The sales are hot on our heels. And whilst I’ve already done a huge amount of damage (and managed NOT to buy a single Christmas present), there’s still much to be bought.

Hitting the sales with no direction or idea what you’re after is risky – I for certain get caught up in discount-mania and have managed to convince myself that I need a pair of sequinned salopettes for the day I decide to start skiing because the discount hit 70% or more. Wrong. Tally up these misinformed purchases and you’re looking at a pretty scary number.

Tip 1: Have a Clear Out

Before I start compiling ridiculous online wish lists, I make sure to clean out my closet. I try to be as ruthless as possible when I do this, even thought I’m not a big believer in the rule that “if you haven’t worn it in a year it’s unlikely it will be worn again”. The question I tend to ask myself is “do I feel good when I wear this?”. We all have certain pieces which are comfortable or that we keep because of the label or price but if you don’t feel fantastic when you put it on (even if it’s an old pair of jeans or a t-shirt you bought from Miss Selfridge in 1996) then it doesn’t earn a place in your wardrobe. Everything needs to deserve shelf space.

Once I’ve determined the bits that have to go, I separate these into piles: sell and donate. Anything that’s got a designer label and is in great condition is shipped off to be resoled (Vestiare concierge and The Real Real are my go-to’s since I no longer have time or the energy to sell things myself) and anything else is donated to shelters or sent to my nearest charity shop. Reselling clothes makes perfect sense to me; you’re being paid for something that’s essentially collecting dust which can go towards a better purchase.

Vita Kin Blouse

(This Vita Kin blouse was purchased on sale from Matches).

Tip 2: Make a List

When the carnage of the clear out is over, my next move is to make a list of what I’m missing in my wardrobe and what I know that I really want to buy. Anyone who knows me knows that I love a list and in this instance I make two lists. The first is what I want to buy from the current season. I generally write this when the new collections come out and decide what I can wait to purchase until the sales roll around and what I need to snap up immediately unless risk not finding it ever again. The second list is a general list that discards ‘seasons’. These are my big-ticket purchases (think a green sellier Kelly bag, Saint Laurent black teddy jacket etc).

On my current collection list, I make sure that I consider where the holes are in my wardrobe. I’ve come a long way from doing my weekly Zara and ASOS hauls and buying everything left right and centre whenever I got a 10% off coupon code. Fashion is so quick and the huge inventory of ‘stuff’ wreaks havoc on the environment so my mantra of shopping smart really gets me to think about my purchases. At the end of the day how much do we really need?

Stella McCartney denim jacket

(Another sale purchase from Stella McCartney)

Tip 3: Do Your Research

Once the emails start coming in on discounts start window shopping. Search for what you want on multiple different sites – you can often save a pretty penny on the varying discounts that stores offer.

Another way to research sales is to speak to sales assistants, as part of being a bit of a shopaholic, I’ve developed relationships with various stores in London which means I get into the sales previews (which generally translates into the pick of the litter).

Tip 4: Patience

Generally I have an idea of what’s ok to spend – I try not to get into the territory of having my Vodafone direct debit bounce and a family surviving off of soup for a week however I’ve learnt that there are so many online stores, so much inventory and constant discounts during the sales period that unless the item is at the top of your list and you have money to burn, it’s worth waiting and trawling the final sales at the end of January. You never know what you can unearth. Finally, the worst case scenario is just happening to stumble upon something you’ve wanted down the road – for example, I’ve been on the hunt for a floral Nina Ricci dress with lace accents and couldn’t stomach the $2,500 price tag years ago – I just found and purchased the dress (albeit in a few sizes too large which I’ve now sent to the tailor) for less than $80.

Celine Dress

(Probably my best sale find is this Celine dress which was discounted from over $3,000 to a bearable $120).

Hold tight for a couple weeks and I’ll post what I’ve bought and what I need to buy in the upcoming sales!

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