Top Tips for Shopping in the Sales
Everyone loves a bargain. At this time of year the shops are pulling out all the stops, tempting us through the doors with cut-price morsels of clothing loveliness. But even the most dedicated bargain-hunter can find the January sales `shopocalypse’ a bit too much.
So before you join the rush, here are some top tips for surviving the January sales. Become a conscious consumer.
What exactly is a bargain?
A bargain is an item that you buy at the lowest possible price. Getting something for a fiver makes us feel good. We love the ‘thrill of the till’.
The trouble is a €5 bargain is a bit like a stodgy take-away. It’s tempting and briefly satisfying but you regret it almost immediately. And during the sales, your wardrobe can easily get stuffed full of `bargains’ that rarely see the light of day. Those aren’t bargains.
Here’s an interesting statistic for you: most of us actively wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. So a true bargain is an item of clothing that makes you look and feel fantastic every time you wear it – and one you wear over and over again.
The cost per wear equation
The price of a garment isn’t just the amount of money you pay for it. Think about your most loved piece of clothing and try this simple equation:
Cost of garment ÷ the number of times you wear it = cost per wear
Cost per wear can turn even the most expensive clothing into a bargain – especially when you factor in the amount of confidence you get from wearing it. A pair of trousers costing €100, worn once a week has reduced to €2 per wear by the end of a year.
What kind of shopper are you?
Once you understand your own shopping mind-set, the January sales become a whole lot less frustrating. Most people fall into one of two categories:
– The Hunter: Sees something that looks amazing, clubs it over the head (metaphorically speaking), buys it immediately and leaves triumphantly clutching their prey. Hunters are prone to over-excitement and can sometimes make rash purchases.
– The Gatherer: Will walk the entire length of the high street, forensically comparing like with like, convinced that the grass will be greener in the next shop. They then go back to the first item they saw, only to find that it’s been sold – probably to a Hunter.
There’s nothing wrong with either approach, but during the sales your natural shopping instinct can become exaggerated. Once you know which kind of shopper you are, you can go prepared. Hunters become more discerning, Gatherers get less exhausted.
Filling the gap in your wardrobe
Many of us fall into the trap of `repeat buying’. Something looks good, so we stay safe and buy something as close to it over and over again. It’s particularly tempting when there’s money off your repeat item.
Before you hit the sales get strategic. Identify a key item that’s missing from your wardrobe, something that would bring several outfits together. Then fill that gap rather than adding to the clutter. In addition, ensure you can make six outfits with every new item you buy – by matching it with your existing clothes.
Can you leave the shop without it?
Even when you’ve a clear goal in mind, it’s easy to get seduced by the discount label and end up with an`it’ll do’ item. Perfection is difficult to spot during the sales, but you can strive towards it. My top tip is to ask yourself this before you get to the till:
Can I leave the shop without it, i.e. will I still be thinking about it when I get home? If the answer is `yes’, leave. If it’s `no’, go ahead and buy it.
Rather than filling your wardrobe gap with an `it’ll do’ item, keep that money and invest it in that perfect colour and style which will look gorgeous for the long term.
The pitfalls of `hungry buying’
Everyone says you shouldn’t go shopping for food when you’re hungry. The same principal applies to sales shopping.
If you’re buying a special occasion outfit, it’s best to avoid doing it during the sales. You’re more likely to make an unwise panic-purchase. Allowing more time gives you more options.
Shopping with intent and carefully considering every item before you buy it is important. Seek out clothes with ethical manufacturing credentials. Opt for pre-loved items first. Make a pact with yourself that everything you buy will be worn more than 30 times. Aim for longevity. Buy Well. Buy Better. Make it Last.
Finally, it’s important to be comfortable during your shopping day. Wear flat shoes and comfortable clothes, things that are easy to whip on and off in the changing room.
And remember, there’s value in coming home empty-handed. You haven’t succumbed to the adrenaline rush of buying for the sake of it.
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