5 Summer Sale Shopping Hacks

Emma Does Fashion
by Emma Does Fashion

Clothing sales are a minefield. It's so easy to fall into the trap of buying things because of big yellow labels screaming '70% OFF!' and telling you that something is now £10, down from £100. Sometimes you have to stop yourself and think, 'Is this actually a bargain?' Here's 5 good shopping habits to instil in yourself to save money any time of year but especially during sale season.

A great way to build a capsule wardrobe filled with things you love and always want to wear is to only buy clothing that you've been thinking about for a really long time. This doesn't have to be a specific item of clothing from a particular brand but can be something like 'a classic white shirt' or 'a new pair of work trousers'. Keep a list on your phone (this is better than writing a notebook because your phone is usually somewhere on your person) and update it whenever you realise you've been wanting or needing a certain piece for a while.

On the flip-side, if you um and ah about an item for too long, it may go out of stock and never come back into stores again, so I find 2 weeks is a good amount of time to give myself before I commit to buying something.

One way that the summer sales tend to catch buyers out is with gorgeous colourful clothes that have been cut down to amazingly low prices. We've probably all bought a brightly-coloured top for £7 off a sales rack. But do you ever stop to think about whether you've got anything to actually wear that top with?

When building a capsule wardrobe, it's a great idea to stick to a palette of colours you actually know yourself to wear. Neutral colours are great to keep on hand because they go well with each other as well as any bright colours you bring into your wardrobe.

For those of us who are neutral lovers but want to bring a little colour into our lives, colourful dresses are great because they can easily be paired with neutral accessories rather than having to find a separate top or bottom to go with them.

Another question to ask yourself when shopping the sales is, 'Can I wear this in more than one season?' A dress like the Topshop one above works for Spring and Autumn and can even work in Winter with the right outerwear and accessories. It could even work for cooler Summer days (we've been getting a lot of those in England lately).

When you root through a sales rack, do you look at the price before you look at the actual item? This can really impact your desire to buy the item, especially in places like TKMaxx where you're hunting down big brands for low prices. Remind yourself to look at the colour, the material and whether you actually like the item before you check out the price.

The floral H&M dress above was around the £20 mark. This was a massive bargain because I have worn this dress more times than I can count and I still feel amazing when I wear it. I also have owned items from brands like Ted Baker that I bought because, 'Oh my god, it's Ted Baker and it's only £20!' But those items didn't suit me and made me feel frumpy every time I put them on and I quickly gave them to charity shops. I paid the same price but the dress pictured above is the only bargain.

One thing I can say without a doubt about this dress is that it absolutely 100% sparks joy for me. The most important questions you should ask yourself when shopping the sales are, 'Does it spark joy?' and then, 'Why does it spark joy?' If it only sparks joy because it's new and shiny, pop it back on the rail. If it sparks joy because it is exactly your style and you know the colour and silhouette will suit you, then buy it!

The 'sparks joy' criteria (obviously stolen from Marie Kondo) is the most important one because it's important to remember not to overthink things. All of these questions you're asking yourself while shopping the sales are helpful and will save you a bit of money but sometimes you have to throw the rulebook out of the window and buy something because you really love it, even if it is a new colour for you or you can only wear it one season. Definitely try to cultivate a colour palette in your wardrobe and make your clothes work for lots of different events, but at the same time, remember fashion is fun and sometimes you just need to treat yourself!

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

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