A few months ago, I shared the brands I shop to build a closet full of clothes that I absolutely love. And today, I’m calling out how I shop because—letz be honest, the stuff I gravitate towards can be pricey. I have no problem investing in my clothes, but that doesn’t mean I can run to Saks every other week. Unless I wanted to live out the phrase “all dressed up and nowhere to go…because she broke.” (I added that last part.) To avoid bankruptcy, here’s what I do to stay focused and grab the items I want for a season.
- Make A List
It all starts with a list. I begin building mine a few months before a season. I’m starting to think about fall now. New fall usually hits stores around the first week of August, and is in full swing by September 1. Which is about the time I start getting ready to actually pull the trigger on anything.
I build my list on Pinterest and pull in inspiration images to keep me focused, which really helps me ensure I’m building a cohesive collection of clothes. Most of my fun summer pieces I bought for my Paris trip in May, but here’s a small version of what my summer list looks like – Kardashian vibes, anyone?
2. Start Obsessing
For the most part, I know exactly what I want to buy, but mama can’t always shell out $500 for a new pair of shoes at the drop of a hat. Double fashion pun! So, I start being a crazy ex-girlfriend and check in on the things I want endlessly. Another tip is searching the exact style on competitive websites to see if you can find it for less.
I’ll even go in-store and try the thing on so I know my size and am fully prepared to click “Buy” if the price drops. Once I did this with a pair of tan, suede Rag & Bone boots and got hella lucky. For whatever reason, these $500 boots didn’t sell super well, and one day I checked the Rag & Bone website (crazy ex-girlfriend shopper, here) and they had been marked down HALF OFF. HALF, you guys. I called the Soho store and picked them up that night. Cue the choir singing behind me.
Also, if you want a certain style of thing, and not a specific item, Google is your friend. Need a green long dress and want to pay less than $100 for it? Go for “Green Long Dress Asos”—usually something right-ish will come along.
The moral of the story is you gotta know your options, and check in on them.
3. Wait For The Weekend
I worked over a decade in retail and wholesale, and the one thing I know for sure is that most things eventually go on sale. This rule does not apply, however, to most designer bags, ready-to-wear, and shoes. A Chanel jacket or that new Gucci bag aren’t going on sale (at all, ever) so look on TheRealReal.com or just shell out the money, honey.
But for your Nordstroms, Zaras, Saks, Neimans, Macy’s, J Crews, etc., everything else will pretty much go on sale, and usually on the weekend. Hop on the website on Saturday and try your luck—you can typically score 15-30% off. Some retailers are super crazy and notice if you have something in your cart or even merely LOOKED at an item (eek! Technology is creepy) and may lure you back with 10% off. I’ll take it.
If your item is selling out quickly or you’re on a deadline, hit up ebates and just buy the dang thing. At least with ebates I get a few pennies back + points on my credit card. Hallelujah! All is not lost.
4. Stay The Course
Be choosey about what you bring home. Having a tiny New York City apartment has made me a master editor. I’ve met way way way too many women with closets literally overflowing with clothes and only 10 items in there that they actually wear.
Go back to your “inspiration images” and “the list” or look at the items you have that make you feel the most amazing—and look for more pieces like that. Getting dressed should be an empowering experience, not a chore! Beware of those $10 items from the Target sale rack that “kinda fit.” You’ll wear it once and never again and that, to me, is $10 I could have spent on coffee and a treat with a friend instead.
And that’s it! Get going on those lists, people. And tag me—@hihaleyannie—when you make them, I want to see what you’re shopping for this season. It’s going to be our best one yet.
xx – hh