Keep an open mind. Never, ever, ever go into a sale with a specific idea of what you want. Unless you know the item you really, really want. In which case just go online now and order it. Sales are for treasure hunting, for items you may have missed at full price, and sometimes for good reason, but which may turn out to be a wardrobe staple in a way that white lace dress you paid £60 for never will.
Beware of time wasters… When confronted with a whole rail full of an item on sale, chances are there’s something wrong with it. Sometimes you can find nice sale items available in every size, but to have three of each just screams ‘awkward fit’.
…and other faults. On the flip side, if you see an item you like and it’s all by itself, one of three things might be up. It may be misplaced and there may be a rail full of those same dresses around the corner – someone may have just left it there appalled (see point 2). It may be faulty – check the seams, check for stains, particularly for make-up. The third option is, it really is fine. You have struck gold. This is it. This item is… Oh, wait, new season.
Cheap doesn’t mean you need it. Just because something is only a fiver, doesn’t mean you need that synthetic black frilly flapper skirt. And stop fooling yourself that you will sell it later on eBay for double the money. You will never get round to it.
Be realistic. If something feels uncomfortable or tight in the shop, it is likely to be uncomfortable and tight. Don’t buy something in a smaller size just because yours is sold out.
Like really realistic. If you are that way inclined, only buy high heels you can realistically walk in. Having a nice pair you never wear because you would topple over in three steps is not worth it. Just walk on by.
Match… Make sure whatever you buy goes with the rest of your clothes. You don’t want to have to purchase a whole new wardrobe just so you would have something to go with that bargain you found. So if all your trousers are red, don’t buy a green top. Unless you’re going for The Elf look. Then only buy red and green.
…but diversify… However, don’t buy another pair of red trousers if you already have four pairs. Unless it’s your favourite pair and you will want to keep wearing it forever and ever and ever. There’s a curious balance in shopping for clothes: you don’t want to end up with a wardrobe of mismatched items. But equally, you don’t want to be one of those people whose entire wardrobe is made up of plain white shirts and identical black trousers.
…and enjoy. Have fun. No, who am I kidding? Most people don’t ‘enjoy’ sales. But the thing you can enjoy is experimentation, trying something on and realising this item may just become your favourite purchase ever. That’s not too bad, is it?