sale. Their denim range is also worth a browse.
I’m living vicariously through this post as I have to pay for all the boring things (rent, car tax…yawn) So I look forward to hearing about everyone else’s sale purchases. Leave me a comment and tell me about your bargains! Thanks for visiting my blog as always.