Shopping the Sales sensibly

Monday, 17 June 2013
1.  J.Crew parka £95   2. Church's slippers £135   3. J.Crew cashmere sweater £132.50  4. K.Jacques St Tropez sandals £131.50   5. See by Chloe sandals £85   6. J.Crew top  £23

I physically cringe when I think about the piles of stuff that I'd bought during the sales over the years. I was hypnotized by the signboards - 70% off! 85% off! Second markdown! That lemon Chloe top that I'd purchased in a moment of madness? Sure it was 90% off but $100 is a $100 especially when I've only ever worn it once and looked like a fruit. I can't even give it away because no sane person I know has ever gracefully accepted my generous offer. Or the heels I'd purchased just because they looked great when I wore it in front of the mirror. It didn't matter that I was holding on to the wall as I made my way back to the chair.

And now let's look at the other extreme. By the time the sales have arrived, I would've been so saturated with the constant stream of images that passed my screen that I couldn't be bothered braving the crowds nor trawling through the websites. Of course all the best items have sold out when I truly needed that parka or top and then I'd have to search again and pay full price. I'd like to think I'm now a seasoned shopping warrior (doesn't that sound a little more urbane?). Okay, still capable of making a few mistakes here and there but thankfully, nothing earth shattering. So let's indulge in a few frivolous insights into the world of sales shopping.

1. IT items on sale. Do NOT go there.
I'm not going to lie. I looooooove sweatshirts (and trackpants but that's another story). Say, the ubiquitous Kenzo tiger sweatshirt going for just under £200?  Most aren't on sale but heck, it's a sweatshirt with a tiger staring back at you. It's a little like the Fendi baguette. It was essentially a small handbag ranging from normal leather to insanely embellished going for eye watering prices that no one would be caught dead using these days.


2. I can't believe it's so cheeeeaaaaaappp!
There are 2 scenarios. You've been eyeing that holy grail for what seemed like a million years and then wham! It's on sale for like, 70% off. You grasp that prize and clasp that to your chest to protect it from marauding bargain hunters. Or, you systematically go through the racks with the highest discount to find a treasure. You rationalize that it's so cheap. I mean, it was £700 and now it's £150. Of course, you've got to buy it. I mean, it's Isabel Marant, for goodness sakes! It doesn't't matter that you can barely pull the leather pants pass your thighs, you'll stretch them and make them work (by holding your breath and sucking your tummy in till you nearly pass out AND eat salad for a whole month and  pass out from starvation. Either way works).


3. Does it suit your lifestyle or climate?
Both Lauraloo (who's from California) and I grabbed the same Rag & Bone knitted sweater. It was beyond glorious. She looked divine in it. I was tempted not to bother trying it on but common sense prevailed. I would've freeze in a nanosecond if I attempt to wear it out on a normal cold day in the UK. I ended up with a thicker Isabel Marant sweater which will not only keep me warm but will go with most of my existing wardrobe.

After discovering that most of my outfit photos consisted of my Zara boyfriend jeans (hands up WHO hasn't seen me in those ripped boyfriend jeans?!!), James Jeans and track pants, I figured it was time to add another pair of pants to my sadly lacking collection. By understanding what I really needed, I was in and out of the department store within the hour. I bought what I needed and left.


4. Do this if you're a master shopping warrior
A few weeks before the sales.........Scout the stores. Try on the clothes.  Pop the desired items on your wish list. And pounce the minute the sale is on.

Just so you know, the Net-A-Porter International sale is ON. Shop sensibly and try not to click away when you're drunk.

18 comments:

  1. This is great advice M! I've got so much better at shopping sales over the years. I definitely hit up the stores before to turn things on, have a feel of the items and then add them to a list that I can ponder over and then cull before the sales hit :) Happy shopping! xoxox

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  2. I definitely do number 4. I browse regularly in stores and online prior to sale. If I truly like it, I will try it on in the store and if it flatters me, I'll put the item into my online cart. Come sale time, it the price is "right," prowess of my finger clicking to checkout is all that needs to be done. ;) If it isn't I'll wait for further markdowns!

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  3. Spot on, like always Marlene ! I have been eyeing a Maje dress which I was sure to get if it would be on sale. As miracles do happen this dress is on sale (50% off I must say) and available a click away... You know what ? I didn't buy it, I still have it on my shopping cart but I realized that this dress is not really my style, plus I'm sure that the fit is not for my body type... Weird, right ? Why did I have to wait to see it 50% off to realize that it wasn't for me ? It's like I wait for the sales the entire season but when they are really here nothing really appeals to me anymore. As you were saying, the pieces that I do love don't reach the sales, ever. I then prefer to buy sale but getting only what I truly love and will wear, a lot. xx

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    1. I know what you mean, Marta. There were a few items in my cart since forever. I had to think really hard because my lifestyle doesn't justify certain purchases. I still have dresses which I'd bought a few years ago that have never ever been worn.

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  4. Hi Marlene
    Nice parka, did you buy it? I like that it is cotton twill. It looks a bit 'gathered' though.

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    1. Hi Catherine, I have a parka already but I've bought a couple of items. Nothing for the summer seeing the lovely weather we're having at the moment. Argh.

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  5. I hate sales - I just avoid them. I make so many mistakes when faced with a markdown!

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  6. I have a wish list full of things, so far all I've bought is the current elliott stadium sweater. I'll wait until the next cut before buying anything else, and if they're gone in the meantime then so be it.

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  7. Gorgeous selection of clothes! Wearing a J Crew sparkly top over on my style blog!

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  8. You are so right about buying clothes that really work!!!!! (Now I want a pair of comfy jeans like yours)

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  9. You are so funny!! =) Funny coz all those things you wrote were true!! =)

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  10. OOH love this! You are a riot girl! I love how you have a definite and very chic style: strappy sandals, stripes and khaki jacket and casual jeans etc. I pretend to be a samurai shopper but am really a blamange - so easily influenced and sold to. I just had a fashion therapist over today for an article I'm writing and i was embarrassed for her to see my totally random wardrobe!

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  11. Marlene I just love this post, it made me laugh a few times. The sentiment is so true. I've been caught by that "it" item thing before, or bought things from a label just because it's on sale and at a more reasonable price. Now, if I wouldn't consider buying it full price (or love well before sale time but find the price at that time a little out of my reach) then I don't see the point of buying on sale. Same thing goes for eBay.

    Ah and i have to say that you are literally too sweet about my outfits. I honestly feel like most days I look so drab, although those are probably the days you don't see! I had no idea your wedding dress was from Karen Walker, that is so cool! I had thought my 21st dress would be from there but I ended up going vintage instead. I'd love to see a pic... ;)

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  12. I agree with you; the sale sign can be really enticing, and you can very easily end up with an item you'd never consider needing (and which will most likely stay unworn inside the closet). It's not always the case that designer name + 60% off = profit, but if you have scouted the stores before and know what you want (and are willing to buy only that and not a substitute just because it seemed like a bargain), you can actually make great additions to your wardrobe. I'm lucky in that at the moment not even a second markdown would lower the items I covet enough for me to justify a purchase (and besides, they'll be sold out by that time ^^;;;). Dear sales why must you confuse us so and weaken our ressolve... :D

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  13. i've been there before, haha.. i used to be pretty reckless and have fallen victim to some of your points here. unfortunately these days 'reckless' means throwing extra money into the mortgage, but i still scour the sales in hopes of finding a stray pair of wang boots for cheap.. happy shopping marlene!

    steph / absolutely-fuzzy.com

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  14. Great post Marlene! Yes, these sales can definitely make one throw all reason out the door but I typically try to only buy items that I'd also by even if they weren't on sale. Of course, that's sometimes easier said than done, but I'm no longer lured by a good deal - it has to be something that I know is worth it in the long run regardless of the price.

    xTheresa

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  15. I should have read this before my fingers clicked happily away at online sales. Sigh...

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