How to shop the sales

Nikki ParkinsonFashion, How to 29 Comments

Most of Australia is heading into a long weekend this weekend. Sorry Western Australia – don’t worry Queensland won’t have this holiday at this time next year either.

This move does not please me as the Queen’s Birthday long weekend has typically coincided with my birthday weekend – something that very much has pleased me up until this point.

But it seems public holidays are political and a new government means a little switcheroo action on our long weekends.

What won’t change in future years is the fact that this weekend is the weekend that signifies the start of the winter sales.

Didn’t winter – the actual season – just start this week, you ask?

Glad you did. Yes, officially winter did start this week but in fashion land it’s the end of the winter season. In a few weeks, the same stores wanting us to now buy knits and coats will try and convince us that it’s time to buy a swimsuit.

Let’s not go there quite yet.

Instead, if your winter wardrobe is lacking, now is the time to stock up on key pieces while retail prices have been slashed.

But – you know me – I do have a few tips I urge you to take on board before you hit the shops or click add to cart on your phone.

How to shop the sales is all about strategy and planning. Get that right and your hard-earned dollar will go a long way.

how to shop the sales

8 tips for how to shop the sales

1. Edit your wardrobe first. I KNOW, you’re thinking when will that woman stop banging on about that? The short answer is never. EVER. Knowing exactly what is in your wardrobe is key to always having something to wear. It’s also key to knowing what you need to add to it. (Need tips on how to edit your wardrobe? Head on over to this post OR pick up a copy of my book, Unlock Your Style).

2. Make a list. I use my phone for this – either the Notes app or Wunderlist – or go old-school and use a piece of paper and pen. I don’t care how you do the list, just do it. This list helps you to not only shop for the gaps in your wardrobe, it helps you stay focussed on the task at hand and not get seduced by the types of clothes you already have – or the heavily sequinned ones (oops, maybe that’s just me?).

3. Allocate more of your shopping budget to buying winter wardrobe basics. Maybe you need a new coat? Maybe your knitwear is looking threadbare? Maybe it’s a pair of jeans that fits and flatters? Whatever those winter essentials are – spend most of them first before buying the show ponies.

4. Start your shopping day at opening time. Not only will the racks and shelves be neat and tidy, you won’t have to fight so many people for the change rooms. It will be just less stressful all round. Work it well with your list and you’ll be home or out to lunch before everyone else has even made a start.

5. Wear comfortable clothes that are easy to take on and off. You MUST try on everything you’re potentially buying. No time to try? Walk away. This outfit is the ideal type to wear in winter. For many purchases you would not need to take everything off – just the top layers.

I always opt for nude underwear as well – that way if you’re trying on a sheer garment you have a better idea of how it will look than if you’ve headed out in your black lace undies.

6. If you’re shopping the sales online, take your measurements before you start your clicking frenzy. Having your bust, waist and hip measurements on hand will help you better match up with your potential purchase. If you’re an online pro, you’ve already signed up to all your favourite stores’ email alerts. If you’re still getting the hang of this online shopping thing, these emails are key to staying in the know as to when sales or special offers are happening.

7. Stay focussed. Keep to your list. Tick off your needs first. Be conscious of what you’re buying.

8.  Do not buy a new piece of clothing JUST BECAUSE it’s on SALE. That’s right, you read correctly. Just because something is a bargain, doesn’t mean it should come home with you. Justify the purchase because it fits with your current wardrobe, your lifestyle and your wardrobe personality. If it ticks all those boxes and you save a few dollars, then that, my friends, is what we call WINNING.

Good luck. May the shopping gods be with you.

Tell me … will you be shopping the winter sales? What are you looking for? Got any tips to add?

Comments 29

  1. Great post Nikki. After my massive wardrobe edit a few weeks ago, I’ve realised I really don’t need to buy any new items for winter, Well, I did buy the Everyday Cashmere shrug, some new soft pants and long sleeved tops before winter actually started. I wear a uniform for work so that takes out my weekday clothing, Need versus want is a very different thing!

  2. Great advice! Especially the don’t buy it just cause and dress to try on! Always forget to dress to try on!

  3. Great advice! Especially the don’t buy it just cause and dress to try on! Always forget to dress to try on!

  4. Great tips thanks Nikki. I used to be guilty of seeing SALE and impulse buying (including sequins!!) but now I’m going through a less-is-more phase and sticking to a little list on my phone (ie. saving for Europe). So this season I’ve bought lace-ups, a jersey, beanie, anorak, black jeans and two long-sleeved tops….basically the basics! Your capsule wardrobe/SY Shop posts have come at just the right time for me! Happy birthday weekend to you xx

  5. Beautiful new jumper and scarf in my favourite blues from Jac and Jack that I’m wearing today were significantly reduced. I looked online but headed in store because I know their sizing varies widely across styles, the feel of knits is very important to me and the colours on line lack accuracy across the board. I decided I’d rather go in store, than risk getting the wrong size, style or weight of knit- and I think if we don’t use the stores I’m not sure they will still be around in the future?

    1. I agree Johanne but I see the actual stores doing a lot of the online thing as well. My daughter was on stockroom last week and that involved finding stock for online orders so the jobs and stores are there, they’re just operating differently.

  6. Nikki its like you read my mind here! You must’ve taught me something over the years, because I have ticked off all your points this year! Eexcept the getting up & getting there early……that part I can’t quite get my head around! But I’ve picked up some great bargains from David Lawrence ($100 off coats, get in quick esp if you’re in Vic!) and Country Rd & made most of my purchases online. My tip is to go into a store & try things on to get an idea of how they sit, every stores’ sizes seem to differ I reckon. And then go home & order away in the comfort of your own lounge room (glass of wine or hot choc in hand!) I am particularly keen on free shipping deals that come up every now and then. Your advice on buying a new pair of skinny jeans the other week was extremely useful too, I did pay full price for some great Levi’s but they are worth every cent so far & have indeed stretched quite a bit since I bought them.

  7. If only I could stick to this advice. Go shopping in sale hoping to collect a few items cheaper… lose my head as soon as I walk in the store and end up buying the newest stock items full price! Oops. Best I should stick to shopping in my own wardrobe because I’m sure what I just bought is already in there. It’s the thrill of the shop that gets me.

  8. yes a list is a must thanks nikki for the reminder! … but when I get to a sale item that I love, I seem to misplace the list or loose it all together! … I’ve always lost lists! … you wouldn’t have guessed that!;0 … my wardrobe is chokkas! … I want some long boots!
    HAVE A WONDERFUL BIRTHDAY NIKKI! … “celebrate! holiday!” madonna!
    lots of love m:)X

  9. I agree with the list making Nikki, I went out on Wednesday to get some long sleeve tops tops and maybe a new jumper and wrote a little list of what I needed and I came home with 2 new knits a long sleeved top in the colour I wanted and a scarf I’d eyed off the week before in Suzanne Grae that I loved that they had reduced with 30% off the marked down price,I was very happy with my purchases,I did find that small sizes were lacking though!
    I want to thank one of your Ig commenters that told us about the Firefly sample sale on eBay I got a gorgeous dress and it’s still going if any readers want something.
    I have a rule too if new things come in the same amount has to go out of my wardrobe.
    Have a lovely birthday weekend Nikki enjoy your last birthday long weekend Xx

  10. Nikki – your words reflect what I was puzzling over in the shops, didn’t Winter just start???!!! Clearly I am on a learning curve after finding your book 5 weeks ago – love the tips and will keep them close as I shop for solid basics – thank you!

    1. I’m glad the book is helping! Yes, Kim, it’s crazy in fashion land. Winter has only just started temperature wise, but fashion wise, they’re wrapping it up. Can work in our favour in terms of buying!

  11. Sales are a great time to buy lingerie, but I always go for the brands I normally wear so I know my exact size. Some nice bargains in the DJs sale, picked up a really pretty Heidi Klum lingerie set online. But sale week is not the time to be looking for a fitter!

    1. That’s so true! On both counts. I think if you’ve been fitted into a good brand and size before you can confidently buy in the sales – particularly if its the same style. I did this after Christmas with my favourite sports bra.

  12. I received an email some time over the weekend from Blue Illusion saying some coats and jackets – I spotted a monotone black and white spot knitted trench reduced from $249 to $ 49 it is now in my hot little hands and wearing to a girls luch today – yes what a bargain – would never have know without the email

    1. Well played Nettie … and yes you probably wouldn’t have known! Unless you work near or around a shopping area, you don’t have opportunity to just go in and browse. Emails do the browsing for you!

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