Closet 101 Style

How I Shop Sale Season

I’ve been fairly badly behaved this sale season (with the worst likely still to come – Chanel finally is gearing up for presale, just letting you all know). Last year when I did a little sale post, I received a few requests on how to “sale shop”. I don’t consider myself the best authority on this topic, especially not for in person shopping, as I have weak stamina and in my current state, need to visit a bathroom every 20 minutes. However, I do have a few routines and mantras that I tend to follow each season, which have served me well.


1. Bookmark everything throughout the season, in one place. Whenever I see an item while shopping online that I really, really like (but the price is just too unpalatable), I usually will save the link on a Google Docs spreadsheet that I keep, with a small description next to it. Throughout each season, I’ll add to the spreadsheet. Then when sale hits, I dedicate about an hour and go through all of the links. If you do the same thing, you’ll probably find that a good number have gone on sale…but you may also find that you no longer need to have all of them! A great way to both cull your overall list, as well as score those items that do make the cut, on sale.

For this to really work to its full effectiveness though…

Some of my sale tryouts last year, via this post

2. Try it all on beforehand (as much as possible). Years ago, before they got really popular, I was able to score a pair of classic black leather Manolo BB pumps for something like 50% off. A price which I’ve never seen again, especially not on the classic black leather pair. Unfortunately, I hadn’t tried them on before, so ended up going with my normal Blahnik size. The shoes arrived…only to be just a tad too big for me, even with inserts. And of course, the size that I did end up needing? Gone, gone gone.

So, lesson learned? Try it on before, in person (if possible). I’m a really lazy shopper, and understand the temptation to just order everything online and return what doesn’t work later. But sometimes, it is better to take the time to at least try on the things you’ve been looking at in store – it not only helps you know your right size, but sometimes will eliminate items that end up looking not-so-good on you as they did on the mannequin.

Once I do find a winner and a proper size, I’ll usually go back and update my Google Doc (if I remember).

And finally…

3. Find the right sales associates…and then stay loyal. In my opinion, sales associates are like potential boyfriends. Some tell you they’ll call you for a date (or in this case, when the Prada pumps you’ve been eyeing will hit second cut), and you never hear from them again. Some flirt with you and are hot and day they’ll call you with a screaming deal and you’ll be in love with them, and are certain you’re going to have a long and wonderful relationship with each other… and then you never hear from them again.

But there are some fantastic, wonderful sales associates out there, and if you find one that you click with, be nice and be loyal! I always try to shop with my same favorite sales associates at various department stores and boutiques. It’s way funner to shop with someone that you like and can chat with…and over time, they can develop a great sense for your taste. Some of my favorite pieces are items that I didn’t think I wanted, but which I tried on due to the prodding of a sales associate. The best ones dress a lot of people and have a great eye..and also a lot of helpful advice to share. Sometimes if an item costs more with someone, I’ll still buy it with them…the service and overall relationship is worth it.

What are your tips and strategies for getting the most out of sale season?

You Might Also Like

  • Jenny
    June 8, 2015 at 9:34 am

    The spreadsheets with the links and the try-on information to prep for sales are both such good ideas!! It’s so smart. I gotta use that haha

    • Katherine
      June 8, 2015 at 11:06 am

      Yes try it out! Annoying to use at first but pays off in the end 🙂

  • Whitney Farris
    June 8, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Sales associates can be even better than potential boyfriends! I had a sales associate at a very renowned jewelry store send me items for preview. If I liked them,she charged them to my account, if not……back they went.

    • Katherine
      June 8, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      She sounds wonderful! Yes 100% agreed on the SA versus potential boyfriend debate!

    • Jaime Stephens
      June 9, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      Our friend Wendy!

  • Cassie
    June 8, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Love that first suggestion! I’m going to have to start a tracking document too. Thanks for sharing!

  • bisbee
    June 9, 2015 at 5:50 am

    All great ideas…especially for high-end items! I absolutely love those Ferragamo espadrilles…but I will keep an eye on them for a deeper cut. I’m sure they’ll be gone…

    • Katherine
      June 9, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      Maybe you’ll get lucky! Bookmark and check back 🙂

  • delaney
    June 9, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Thanks for the great advice! Do you use any price tracker mobile or web apps (the ones where you add an item and the app notifies you when the item has gone on sale)? I used to use shopping notes but I’m wondering if there is something better out there…

    • Katherine
      June 9, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      I dont’ use any….just my manual spreadsheet 🙂 Let me know if you find a better alternative!

  • Ava
    June 21, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Dearest Katherine,

    You hit every point spot on! How very organized and very true!

    The most important point (for me at least) is my relationship with my SA’s. Some of them have become good friends and I cherish these relationships. To boot, the ones who I am just very friendly with, they take very good care of me even if I haven’t seen them in 6 months – and I think it important to note that even as a client it’s important that we nurture the relationship with our SA’s. For example, when I get invited to certain events or get invitations to certain sample sales, I will always extend it to my SA’s as I would to any of my friends. It’s only common sense to me, but I am always surprised to hear when any of my own friends happily tout their sale finds and admit that they never shared any of the pre-sale info with their devoted SA’s …frankly, it baffles me.

    Perhaps I am just odd, but wouldn’t it make sense to take care of those who take care of you?

    Excellent post, Katherine!