Here in the US, buying wardrobe items on final sale usually means that you get them at a deep discount, but you can’t return the item if it doesn’t work out. An exchange or store credit is typically not offered either.

Buying items on final sale is particularly risky when you buy them online and haven’t seen them and tried them on. Even more so if you are unfamiliar with the brand’s usual fit and quality. Colours are often misleading in the online pictures. I vote avoid buying items final sale in these instances, unless you’re prepared to resell or pass them on. 

Final sale is a better bet in stores when you’re able to see, feel, and try on the item. You can be quite confident you won’t need to return the item. The same goes for online items when you’re familiar with them and know how the brand works for you. Or have bought the same items in the past.

On a couple of occasions I have neglected to read the fine print when buying a heavily discounted item online, only to find out they were final sale when I tried to return them. I appreciate it when online retailers put in bold red writing that the item is FINAL SALE before you hit the purchase button. Lesson learned. I must be extra careful to read return policies when purchasing heavily discounted items online.

The items were a Jason Wu skirt from The Real Real, and a handbag from Furla’s online store. First prize would have been to return them, since neither was the right fit. Since I didn’t have that option, I had the skirt altered to fit. Not perfect, but greatly improved. The bag is a tad small for my purposes because it can’t accommodate my second pair of specs. I use it when I don’t think I’ll need the second pair, which are progressives that I wear when reading.

On the other hand, I have had many final sale successes. I recently purchased two pretty and versatile cotton pointelle tops on deep discount and final sale from Boden. I know the brand, fit, and quality well, and have a lot of Boden knitwear in my wardrobe. I was very confident they would work. Boden also kindly warned me that the items were on final sale as I added them to my shopping cart. I ordered the green first. It was perfect! I ordered the navy stripe afterwards. Just as fab.