It’s one of the most magical times of the year!! The summer sales and markdowns are in full flow now. I believe the summer sales offer much better bargains than the winter ones. The hefty reductions come round quicker in July than the febrile February clear outs. So the summer sales smart shopping gold medal goes to:
Not the old me. Definitely not!
- Not the current me (not quite yet?!?) I may have got a little silly on the Zara website last week. The majority of the brown delivery boxes will have to go back!
- Possibly the future ‘new’ me, AKA, the oh so wise capsule wardrobe graduate !!
Bloody hell. You can only imagine the fun I’ve had in the summer sales over the years. I say I have eyes bigger than my tummy when it comes to dining out. I also need to admit I have eyes bigger than my wardrobe. When you love fashion, textiles and a bloody good bargain as much as I do, you know the online delivery boxes and shopping bags are happily skipping over my front door this time of year. But to be honest, few things have stood the test of time or stayed in my wardrobe and come out to play. Many of these delights were either returned to the stores, sold on eBay/sent to my lovely consignment store or just passed on to mates who admired them from afar. Time to reflct on old mistakes and learn some new tricks. I feel I have earned some stripes on my sleeve for surviving the summer sales and still being able to eat and pay my mortgage!!
Here are my tips on what has helped restrain my ‘sillies’ during the summer sales fever pitch
For when you hit the sales and shops after your morning coffee…..
The wish list items
Hunt down the items you fell in love with at the beginning of the season. The items that you flipped the price tag over and then quickly flipped it back. The items you saw on the website showcased like a dream. These are the items that you spent months lusting after. If you invested those weeks thinking of them, then they are worth the hot pursuit of finding them in the summer sales. You know you truly love them as opposed to truly loving the fact that an item has a stack of eight red clearance stickers on the tag. Would you have paid the original price for it if your budget allowed? Yes? Then it’s a keeper.
The iPhone catalogue of your clothing
Have a list on your magic phone of the contents of your summer wardrobe. Jot down the items in catergories so they are easy to scroll up in the fitting rooms when trying on 25 items!! This helps me remember what I have, what I need and what I don’t bloody need! If there are any doubles of items, then adhere to the rule: ‘one in, one out’. It’s ok to buy another statement jacket as long as you vow to sell or pass on the other one. Harsh?? It should be!! Otherwise its easy to amass a ton of clothes and get buried in your own closet. Sad. What a way to go?!! Death by Zara summer sale purchases. I was smothered by an embellished jacket and a pair of culottes. Jeepers, creepers!
Keep in mind your style
Stay true to yourself. Do you like it? Will you wear it? Is it something that has helped you step out of your comfort zone for the better. Does it put a spring in your step? Do you get a little glow from it? Is it a statement piece that balances your simple pieces, e.g. a fab necklace to throw on with a tank and denim shorts. Is it the cool clutch bag that makes the tee and jeans look fabulous, or is the leopard print sandals that make the plain black maxi dress smile. In my book, these items are good summer sales buys. The summer sales accessory bargains have always done me a favour.
Stay away from the pieces you think you should like or something that looks great on a friend. We are all different. Our skin and hair colouring can drastically change the way something looks. A beautiful Iris Apfel approved top on my friend looks like fancy dress on me. The only clothes that look good are the ones YOU wear and not the ones who wear you. I believe the trick is your confidence and the smile on your face when you wear it. The minute you are in doubt, or feel ‘it’s not really me’, then kiss goodbye.
Stock up on your essentials
This is the perfect time to replace some ratty tatty beloved items that need to see the garbage bin. I always replace my jeans & tees in the sales. Gap are great for $5 tees that replenish my grey and white collection. I pick up jeans that are often around the $15 mark. I have a great pair of $10 gap dark boyfriend 1969 distressed jeans. I love them. I remember when I picked them up my youngest son went into panic and told me I couldn’t buy a pair of jeans that someone has taken the scissors to. Lol!
For when you’re in the fitting room…..all in a dither!
The five simple questions which should have five simple answers. Any dithering of thoughts, then they are out. Ready? fingers on the buzzer………
1) Does it fit? I know, I know, a ridiculous question. But not for me, if I love something then I am singing and dancing in a shop, convincing myself that I will either wear it baggy as boyfriend chic or slim into one day once I have run a marathon. Both ridiculous. Does it fit? Yes or no.
Do the shoes fit? My lovely husband has been know to reach for the ice from the freezer only to find a pair of shoes in mid effort to be stretched. Crazy I know, he knew I was nuts before he married me. Shoes and all!! The best thing for trying shoes on in the sales is to put them on and stand around in them for a good five minutes. This is a good guide for if they are going to pinch anywhere or if they are too high. Much better to do this than have a pair of new shoes stretching next to the Edamame beans!!
2) Will I wear it during any other seasons? Or will I wear it next summer? I have tops that I have owned for 10 years that come out every summer with pride and I have tops I have owned for 10 mins and then thought “what the heck was I thinking?”.Pieces in a capsule wardrobe need to be multi taskers with a smile on. I try to live by my ‘cost per wear’ philosophy. I’m aiming for ideally $1/£1 per wear. So this philosophy has stopped me buying the beautiful mulberry silk evening dress at 70% off that would just sit in my wardrobe gathering dust as I wait for the right occasion. The cost per wear on this baby would be $125 per wear. Booooooo. Verses the urban outfitters Cheap Monday denim dress that I will probably wear once a week/ fortnight and will happily skip to wearing next summer too. The cost per wear on this Jean Genie dress will be good. Can I wear it 40 times?? $1 per wear? ….easily! Lovely.
3) Can I wear it with 3 other things in my wardrobe? Trying to avoid the one trick pony here. It’s no good buying the dress for a special occassion that you end up not wearing anyway as you put on something from your ‘uniform wardrobe’ that you feel happier in. It needs to co-ordinate with your other bits. The lovely Brit stylist boy wonder, Gok Wan, states “your clothes have to talk to each other”! He’s hysterical. For those this side of the pond who have not seen him. Check him out at YouTube or his website. Great fun.
4) Repeat buy alert *** repeat buy alert** Is it an item that you are trying to replace? Are you in search of finding the perfect black boho top to replace the one you bought 5 years ago and has hit the knackers hard? Yes, then vow to throw the ratty tatty one out as soon as you get home. If you are remorseful about doing this, then chances are you haven’t found the perfect replacement. So put it back and keep looking.
5) ‘One in, one out’. Although I’m on a mission to create a capsule wardrobe, I still love to shop and see what is out there for the season. My rule of thumb has always been ‘one in, one out’ . So whatever piece I was buying then I would make a pinky promise to list its twin sister for sale on eBay. One day when I’m rich I will just donate all my stuff, but in the meantime ebay and my lovely local consignment store, AMH Style, help me out. Guilt free shopping funds!
For when you’re at home with a face pack on & a glass of wine
Can I return it? Some places offer a 10 day, 30 day or 60 day return policy. Others are final sale only on bargains. There is nothing wrong in buying something and checking it out at home. It may be great in the store but when you start to look at the outfit combos you then realize it is just a one trick pony. I always explain to the sales staff that it is better for me to buy online/in store and try on at home as opposed to bring my two little boys with me and risk world war 3 over who can hide the best within the clothes racks, or for the youngest one to seriously flirt with all the women who cross his path. Oh Alfie…….. his name seriously suits him!!
It’s final sale- do I risk it? Can you resell or gift it to a mate to make her day? Are there any online comments or reviews about this piece. It’s worth checking out. Bloggers are great for this and perfect for outfit inspiration. Don’t be afraid to message them and ask what size they bought and how it fits.
Jot down how it works for you. Draw up some outfit combos. It’s only when it’s written in black and white that I truly get a grasp of whether it is a winner or not. Really analyze what you can wear it with, when you can wear it, where you can wear it. This should be an easy task. If it’s not then return it. Headaches are caused by my noisy boys re-enacting the Hobbit movie in my living room not by quandering if the black cape jacket can be dressed up or down successfully !
This years summer sales bargains I bought home were;
Loving a bit of Zara
Zara fringed leather bag $269 down to $89
Amazing bag. It’s a man for all seasons. Love the fringing, on trend that will continue through to Fall/Winter, beautiful leather, messenger style for when I need to hold little hands. I will use this 89 times in its lifetime with me.
Zara long poncho $79 down to $17
Thought this would be great over denim shorts or summer blue jeans. I can also see it working in the winter with black skinnies and biker boots?! I’m a stickler for quality materials. This poncho is a lovely cotton so looks pricier!
Zara tan leather mini skirt $139 down to $39
Fabulous skirt. This will skip over to the fall/winter wardrobe. I can work summer bare legs with gladiator sandals & winter legs with tights & ankle boots. Love the colour, on trend for the 70’s vibe that continues into this fall, it’s first outing will be a black tee and black gladiator sandals.
Loving a bit of Madewell
Kingston cover up jumpsuit $98 down to $68 (with additional promo discount)
Love at first sight. it’s 100% cotton so for me hangs well as can’t have an jersey clinging to my curves and reminding me that I need to eat less nachos. Dress up & dress down, on trend, lovely colour that works well with denim vests and black bags. Strapless that is perfect when hitting the beach. Lots of compliments already from the trendy folk in my life. Like it!!!!!
Embroidered siesta blue top $98 down to $68 (with additional promo discount)
Loved it immediately as a ‘new arrival’ on the site. I kept checking the website until I saw it had gone in the sale. Super cute top. Needed to replace a beloved urban outfitters one from 10 years ago. I’m a very happy bunny. Not a cheaply cheapster but a beautiful well made top that I’m sure I will wear for a good few years.
Loving a bit of Mango
Ethnic Fringed Clutch $69 down to $35
I got one!! If you’ve read my previous post ‘The Summer Bag that Got Me Thinking’, you will know I was lusting after this ethnic fringed clutch and getting my knickers in a twist to find one. My lovely mate came to the rescue via a little trip to the UPS store over the border in NY.
Embroidered blouse $59 down to $29
I love a boho blouse. I need to replace a tatty white one and loved this when it first came onto the scene. Another top I spotted on the website at the beginning of the season. Thinking it will look good paired with distressed denim jeans or shorts. Might work well tucked in to some culottes. We will see, I’ll keep you posted.
Loving a bit of Urban Outfitters
Cheap Monday denim dress via Urban Outfitters $70 down to $35
Bingo! Have been searching for a good summer denim dress for years. My child bearing hips always play havoc with my visual perception of dresses on me. I put this one on and my mate reassured me that you don’t see the hips first as they enter the room. Nice and breezy. Great for summer. Compliments already from the young & trendy dolls in my circle. Love it!
Loving a bit of J.Crew
P.J shirt with crest $118 down to $6!!!!!!!!!
Found this gem with my friend the other day. In fact, the story goes……….she picked it up first, I loved it and told her she must have it. She then found another one and so we both tried it on, loved and bought it. We had a moment like the Ikea sales advert. Cue us both getting excited at the cash desk “Start the car, start the car” when we came to pay $6 for it. It was originally $118!!! She will dress hers up as she is a classy gal. I can’t wait to dress mine down with ripped jeans and some silly shoes!! The best $6 I have spent in a while. Don’t you love shopping with a mate when you both share the joys of a bargain and find each other stuff?! Yay!!!
My take on my favourite shops and online stores I rummage through here in Canada:
Keep checking their website as they regularly update it. Check the stock clearance section for one off bargains. They offer 30 day refunds. Lots of time to ponder or, in my case, sell something
Asos & Mango
Inexpensive international shipping rates. Check out the Brit bloggers for reviews and outfit ideas. Love a bit of Asos and Mango
They are great for stocking up on the basics. On the web, they always have promo codes worth clicking on for an additional extra off orders or sales purchase. You can return stuff to the stores or by post too. They will disclaim it if something is final sale. In stores they often have ‘additional %’ off the sales price. I often get my tees, pjs and kids essentials. Grabbed some great bargains off that sale rounder.
Madewell & J.Crew
They regularly have sales promos offering an additional percentage off your order or sales stock. They state if something is final sale otherwise you can return it within 60 days.
Managed to snag some super cute pieces from their sale rail over the years. Love my new denim dress. They too have sales promos. The dress has an additional 25% off the sales merchandise. They offer a 30 day return policy. Yay!
What I’m wearing today ……#OOTD
Gap 1969 denim vest
Gap navy cotton tank
Zara blue striped cotton skirt $45 down to $25
White Madrid Birkenstock sandals
Cath Kidston Soldier book bag
Madewell Kingston cover up jumpsuit $98 down to $68
Ray-Ban black Wayfarer
Black Arizona Birkenstock sandal
Words of Wisdom
Steve Jobs said ” the only way to do great work is to love what you do” such wise words and therefore Steve has got me thinking. I reckon that the only way to have a great wardrobe is to love what’s in it! True.
Please send any thoughts or tips my way for winning gold medals in the category of sales shopping. I’m very new on the journey of editing my wardrobe and stepping closer to a capsule wardrobe. Only problem is that I am, however, still me. The other day I Instagramed a photo of my Topshop black sandals. They looked so good, and with so many likes and comments, that by the time lunchtime hit, I was ordering up another pair in brown. Wtf!! I’m certainly not professing to know everything or indeed polish any halo when it comes to sales shopping. But if I can have helped you in any way, then that puts a smile on my face! In the meantime…..I’m just banning myself from any shopping trips or site visits!!
Go forth my friends. Grab those bargains. Good luck xx