How to shop smart during the sales season
Structure your day to avoid unnecessary purchases
We all know how expensive new clothing can be, so when the sales attract our attention, it’s very tempting to get caught up in purchasing a ‘bargain’. However, if you want to make sure that what you purchase is actually what you need, then read my ten top tips to help you spend money on items of clothing that will actually serve you.
Think carefully about the shops and brands that will best work for you
1. Plan your shop: know what items of clothing you require to add to your wardrobe. Do you need to purchase some new clothes for work? Or, are you searching for some casual summer dresses and skirts that will work well with your existing garments, update your wardrobe and make it look more current? If so, make a list of the exact items that you need.
Write a list of items of clothing that you need
2. Work out which shops you will prioritise in relation to the items that you need and where you would like to shop. For all consumers, I think it’s a good thing to be aware of ethically accredited stores knowing that the people who have made the clothes you wear have been treated fairly. For a full list of accredited stores in Australia, check out ECA (Ethical Clothing Australia) here:
There are many brands and stores working hard to include other sustainable practises in the manufacturing of their clothing by using recycled or alternative fabrics that are much healthier for our planet. Ask the store manager or sales assistant about how their company and/or brands reduce the Earth's carbon and/or ecological footprint; I think transparency is always educational and informative for everyone involved and it certainly makes you a much more conscious consumer which can only be a good thing.
Prepare an itinerary for your shopping expedition; logically work out which stores you will visit first in relation to where you will park and how much shopping you intend to do. You may need to drop parcels back to the car at some stage, so keep this in mind and remember where you parked the car!
3. Be clear about what styles, cuts and colours of clothing best suit your shape and complexion and if you aren't sure, invest in a personal styling consultation before you go shopping - this will set you on the right path to success.
Engage a professional personal stylist to assist you
4. If you are wanting to buy some additional items that will match back with your current favourite tops and blouses, be specific when itemising your shopping list. For example, you may need a pair of smart casual shorts that will match a floral blouse, a particular t-shirt and a couple of other tops in your wardrobe. Think about the best colour of shorts to buy that will complement those pieces you already own. Furthermore, think about the length of the shorts, the waistband, does the fabric need to be lightweight and non-creasing for travel purposes? Research which stores have styles that you prefer and check out the discounts they are offering online so that when you turn up, you already know what you are searching for and can ensure that the price point is the same as the one that has been advertised.
5. Take a photo: If you know you need to find a certain coloured garment to match back with a skirt in your wardrobe, take a photo of the skirt in natural daylight on your mobile phone. Then, you know exactly what colour and style your skirt is and this will help you remember and stay focused on the day of your shopping trip.
Take a photo of specific garments to help colour and style match
6. Avoid eye catching trends that are on sale. These items may not suit your current wardrobe, style or personality; ask yourself if the item of clothing you wish to purchase will work with at least THREE other items of clothing currently in your wardrobe. In addition, ask yourself if this is an item that you could wear at least one or even two years from now, and gauge whether it will look outdated or out of place. For example, some printed garments may date more quickly compared to solid colours.
Ask yourself, “Will this garment work with THREE existing items in my wardrobe?”
7. Be intuitive and resolute. Too often, I’ve seen ladies make poor style choices because they have been coerced by a sales assistant into buying something that didn’t suit their personality or lifestyle. Listen to your instincts and trust yourself. You know if something isn’t right whether it’s the colour, the cut of the garment or its practical value – how often will you really wear it? Avoid being persuaded by someone else who may be keen to make a sale. If in doubt, don’t. Ask yourself, “Do I really love this?” Go back to those key questions in the last point; can I wear this clothing item three different ways or with three other items that I already own?’
8. Always make sure the size and fit of the potential clothing item is correct and comfortable. At the same time, it’s also worth considering the added cost of altering a garment. For example, if you really love an item and it meets all of your requirements but it’s slightly too big, add the approximate cost of getting the item altered and if it still means that you save dollars in the long run, then you know you have a winner.
If you do really love an item of clothing but you are still having trouble making a decision about whether to purchase it or not, take a selfie, or ask the shop assistant if they would mind taking a photo of you in the outfit. Then, treat yourself to a coffee break and this may be enough time to give you some space and perspective before making the all-important purchase. Sometimes, simply looking at yourself objectively in a photo will assist in deciding if a clothing item is the right one for you.
Taking a selfie of an outfit you like is a way to gain some perspective
9. Most importantly, know your budget and stick to it. Avoid using credit cards to make extra purchases, unless you have planned to do so and can pay this off in due course.
10. Schedule a good four hours in the morning for maximum shopping effect (depending upon how many items you may need) and make sure you keep well hydrated, wear comfortable shoes and clothes that are easy to take on and off. Shopping any longer than four hours can become too tiring and overwhelming for some so, at the end of your shopping time, enjoy some lunch and head home.
At the end of the day, your shopping experience should be fun and hopefully, you will have added some great items of clothing to your wardrobe that make you look and feel fantastic and that you will enjoy wearing. When I get home, I always like to hang my new purchases immediately to avoid extra creasing. I also keep a copy of my receipts; sometimes stores like Myer will have their own systems that keep a record of your purchases; you can download the app and store it on your phone. Be aware that if you do need to return an item of clothing, make sure that the label is still attached, the garment is in good order and your receipt is readily accessible.
Make sure the tags are attached and you have your receipt when returning any items of clothing
Happy sales shopping!
A well planned shopping trip is the key to successful purchases