End-of-season sales are here. It’s your last chance to make savvy Summer wardrobe choices before Autumn collections hit stores. Over the years, I’ve made my fair share of fashion blunders by purchasing poorly during sale time. But I’ve learnt from my mistakes, and from my experience as a buyer and stylist. Here are some guidelines to help you shop effectively:

  1. Shop with a plan. Make a list of what you need and then shop the sales to find them.
  2. Spend more money on shoes and handbags. Accessories pack a lot of punch. They can make a $60 outfit look designer.
  3. Black can be better. Items made of cheap fabrications often look better in darker colours (like black and brown) as opposed to brights like fuchsia, purple and apple green.
  4. Don’t buy expensive trendy pieces. Go cheap on items that are fashion fads. They’ll start falling apart after a season, in time for you to update with what’s next.
  5. Beware of outlet shopping. Their prices aren’t always cheaper than sale prices at department stores. Also, outlets carry last season’s merchandise (with the exception of The Rack). Don’t update your wardrobe with dated items.
  6. Keep expectations low at thrift stores. Secondhand stores can be fashion goldmines if you’re patient. You’ll usually have the best luck when you least expect it, so go in with a low expectation. 
  7. Shop as often as possible. Perusing stores without actually buying anything will educate you on what’s available. Most mainstream merchandise is marked down after 8 weeks. That way you can anticipate sales and score.
  8. Don’t be seduced by low prices. A low price does not necessarily equal a good buy. Refrain from buying anything unless you love it and it matches what you have in your wardrobe. You need to be even more discerning when you shop the sales because return policies are stickier and inventory is more scarce. 
  9. Consider full-price items. If you buy cheap items that you never wear, then all you did was waste your money. If you love an item because it makes you feel fabulous but it wasn’t on sale, buy it. It’ll end up becoming a bargain because you wore it constantly and the cost-per-wear will whittle down to nothing.
  10. Never shop when you’re hungry or tired. You’ll end up loosing focus and making bad decisions.

Everybody loves a bargain, but don’t feel that you need to get everything on sale. You’re worth full price.