How to Shop Sales Like a Personal Stylist

How to Shop sales like a personal stylist

(and learn a life lesson or 2)

The sale season generally brings up two things. On one side, it sparks the joy of may-be scoring that slightly out-of-budget (and much-wanted) item for half the price. On the other – it’s messy, confusing, and overwhelming and a sneaky way to lose money that you weren’t even planning on spending in the first place. Yes, I might be a woman, but I know that, unfortunately, this is common for the opposite sex, too. 

Since browsing the World Wide Web is kind of my thing – you can guarantee I have my tricks and tactics to 1- not waste time or money and 2- find the best gems for the best prices. Let me fill you in: this is how to make the most of your sale shopping spree.

My mom always said: “Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.”

But when we did, for my mom and I, that would mean ending up eating French Fries for dinner. 

I think we all know why this rule is so important: because otherwise, you’ll end up buying unnecessary things, regretting them, and losing sight of everything you truly need. Yep, shopping = shopping. Rule number one: never enter the battlefield without the right tools. 

Make a list

Draw up a list first, and promise yourself to stick to it. If you’ve got no idea what should be on this list, I suggest you check your current wardrobe for broken (unfixable) garments, items you already own (and don’t need), and those pieces of clothing you always happen to miss on special occasions.

Like that overcoat you need to go with your only-for-special-occasions suit. Or the perfect black loafers, those timeless designer sunglasses, or a new wallet. Take time to put together this list. Since sales mean brands are getting ready for the new season; it’s an appropriate moment to do a wardrobe clean-out. And you know what? I’ve got a free cheat sheet to download to ensure you will be done in no time. I’m sure your sale-shopping list will follow.

My oldest sister taught me: “Never compromise, and don’t settle for less.”

And if it’s up to me, this is exactly how to approach life. My oldest sister and I have lived according to this saying for a long time. The aim: fireworks. Sure, it brought us lessons but it got us many good things, too. So men, never compromise on buying an item in the sale that isn’t a 100% match. Again, deals are tempting, especially when it comes to your favorite brands…

Don’t waste money on so-so items

So, did you find the ultimate staple knit sweater, the perfect pair of tailored trousers for a fraction of the original price, but is something about it just slightly off? Such as the cut not working for your body type or fabric that secretly feels quite itchy on the skin? Define if it’s something a tailor can fix. If not—skip it.

A wise lesson from my dad: “Fashion fades; style is eternal.”

Also, a very, very famous quote by Mr. Yves Saint Laurent, but for me, a concept my dad taught me without saying a word. If there’s one person with a 100% defined personal style, it’s my 70-year-old father. For as long as I can remember, his wardrobe has been filled with colorful shirts with an all-over print of flowers, animals, cars; you name it. Bottoms: jeans or colored chinos. Shoes: dress shoes with, once again, an all-over print. Often matching the shirt he’s wearing that day.

And trust me, all my friends know him in this uniform, too. The best part? The man gets dressed in under 5 minutes, and when he walks into a store (which he and my mom do very often), he knows exactly what section to go to. Boring? No. Time-saving and iconic? Yes.

Focus on timeless staple pieces

Especially during times of significant discounts, it’s your best bet to focus on obtaining timeless pieces instead of discounted trends. And trust me if I say that a big part of your favorite retailers’ discounted section will be time-bound trend items. Fashion is, to me, kind of a dirty word as I secretly have a great aversion to over-popular and hyped trends. 

Buying these pieces for a bargain means that, in most cases, you’ll wear them only once or twice (until the not-so-famous-anymore trend is over)—a waste of money, effort, and closet space.

Make the most of your sales shopping session by aiming for items such as the woolen overcoat in camel, black, or navy, a good pair of leather loafers or derby shoes that never go out of style, selvage denim jeans, or that mohair sweater you’ve been eyeing for so long.

My middle sister’s mantra: “A cluttered closet is a cluttered mind.”

Trust her; she’s the Dutch Marie Kondo (for real). For as long as I can remember, my sister has been addicted to organizing our rooms, closets, and whatnot. Since she made her career out of this, she’s the one who mastered the art of living a minimalist life and living it at ease. 

Coming from a family that loves shopping, buying things (primarily shoes and bags) was in her blood… Resulting in an overcrowded wardrobe and often items of not such amazing quality. Nowadays, she has committed more than once to 6+ months without buying anything and has the most beautiful quality pieces in her (very organized and uncluttered) wardrobe.

Quality over quantity

More isn’t always better. The aim: don’t buy things because they’re cheap. You’ll regret it in the long run.

A few questions to determine if an item is a (no-)go

Need more guidance? Ask yourself these questions before you purchase.

  • Do I really like this brand?

Usually, purchasing items from tried-and-tested brands will increase your chances of success.

  • Would I buy this item if it wasn’t on sale? 

Remember that the best deals only apply to items you will wear often rather than those that will end up in the back of your wardrobe.

  • Does it fit the overall aesthetic/style I prefer? 

Meaning: can you make combinations with at least three other items you own? If a piece is right, it should automatically work with your existing wardrobe.

A last tip: sign up for newsletters of your favorite brands and online retailers. You’ll be the first to know when the sale season starts. And if you do browse the collections of your favorite address often, add items to your wishlist to save them for later and see in no time if they’re reduced.

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Start dressing better today.

Get my FREE E-guide: Define your Personal Style 101 to create a stable base for your ideal wardrobe.