Do you love shopping the sales, but find too many of those so-called bargains end up gathering dust in the back of your closet. Want to be a more savvy sale shopper? Here’s how: to take advantage of end-of-season bargains – without being taken advantage of yourself – you’ll want to SWAP. No, I don’t mean exchange the things you bought earlier … I mean Shop With A Plan. Get it? S. W. A. P.
Female DNA seems to resonate with red markdown ink and render us temporarily insane. So before you head out into “Extra 30% off Already Reduced Prices” and “Doorbuster Specials Before Noon”, review these strategies for sale shopping success.
#1 – Inventory your closet ( drawers, laundry basket). Do favorite items need to be replaced or supplemented? If you wear your navy pants all the time, for example, a navy skirt could make additional outfits with all the same tops. And consider stock-piling a bargain back-up pair of navy pants (or other key basics) for when the current ones wear out.
#2 – List NEEDS in writing, organized in 3 categories:
A – Basics that need replacing – especially bottoms in your Key Neutrals.
B – Missing mixers – identify these by specific description or by end use. (“red turtleneck” OR “top for gray tweed suit”). Can one item fill several wardrobe gaps?
C – Awkward occasions – times you’ve said “I have nothing to wear”: a work presentation … an evening at the symphony…
#3 – Shop UP a notch. This is the time to move up the quality ladder without busting the budget. If you usually shop at discount stores, try Macy’s. If department stores are your usual, check out Saks or Neimans. A higher price-point can be a big leap of faith, so don’t miss this chance to get used to better quality at bargain prices.
#4 – Be retail savvy. Shop at off-peak hours; avoid weekends if possible. Department stores often activate new markdowns in the computer system on Friday afternoon before the office staff goes home, so your can find them in the stores ahead of the Saturday rush. Check mail/email/online for extra-discount coupons . Take along items you need to match – it’s easier than returning things later.
#5 –Scan those massive clearance racks for color first. Don’t even glance at an item that’s not one of your best colors. And if you’re not absolutely certain about what colors you should be wearing, put a professional color consultation at the top of your shopping list. NOTHING goes further toward building a truly great wardrobe – I guarantee it.
#6 –Be size-savvy. Dropping a few vacation pounds may give you wiggle room but it’s not likely to take you down a whole size. A “bargain” you can’t fit into is just wasted dollars (don’t ask how I know this) and squeezing into it will make you look and feel fat. Just say NO.
#7 – Do an at-home fashion show with your bargains to confirm that new additions work with things you already own. Double-check for any needed alterations. Correcting sleeve or hem length or changing boring buttons can make the difference between passable and panache. And keep tags and receipts so you can retract any irrational purchase decisions.
REMEMBER: Clearance selections are hit-and-miss; better to go home empty-handed than buy things you don’t need just for the rush of a bargain.