Past Works...Part Two: SALE SHOPPING

This was a piece about surviving the sales....quite topical given that in 3 weeks time the high street will once again be slave to the January sales...

Sale Survivor....
started July 02, 2009 10:36 AM
Its that time of year again, where not only is the high street actually melting under this oppressive heatwave we seem to be in the grip of, but also, there is actually some kind of price wars meltdown going on as every single retailer, or so it seems, is cutting their prices…oh, its that time of year I love….summer sales!

I've never experienced sales like this years before….clearly, the recession is no place for your average high street retailer. They are, quite literally, falling over themselves to promote their reduced prices, with some even going in for the kill faster than their staff-members hands can mark products down…browsing a selection of sale product in a well-known high street
lingerie retailer, I was almost flagged down by the sales girl, red pen in hand… 'those are about to be marked down even more….stop…so are these…hang on…' calm down love, I was just looking, but, I guess, times are hard…jobs are on the line…people have to make a buck or two so I suppose its only natural for retailers to be encouraging (forcing?) sales this way. Can it be? Is the pen finally mightier than the…er…credit card? Are we willing to wait for the sales, and make our money work as hard for us as we did to earn it?

For those, elbows sharpened, plastic at the ready, who are about to brave the sales-scrum (hint: wear flats, seriously, don't attempt in
heels, and take a drink, and a hard face) here are some guidelines from one in the know, who has the battle scars and the credit card bill to prove it….

Firstly, do your homework. Scope out the shops you like…perform a fashion recce and make a mental note (or actual notes, you'd be surprised at what you forget, maybe best to do this in the changing room though to prevent the crazy-fashionista tag) Sign up to websites 'style alerts' if they do them, to get sales heads-ups, and also befriend chatty sales assistants, who are more likely to help out a friend than a stranger…I'm sure we'd all rather have been told 'ooh, come back tomorrow, and this'll be half price' than buying something at full whack, only to see it halved in price 24 hours later. Been there, done that, felt the frustration!
Go through your wardrobe, and figure out what you actually need, which will prevent 'sale blindness', an affliction which I have suffered from in the past, and then been stuck with the products of….

'Sale blindness' is that horrid capability that every girl possesses, to suddenly find umpteen items absolutely essential to her daily life, since they all now cost under £10. Hence, we return from our sales adventure with lime green treggings, last seasons fur collared cardigan, a pair of jodhpurs, and an acid washed denim handbag. I for one am completely guilty of this, and the guilt only furthers when I a) look in my wardrobe at all the 'bargains' I've never worn, and b) open my credit card bill.
Remember, then, your sales mantra: A bargain is only a bargain if you wear it. Stop. Breathe. Consider. If you still love it, go for it…and also, check the returns policy, so that if you do get home and have a "what the devil is this?" moment, you can *at least* return it.

On the flipside, sales are a fantastic opportunity to fill gaps in your wardrobe, and also to play with trends you may have once avoided. Classic pieces and luxe fabrics will last longer and are worth paying more for, even in the sales. Leather goods, cashmere and classic tailoring all fit the bill here. A quality black
dress, great fitting, smart jeans, a cashmere sweater, and a crisp white shirt will mix in with existing pieces in your wardrobe and can be dressed up or down. If you care for them, they'll last you ages and will be well worth the fight there usually is to get them. The same applies to accessories…classic court shoes, almond toed, with a stacked heel, will be the shoe for all occasions, and a soft leather bag in a neutral shade is always a great purchase.

Sales are also a great opportunity to restock on basics. A plain white tee is an essential…infact, a plain tee in any neutral colour….black, nude, cream…is a fantastic base layer for any outfit. Also underwear is a great buy in the sales, and obviously, is an excuse to treat yourself to some smashing smalls at a discount price. What's not to like about that!

A key feature of sales shopping follows thus: Pace yourself. Don't get too hot, check returns policies, and if you can afford to, buy things when you see them, take them home, and try them on in comfort. There's nothing worse than struggling to undress and squeeze into your clutch of sales goodies in a cramped and sweaty changing room…nothing's going to look its best in there! Don't make the mistake of thinking, 'oh, I'll come back if I don't see anything else'…act sharp sister, because if you don't snap up that bargain, then I will. The beginning of the sales ( i.e. first day ideally, or first couple of days at a push) are when you'll get the pick of the bargains…remember your notes from before? Keep your eyes beady and make yourself aware of what you want and where it's situated in the store. This is the highest chance of your sales success…there is the most product, and there is a good chance you'll find your size. If you miss the start of the sale or simply cannot be bothered with the fight, hang on in there until the bitter end….everything will be as cheap as chips by then, though the chance of finding what you want in your size is, obviously, a lot slimmer. But it's a great opportunity to scout out any accessories you might have missed the first time around, and getting them at the best possible prices.

Love them or hate them, sales time is upon us. So we gotta go with it, treat your shopping experience like a military exercise, execute with precision and marvel at your mid-season-fashion-bargains. Soon we'll be looking at rows and rows of fresh, gorgeous new season product….I for one can't wait! But in the mean time, ladies, get set to shop! And if you can't stand the heat, then kick back, or even click back, and snap up your bargains from the comfort of you home, via the ASOS sale, where there is a massive selection at your fingertips, and you can even filter by size or colour, price or product to find what you need…bargain hunting at its best!
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