How to Shop Sample Sales and Seasonal Sales

If you’re in the process of building a capsule wardrobe and a closet bursting with items you love, a sample sale or general seasonal store sales can help minimize the cost of adding new items to your closet. Here is how to do it thoughtfully and with intention. Sharing practical tips for how to shop smart during a sale.

half zip sweatshirt for neutral fall look

Why You Should Shop Sample Sales

Over the last year I’ve been slowly purging my closet. Letting go of items that no longer fit, have been in my closet forever, or simply clothes that I am no longer excited to wear. And while I’ve been editing my closet almost monthly, I’ve also have been working to consciously replace these items with comfortable, evergreen clothes that fit my lifestyle. In a nutshell, my goal is to build a capsule wardrobe.

Because part of this puzzle includes shopping, and I am the type of person that heads straight to the  clearance rack, I had to set some rules for myself to keep on the path.

Here is my philosophy on how to shop sample sales and seasonal sales, and stock your closet with functional, affordable and timeless pieces without breaking the bank.

half zip sweatshirt september favorites

What to do before heading out to a sample sale

  • Scan your existing wardrobe for items you already have, so you don’t end up buying more of the same.

  • After purging and organizing my closet I realized I have a real penchant  for flowy blouses and tops in the purple, blush pink family. Because I know that I gravitate to those items naturally, I also know to now stay away from buying another top that looks like all my other tops. How many of you do this?

  • Make a mental list of what you actually need. If you know you want to find a perfect pair of white jeans or a new handbag, you’re less likely to come home with five new pairs of shoes because they were on sale. Knowing what you need, instead of seeing what they have, is key actually ending up with pieces that work for you.

  • Be comfortable, not hungry and have a hands-free purse. If going with a friend, separate instead of chatting, so you can focus on finding what you came for.

  • Set a realistic budget. This way you will be more critical of items in your cart.

Tips for Shopping Sample Sale

  • The most important part of sale shopping is asking yourself if you are buying this item because it’s on sale or because you love it.
  • Look for deals on items that are classic and evergreen instead of buying seasonal or highly trendy pieces. I spent a lot of time buying up funky print tops and trendy items that quickly go out of season. I also now stay away from funky prints, because I realized I tire of them almost immediately. You’ll likely wear a  plain beige or grey cardigan 10x more than a tribal print one. That’s the difference between finding a timeless item on a huge sale or buying yet another cardi you’ll be sick of in a month.
  • Only buy clothes that fit well and are in your size. Sometimes our eyes get so blurry and our blood rushes to our heads when we see a great deal, that we scoop up things that are not in our size, just to get the rush of the sale.  If those jeans don’t  fit you today, do not buy them telling yourself you’ll lose those 5lbs and then they’ll be perfect. I’m not saying that you won’t drop the weight, I’m saying that you have no idea if those jeans will fit, even than. Those jeans are simply not for you. Unless you regularly go to get your clothes tailored, that item that doesn’t fit will just sit in your closet forever.
  • If you’re not sure about an item, ask yourself if you would still pay full price for it. Could you see yourself wearing it, more than once? If the answer is no, leave it.
  • Do a final edit of the sale items you pulled. Love everything? If not, leave it.

What to look for at sample sales and seasonal sales

  • Good quality denim you won’t otherwise be able to afford or won’t normally pay that much for.
  • Big ticket items like coats, jackets, boots, cashmere, and bags.
  • Trendy pieces that fit your style to keep your wardrobe current
  • Accessories. A great way to update an old look.

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