A battle plan is fundamental for any shopaholic who is approaching the holiday sales season. This necessary plan is to help ensure that I can go home from the sales guilt free with a treasure. It also ensures I can go home and actually enjoy the guilt-free treasure – and to boot, I can still eat ‘actual real’ food during the month of January! No Canadian Kraft Dinner or a Brit Pot Noodle for me as I sit on my sofa stroking a new bag!
The big three
I believe sales shopping purchases fall under three categories. All three categories give me that adrenaline rush that has any shopaholic claiming “that was a good one!” as I leave the cash register with a bag tucked under my arm and exhale a slightly giddy “whoop-whoop”!
- the wish list items I saw before the seasonal sales and fell in love with
- the item that I spotted when wandering the sales and fell in love
- the rest of the stuff that you find, like and think you love
The wish list items
The items you spy in magazines, blogs, editorial ad campaigns. The items that you ‘ooh and ahh’ over. You have envisioned every possible outfit and eventuality for this little baby to attend. It’s the piece of your dream wardrobe. You will love it forever (well at least you plan to at this moment in time!).
The item you spot when wandering
Love these items. This is the gem you find when possibly returning something or helping a friend find something in the store that day. For me, it’s that sparkly and ridiculous item that screams crazy, luxe and unique. You pick it up and instantly you feel like you’ve known each other for years. It’s the item that truly represents you. Your friend turns to see what you have picked up and are clasping close to your chest. She instantly turns and says “you would do that, you have to get it, how much is it?!” You have to love those friends hard peeps!
The rest of the sale stuff you like
This is the hardest one to crack for the shopaholic. This is the one that takes time to not only discover but to master. These are the items that you pick up when shopping and go to put back on the rack but end up carrying around in your arm as “I really like this” or better still “I have one like this and just love it, maybe I should get a spare in case anything happens to the other one”. My wise old lovely Dad has a saying “it’s the best of a bad job”. This truly applies to this category. These are the items that you find in that store on that particular sale day and you like them. You don’t love them but you managed to find the best pieces possible from all the tat amongst the crazy rubble on the store sale table. You get the gold medal for having the most fabulous taste and an eye for picking up pieces and knowing how to wear and mix them. But do you really need or – even worse – want them? Probably not. But I find myself heading to the cash registers as I truly did find the best pieces so it seems only right I buy them? Wtf!! Put them bloody down woman.
The battle uniform of any shopper hitting the sales in store
There is no point in dolling yourself up to the hit the sales. This is not the time to wear your 12 strap beautiful boots or your All Saints knitted contraption that takes 20 mins to work out which way is the front and where to put your head! Your sales battle uniform needs to have a few things for purpose then I top mine off with a bit of red lippy!
Wear fitted trousers and a top: pull out either skinny jeans or leggings. These combined with a fitted comfy cotton top will help you try on anything in the store without having to line up for 20 mins as you wait for a fitting room. No bloody time for that! You can whip on a skirt to try over any skinny trousers and with your fitted top you don’t have to discount the dress for trying on either. This battle gear is great for helping regulate your body temperature. It’s never fun to pass out from heat exhaustion all in the name of the Nordstrom sale. Stay away from your synthetic fabrics and heavy knits. Yes it’s chilly when you leave the house, but when you are in midst of the bun fight crowd of Zara, it will feel like the Sahara desert!
Thin socks: or take extra socks in your bag. Stores don’t always have the disposable ‘sockettes’ for you to use. Thin socks are great for trying on heels as well as boots. Only recently on Black Friday at 10.30pm my friend and I were at the tail end of the days sales trying on boots. I was trying on some Frye biker boots and she was after some new winter Sorels. We had the sales staff in stitches as she had me taking my socks off for her to try on as she was only wearing her adorable leopard flats sans socks. You know nothing can come between your friendship when you are literally taking off your socks for her to use and she doesn’t mind they feel hot as hell from all the sale traipsing about we had just done. The good thing is that she came away with the Sorels and I left the bikers behind. This was only because I was so tired that I felt intoxicated and was having a ‘sensory overload’ shopping moment where I needed some serious dessert! Sugar for the shock, I say!
Take the cross body bag: don’t fuss over taking your big Mulberry Bayswater bag. You need free hands that are ready to grab the wish list item that the woman you have been stalking around the store has finally laid down. It took 30 mins of stalking and randomly picking up tat whilst she made up her mind she didn’t need it after all. Or maybe she put it down to get her iphone out to check if there was anything on her notes section that could help her make a decision. Oh well, you had free hands and the sweater went down for 3 seconds on the rack. Boom!!! It’s mine
Bring your water bottle: oh my goodness, I sound like a true Mum here. I always have water with me as I always hear a little voice at some point during being out declaring “I’m thirsty”. Shopping in the sales is nuts. But there is nothing worst than standing in line for 30 mins to pay whilst you dehydrate and wrinkle up to resemble a Golden Girl! I hate spending bloody $4 on a bottle of water in the store. A celebratory glass of vino after shopping is well deserved and money well spent, but water? You know you will need it as part of your battle plan. Just bring it.
The coat is a serious matter: This needs to be a light coat that is comfy and something you don’t mind carrying over your arm or laying down on the shop floor as you try stuff on. This is not the time for the hardcore Arctic parka. You’ll roast alive and be stuck motionless in the middle of the sales floor unable to move under the sheer weight of the goose down. Bonkers!
The hard-core fitting room list
- As you’re standing in front of the fitting room mirror, hot as hell, dehydrated and determined to carry on in pursuit of bargains. The checklist to whip out is:
- Does it fit? I’m the worst for this. Seriously, it’s not a hard question I’m asking myself. Does it bloody fit?
- How many do you already have? It’s easy to pick up a bargain in the manner of one of your wardrobe staples. But if it’s a staple, how many do you have? I wander the sales repeating “I do not need to own 30 bloody striped tops” for a reason!
- Can you part with one? The ‘one in, one out’ philosophy. Can you donate or sell anything to make room?
- The ‘cost per wear’ game. How many times can/will you wear it?
- Is it washable? My life is not ‘dry clean only’ territory
- Do you love it? Or is a magazine or blogger influencing you to love it?
- Is it a ‘best of a bad job’? Did you just spend 30 mins finding the best item from the mound of tat? Do you actually really need it in your wardrobe?
- The lure of the sale item that is heavily discounted. Would you pay the original price for it?
- The stack of red clearance stickers – back in my young and carefree single days, I would get a little silly. My Dad would often marvel at my latest purchases that I paraded around in and laugh shaking his head followed with “sometimes there’s a reason it’s in the sale Flickers!” He was bloody right. Sometimes the stack of red sales stickers worked in my favour as it suited my eclectic taste or shoe size. But let’s face it, other times it was just bloody bonkers stuff that I bought because it was 85% off and well, why not? I’ll tell you why not. Put it bloody down!
- Does it work for your climate? Be realistic in how and where you can wear it. Do you live in Barbados or Canada? Yep….thought so!
- Is it your reality? Do you intend on going to 12 black tie functions during January? Or are you more likely to be going 12 to the local sports centre to cheer on the under 9 soccer team? I rest my case. I need to put down the Stella McCartney Tux!
- Can you wear it with 3 other things in your wardrobe? A nice healthy dose of reality!
- Is it a repeat buy?
- Cost per wear. How many times will you actually wear this?
- Will it dress up, dress down?
- Can you actually visualize yourself wearing it? Will it suit your colouring, body shape, hair style etc. I need to remind myself that I am not Angelina Jolie’s long lost (ahem…younger) sister!
- Consult a friend or your iPhone notes section. Enough said. Very sensible.
The battle gear of any shopaholic hitting the sales with the iPad
This is truly my best and most comfortable shopping uniform. I get up wash my face and brush my teeth. Make a cappuccino and let the cat out. This is all done with minimal sound. I have perfected this art by being the Mum of a 8 and 6-year-old. Yep……they’re still sound asleep. I then jump back into bed, again, with such stealth that sleeping snoring husband does not even stir. Bingo. I go to the homepage of Net-a-Porter wearing my cozy cotton pjs, with boobs tucked into the waistband, hair on end that looks like I’ve been playing with the electrics and fresh cinnamon on the tip of my nose from my cappuccino. It’s a good look! The next hour or so I check what is left in my ‘basket’ and if any of it has been reduced to buy. I tip and tap on the iPad with precision and determination. Once I think I’ve bagged my wish list goodies, I try not to squeal, I need all the boys, both big and small, to stay sleeping soundly. I then grab my iPhone notes on wardrobe and double-check what I have and if I really need it. I mentally calculate the outfit possibilities like a pro. Enter my card details that I have memorized with practice (eek!) and bingo. I lie in bed with a little giggle and punch the air with my fist. The rest of the day I will spend acting like Martha Stewart (not the jail years!) making meals and playing board games as I sing like Snow White feeding the f$@≈ing squirrels. Now……… that is what I call successful shopping.
My 2015 winter sales wish list……
The Winter sales are the ideal time to look for the investment buy that you will own for years. It is also the perfect time to stock up on basics along with the fabulous and frivolous pieces. Keep on wishing Flickers!
Eye spy…. Bella Freud sweaters, Prada Chelsea boots, Frye biker boots and a Balenciaga City bag
Eye spy…. Levi’s grey skinny jeans, Saint James Breton top and a aritzia blanket scarf
Eye spy….. Kate Spade Glitterbug wallet, Topshop pull through fur scarf, Topshop ‘Betty’ boots in silver
Rest assured as you conclude reading this blog post, I am not polishing my halo. Yes, I would like to think I’m getting better, but if you ask the DHL delivery man then his answer may slightly differ!