Beware the bargains when you go shopping

26 June 2014

The sales are meant to be great hunting grounds for discounts, but research shows that half of Britons have wasted money shopping in the sales by buying things they never wear.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the problem is more of a female one, with 67 per cent of women admitting to making dud purchases in the sales compared to 43 per cent of men.

Nearly a quarter of women questioned admitted to buying items that were too small for them in the hope that they would diet into them.  

The study, carried out by top department store Harvey Nichols, also reveals that the most common mistake eager shoppers make is not trying items on. This results in a third admitting the items looked awful when they tried them on at home and a quarter saying they didn’t fit.

In other cases, fashion sale blunders are blamed on partners who hate the purchase, or the item in question going out of fashion before it is even worn.

Below is a checklist from Harvey Nichols' very own 'style advisors'. We hope this will steer you towards staying savvy in the sales and walk away with great clothes, while avoiding post-purchase regrets:

Get there early. This way you'll make sure you don't miss out on the best selection of styles and sizes.

Buy your size. Never buy clothes with the intention of ‘dieting into them’. We are all guilty of this and, more often than not, these are the pieces that remain unworn in our wardrobes. If you have found the perfect dress but can’t find your size, it is better to buy one that is slightly large as you can usually tailor it to fit you.

Know your wardrobe inside and out. Before heading to the sales, assess your current wardrobe and make a list of what you need. Focus on staples that need replacing and ways in which you can update existing outfits. Bring a list on the day to help you keep focused and stop you from making impulse purchases.

Do your research. Go online ahead of the sale to establish which styles and brands you like. This will help you to use your time efficiently and head straight for the brands you know you like first.

Bring a friend. Invite a friend along to offer style advice and stop you from making bad choices. Just be sure you choose someone you can rely on for an honest opinion and that you trust their sense of style.

Focus on staples and classic pieces. Invest in classic pieces and quality fabrics. Focus on beautifully-cut dresses, trousers, blouses and jackets which will take you from season to season.

Update a look with accessories. Accessories are a great way to add a contemporary touch to a classic look. Search for a great pair of shoes, statement necklace, or on trend handbag to transform and modernize an outfit.

Don’t forget to take a break. Effective sale shopping can be hard work so when your energy starts to deplete, stop and enjoy a well-deserved coffee, cocktail or glass of champagne. Or if you are really flagging, treat yourself to a manicure or massage. Just don’t get polish on the clothes!

Ask an in-store style advisor.
If you need help choosing the right look, find an assistant to offer their expert advice.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.