10 essential tips to thrive at the Sales and not end up with a dud

by Sylvia

Shopping at sales - essential sale shopping list

I suffer from eye strain recently. I spent too much time on the computer and so I was ‘forced’ to get away from it. I decided that I needed to do more ‘research’ for my blog on shops in Singapore and I also wanted to take more pictures of stylish women on the streets.

Of course, hitting the high streets is a dangerous thing to do these days. In Singapore the sales have already started in many shops and as I haven’t shopped so much these last few months, everything looks appealing and new to me. So it wasn’t long that I found 2 nice pieces that were priced at 60% off and that I tried on. In the fitting room, I was already thinking that I was going to write a blog post about how we need to be careful with the sales and how most of the time, we should NOT buy the things we try on etc. I wasn’t going to buy these 2 pieces, I was going to be sensible and move on…


But of course, I did buy one piece. And then the next day, I again hit the streets and visited one of the trendiest shopping streets here in Singapore, Haji Lane, and I bought some more pieces.. Above, you can see that I really went for the timeless prints: stripes and polkadots. Great for some pattern mixing, a big trend this season. I know that I’m a bit guilty of not getting more color pieces, but all these can be combined with my new funky hats, colorful shawls and red pants, so all is not yet lost.

Still, I think it is an important message to give: you will really need to be careful when buying at the sale. i believe I made some good choices this time, because my research has been thorough (having a blog about style and fashion does that to you), but here are my tips for sensible shopping during the sales.

My essential tips for sensible sale shopping

1. Fit. Fit. Fit. That is the most important word to remember. If it doesn’t fit you, no matter how nice the garment, move on.

2. No, you will not lose that weight, your boobs will not get bigger, that tummy isn’t going anywhere soon. Don’t be in denial! Accept your ‘flaws’ and choose clothes that highlight your strengths and disguise your flaws.

3. Ask yourself if this outfit will go with anything in your closet. It would be best to take a particular garment that you want to match with something to the shop, but if you don’t have it, it may be best not to buy the item on sale. The color is often just a little bit off.

4. Know your style. It really helps if you know what style defines you. Perhaps you know your style statement. That way you can check if any outfit fits with that statement. For example if your style statement if fun chic, you need to make sure that the outfit fits that.

5. Know what you are looking for! If you have done your homework and know the gaps in your closets, you will be able to recognise  these items when you see them on sale.

6. Look for quality. Quality items in wool, cotton, cashmere or silk will last and if they are not too trendy and fit with your other clothes, they may be good assets to your closet. Avoid buying ‘cheap’ fabrics, even if they’re super cheap. You will probably only wear then once or twice.

7. Know the trends. If you have been able to resist buying too many trendy pieces at full prices, now may be the time to add a few trendy pieces to your wardrobe. Trendy pieces need to be discounted more than 50% as they usually don’t last. I can’t resist trends that work for me, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on them. If you know what’s current right now, you will be able to pick out the good pieces from a messy sale store. Know what you’re doing though. Let’s face it. Many of these items are on sale, because they couldn’t sell it. So ask yourself twice if the outfit is really that great. Is it not last season? Is this a color I will ever wear?

8. Know the collections of your favorite stores. Have you ever been to a sale where you coudn’t recognise any of the pieces? That could be because they put all the stuff from 2 season ago in the store again. If you know the collections of your favorite store, you know what is current. It’s good to ‘eye’ a particular piece and just wait for the sales to buy. If it’s gone, too bad. I really believe we shouldn’t buy everything we like. It’s good to be frugal and sometimes it’s just good to say: I really like this; let’s not buy it (but just admire it)!

9. Know the sale pattern of your favorite stores. Ive started to recognise the sale pattern of one of my favorite stores. They always start with 30% and then after 2-3 weeks, they go to 50% and add a few more items. Now that I know that, I always wait for the 50%. It’s probably good to get yourself notified of the sales of your favorite stores as well, so get on their email list.

10. No you don’t need another black skirt! Are you tempted to buy the same piece again and again? It’s very tempting when your favorite type of skirt is on sale in your favorite color. But then again you may already have 3 of those in your closet. Again the great saying applies: I really like it; let’s not buy it (but just admire it)!

What I bought…

Since I’m on top of trends AND style at the moment, I was able to spot a few good pieces in stores that I would normally skip. I’m sure you’ll recognise the patterns I bought from some of my earlier posts on trends! I got them for a great bargain (most of these were not more than $20) and I’m looking forward to showing you how I wear these pieces.

Happy shopping but please choose wisely and make your dollar count! And if the sales are not yet on in your town, bookmark the post and read before shopping!

Are you going to do some sale shopping this season? What are you looking out for? Do you make many sale shopping mistakes? Oh, and for a little fun, can you guess what the items in the pictures are? (eg. dress or top, 6 items in total)

1 Heather Fonseca

Excellent advice! I love sales but like you I try to stay focused and not go crazy buying things I’ll never wear. It happens to the best of us though! Recently I’ve been buying things full price and for the most part I’m happier with what I purchased than I am when I go crazy at a sale.

Can’t wait to see your new clothes!

2 Sylvia

You’re right. Sometimes it’s better just to skip the sale. Or you can go to the sale and just shop for the perfect piece….

3 Suzanne

I always love to shop and at this time of year there are many presents to buy too. My favorite store has 3 large sales annually and because I am a VIP with them (based on how much you spend per year) I get to shop these sales before the general public. I usually know what items I am looking for or I have seen something I really want (as compared to something I need) and grab it the second it is marked down. But I have also learned that if that truly fabulous piece comes along that I do not want to live without – I buy that immediately at full price. Stores stock only a few pieces in really small sizes so those sell out the quickest. I have purchased dresses in the morning that were totally sold out by afternoon. Sometimes items are sold out in the presale and never even make it to the sale. If it is an item I really want I do not wait for a sale.
When my children were younger I liked to buy their clothes at the day after Christmas sale. Now that they are older and have a set style I no longer do that. If I see something marked down that they would like I buy it but that is just a happy coincidence.
I can not guess from looking what the 6 items you purchased are. I think the first is a dress and the striped one on the far end might be a top. I love the dots on the second garment in but have no idea what it is. Everything looks like it can be mixed and matched.

4 Sylvia

Yes I do buy things at full price too. But these days I only do that for items I really need. For example if I see a really nice dress, but really don’t have a party to go to the next couple of weeks, I will not buy it. I may remember it though and return for the sales, which gives me more freedom to buy things that I desire as opposed to what I need. I’m also lucky that I’m in Singapore and here I have a big size. Since most Singaporeans are tiny, the big sizes are often still there…

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