Why it’s important to know your style and have a wishlist when shopping the sales

by Sylvia

Why it's important to know your style when shopping the sales | 40plusstyle.com

The months of July and August have become some of the major shopping months for me.

A big reason for that is that I’m usually travelling at that time and that most of the clothes I come across are on sale.Towards the middle and end of July some discounts go higher than 70% and I usually take that opportunity to shop top brands. They are all summer clothes which is perfect for me as I live in hot summer temperatures year round.

I always check out De Bijenkorf in The Netherlands, a major department store that is one of the only shops in Amsterdam that stocks premium brands like Preen, Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou.

Last year I snatched up this lovely Preen skirt (also seen here) and I later bought another Preen skirt in the sales at Farfetch online. That purchase also inspired my new online shopping strategy.

As I already feared, time constraints have prevented me from executing that strategy fully, but there are still some items in my wish list available and I’m patiently waiting for them to be heavily discounted. (and to arrive at my temporary address in New York so I can ship it somewhere!).


This year I came across this lovely dress from Mary Katrantzou. It was perfect in many ways. I loved the bold print, the dress was lined and 100% silk and I loved the slimming silhouette it gave me. One big huge problem though, it was a size too small and too tight.

I could have done what some stars do and just use it for standing events only but in the end common sense prevailed and I did not buy the dress.

Then I tried this other dress from the designer. This one fit perfectly.


It had an exquisite print and I loved the colors. I actually thought the dress looked good on me too. This dress had a few other problems though.

  • It was made in large part of polyester, a fabric I attend to avoid.
  • It also had thick lining into the dress, which gave it its shape, but again made the dress really warm to wear. Certainly too warm for Singapore and hot New York weather.
  • Most importantly, it did not fit my style. As much as I loved this dress and adored the print, this kind of ‘princess style’ is just not me. I don’t think I would have felt like myself in this dress, even though I think it is beautiful.

For these reasons I also let this one go. It was not an easy decision though. I almost felt it was worth buying this dress just to have a bit of fun with it from time to time or even display it in my office as a piece of art. For that reason I went back for the dress and perhaps reconsider but alas, it was already gone.

Stylewise though, I made the right decision. It’s very easy to be tempted by all these fabulous deals and buy things that are not really you. That is why it is important to understand your style and have a YES and NO list handy to remind yourself when you get tempted in the sales.

If you can’t really identify your style, don’t know your style personality or are currently in a style rut, then I highly recommend my popular style course.

Of course the sales are also a time when you can take a few more risks. If you had wanted to try out more prints for example or were thinking of trialling a new silhouette, then a cheaper item in the sales are an excellent way to try these out. But this tactic works better, when you have identified this new style as something you had wanted to try beforehand. That way you can make an informed and wise decision.

Too often we end with things from the sale that we hardly wear. I’m certainly not immune to this and I have written about this before here and here.

Of course I did not leave the Dutch sales empty handed and succeeded in my goal of adding some fabulous quality pieces from designers I love (Kenzo, Alexander Wang) to my wardrobe. I found many fabulous shoes too from new-to-me but unique designers. I did buy a bit more than usual as I have New York fashion week coming up and don’t want to look too bland in that world of fashionistas!

I made a point of adding more prints to my wardrobe of solid colors.

Still on my wish list:

  • A gorgeous printed dress (similar to the one I missed out on) This one looks very tempting)
  • A jump suit
  • The most fabulous red shoes (flats and heels)

Some online sales happening right now online include:

  • The Nordstrom Anniversary sale (only 1 week left: find some of my favorite picks at the bottom of this article)
  • Yoox has many fabulous designer items up to 60% off
  • Farfetch also offers many designer items on sale now

Have a look at a few more fabulous designer pieces I spotted in online sales that may tickle your fancy. All these were available at the time I added them, but it’s the sales so sizes could disappear quickly.

Do you have a shopping strategy for the sales? What have you bought in the sales sofar?


1 Beverly J. Taylor

Hi Sylvia,

You are so right. We all have mistakes in our closets. I force myself to donate them to a charity thrift shop so someone else can enjoy them.

Thank you for your shopping experiences. I feel like I’m shopping with you.


2 Marzena Fabisiak

Very interesting you are in sales, the second dress beautiful 🙂

3 lucy

Perfect tips, you perfectly stated that – it should suit your style.

4 Silvia DiPierdomenico

It’s so tempting at sales to buy something you hope will somehow magically fit later….Great advice here. I also recommend taking a photo of yourself so that you can really see what you look like; it’s the best way to assess fit.

With all of the prints out in stores now I’ve been branching out into wearing more color and texture – a secret love of mine that I just recently posted about. I agree that sales are a good way to take a risk with prints.


5 Christine Dodd

Good advice here – I’ve bought many a dress on the spur of the moment that just isn’t me.

6 Petra

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of shopping. Sometimes I’ve tried on outfits only to realise I love the style – on another woman! – but it’s not for me. I admire so many different styles and occasionally I feel like a change of “style personality” but I believe a list to carry around is a great idea. I was sitting at a cafe with my mum recently and we wrote out a list of items I needed to be able to wear with other items in my closet that I never wore – my list worked and we stayed true to it, and now I have 3 more outfits to wear. I’m incredibly pleased with myself!

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