Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shop & Save Tip #1: Don't Pay Retail!

Wearing my sale finds: a $10 tunic from H&M (marked down from $29.99) and a $15 leather belt from Zara (down from $50) 

Ok, I know, I know this took like, forever. I just have so many shopping tips to share, I knew I'd have to devote a lot of time to writing that post. So, I just decided to break it down into chewable bits, and go at it when inspiration strikes!

Before I expound on Tip #1, let me start off with these basic shopping rules that I live by:

- Buy ONLY what you LOVE. How do you know it's true love? "When you love it, set it free. When you come back for it, and it's still there, it's meant to be!" That means, don't be impulsive. You can hang on to the piece you want, try it on in the fitting room (sometimes, after trying it on, you realize it's not all that it's cracked up to be, so goody for you!), walk around the store with it as you shop, then decide if you can walk away. Don't run to the cash register by reflex (unless it's the last piece in your size, it's a great deal or it's love at first sight and you absolutely have to have it). I try to sleep over my purchases, especially major purchases.  If I can't stop thinking about it over so many days, then I seriously consider buying it. More often than not, I also try to wait for the piece to go on sale. If it's no longer there, then I just take it as a sign that it's not for me. One thing I learned, with my years of experience, if it's a forgettable piece, then it's something you can live without anyway. Besides, when the season ends and the stuff that you do want finally go on sale, the acquisition is just so much sweeter!

Oh, and to add, as with relationships, don't ever settle. You'll find that you will still be pining for your true love if you go for second best. If you really want a Birkin, then quit buying Bottegas and Chanels. If you add up 4 to 5 of these bags, you've got your Birkin, honey!

- Quality Over Quantity. Always. Really. You don't need 20,000 pieces in your closet. Just a few, really nice, well-made, well-fitting pieces and you're all set. Take note, I did not say expensive. It's all in the fit and the quality of the fabric. When you invest in quality, I learned, you can live with a few articles of clothing. When it comes down to it, how many of your clothes do you really wear all the time? Of your stuff, how many are classic enough to last you years without making you look like a fashion victim in 2 years? Haven't you learned by now that disposable fashion is well, disposable? Stuff from H&M and Forever21 are fun and cheap, and go for it if you are spending less than $35 or Php1600 an item (my personal max, I can't bear spending over $35 for one piece at H&M). But don't go overboard. While quality  pieces may cost more than 2, 5 or 10x what you would normally spend, an investment piece will reward you with style dividends in the long run. Remember too, there are quality pieces out there that won't cost you an arm and a leg. I find that when I stick to pieces made of 100% cotton vs. polyester or synthetic fabrics, then they are easier to care for and last me a long time, even if they're from H&M or Old Navy.

- Edit, edit, edit. Not only your closet but in your head as well. When you shop, try to think if you are buying something that will go well with what you already own, or if it is a crucial piece that will enhance your wardrobe - i.e. key piece or clutter? Don't get caught too up with the trends. In the end, if that dress that looked so cute on Alexa doesn't really do much for you, then it's just a waste of money. Stick to your own personal style and invest in that.  You also don't want to look at your photos years from now and gasp, telling yourself, "What was I thinking wearing that?!"  

When you keep all these "rules" in mind, you'll see that you'll end up spending your money wisely because you only buy what is necessary or succumb to pieces that will enhance your style.

All these being said, let's now go on to TIP #1: Don't Pay Retail!

I love it when I buy something on sale! It's just a different high. I hardly ever pay full price for my clothes. When it comes to shoes, it's still 50/50. Most of the shoes I want hardly ever go on sale. The mind is willing, but the sole is weak.

How to Follow TIP #1:

- Wait for store and online sales (Major sale seasons in the US and UK are in January and July), but stores like Anthropologie and H&M have sale sections in store practically year round
- If you're in NYC, frequent sample sales
- If you have chums who work in showrooms, that's where the deals are! Wholesale prices, woohoo!
- Shop in sale/flash sites like The Outnet, Gilt Groupe, Ideeli, Rue La La and Beyond the Rack
 - Troll eBay! Just make sure you deal with reputable sellers. I've bought a brand new Manoush seersucker dress for less than $10 and a brand new military jacket with gold buttons for less than $45 (it was over $100 at Anthropologie  two seasons ago) among many other great finds!
- When shopping online, make coupon codes work for you! Don't ignore Free Shipping coupons, that'll save you at least $7 on average
- Stores typically give you 10% off for snags, holes, missing buttons and tears on full priced items. Don't hesitate to point that out when you pay. If it's easily repairable and can be DIY'd, then there's no harm in getting a flawed piece. $3.50 off a $35 dress is still money that can be funneled into your shoe or bag fund!

Wearing a $31.50 drape dress with pockets from H&M (marked down 10%  from $35 because of an open seam on one side, but repaired and now covered with a belt from Topshop), earrings from Tom Binns, Simple 85 Loub pumps  

Oh hey, just because an item is priced below retail doesn't mean it's worth buying. Ask yourself, "Would I buy this at full price?" If the answer is no, then you have no business spending your money on it. Remember, buy what you love. Don't buy something just because it's cheap. Because quality trumps quantity in the long run. And you don't want to edit your closet only to toss out something that you bought just because it was a bargain. Capisce?


Caddy said...

Great tips! I also tend to shop only when stores go on SALE!!

Lisa said...

These are great tips! I do find myself paying full price for an item if it's something I really love because my size tends to sell out quickly, but if it's an expensive item I'll wait for a sale. And you're right, quality doesn't always equal a sky-high price tag. It pays to read fabric compositions on labels and pay attention to the condition of the garment when you buy it!

Anonymous said...

Those are valuable tips, I'll remember to keep them in mind whenever I shop. Thanks a bunch!

~S from DC

raissa said...

Wow! Very valuable tips! I also dont pay full price. As for shoes, I sleep on it too and ask first how much mileage I will get from an item and if its worth the price of it. Its a good thing my sisters and I are the same size so we get a lot of mileage out of pretty much everything I have LOL

cd_mfo said...

Thanks Caddy! Yay for sales!!!

Thanks Lisa! Yeah, first thing I look for in clothes is the fabric comp! As long as it's cotton, I know it'll be easier to care for and last me a long time!

Hi Sharonel! Is that you? Thanks and you're welcome too!

Thanks Raissa! Yeah, same thing here! Mileage is very important in everything! Too bad I can't share clothes and shoes with my sisters, they're all much taller than me, ahaha!

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