As someone who’s been trawling the sales for longer than I’d care to admit, here are a few things I’ve learned over the years:
Always go early… or late
In other words, venture out on day one, when you’ll have the most choice, or wait until the last day (this is usually the last Saturday in January, but in this climate they stretch into February… and March). Either way, you’ll often find an extra 20% off those final-discount racks. Event sales are worth visiting as early as possible – that’s if you can stomach the crowds.
Head upstairs at the first opportunity
At department-store sales, the ground floor is a bunfight, packed with sharp-elbowed shoppers hoping for a bargain on perfume and accessories. But head upstairs and you’ll usually find Level 2 an altogether calmer experience.
Ask yourself, would I buy this full price?
We all have the party dress designed for a life we don’t lead; the shoes that don’t quite fit; the tops we’ll wear… when? Never buy something just because it’s cheap.
Do buy clothes off-season. For the best deals, buy your swimwear in January and winter coats in May.
Don’t be intimidated by the places you normally can’t afford
Because they usually have the biggest discounts. Sloane Street, Bond Street, Westbourne Grove… All those snooty boutiques will now be welcoming the likes of you! And don’t be afraid to cut to the chase and ask the assistant, ‘Where’s the sale stuff?’ You’re not fooling her, anyway. She knows your kind.
Scour independent boutiques at the end of the sales
Smaller shops need to get rid of all their stock at the end of the season, which means – that’s right! – bigger discounts.
Wear good shopping clothes
You’ll be spending much of the day in a changing room, so make it easy for yourself. That means no fiddly laces on boots, as few layers as possible and versatile underwear that won’t show under sheer clothes.
If you can’t face the crowds, trawl online boutiques such as Net-a-Porter, MyWardrobe, Matches and Start, all of which will be offering their previously unaffordable clothing at much more reasonable prices. Don’t forget US stores either, many of which now ship worldwide.
Keep gifts in mind
That leather-bound notebook might not do for you, but what about as a birthday present? If you see something gorgeous at a great price, buy it. There’ll be someone you know who wants it. This is how you become the sort of ultra-organised person who keeps a gift drawer.
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These days every shop has them, and that way you’ll find out about secret sales, special offers, etc.
Are you a seasoned sales pro? Will you be braving the sales this year.