FASHION 101: HOW TO SHOP A SALE

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The word SALE can send the most sane women into a confused, excitable, unable to make smart decisions mess. Too often you’ll end up with items that will never see the outside of your closet because they are too small, too out there, too not you, too so last year. Fear not, there is a way to beat the sale, you just need a plan, and I just so happen to have one for you.

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH

YOUR WARDROBE: After clearing out your closet (see guide here if you need) you should be able to see what items are missing. Do you have enough separates to mix and match with each other? Do you have the right shoes to complete your outfits? Are there any of your essential or basic wardrobe pieces that are getting a little worn and will likely need to be replaced soon? Make a list of those pieces.

FAVOURITE STORES & DESIGNERS: Now it’s time to make sure you sign up to your favourite stores and designers email newsletters and follow them on Facebook so you are first to know when a sale is starting. Look at these stores prior to sale season and find specific items that fit your most wanted list, remember to keep note of this.

2. CHOOSE YOUR METHOD

ONLINE STORES: I really don’t like the frenzy of a sale, I much prefer shopping from the comfort of my own home, with a glass of wine if I need to relax a little! Also by shopping online I have so many more options, there’s a smaller amount available in the physical stores where I live. If you also decide to do your sale shopping online, if possible make sure you know your size in most designers first, as obviously you won’t have the opportunity to try on clothes before purchasing.

PHYSICAL STORES: If you do decide to go into the store to shop, go soon after the store opens so it isn’t too busy and make sure you wear comfortable clothes that are easy to remove, slip on shoes and if possible wear a bag that goes across your chest so your hands are free. Yes this is serious business.

3. SALE DOS & DON’TS

DON’T settle for items that are close to your wish list but not quite – if you wouldn’t choose it full price, don’t now.

DON’T buy trend based items because they are ‘in’, you won’t have enough time to justify the cost before it’s ‘so last season’, remember the price per wear rule. Of course if you LOVE it and couldn’t care less if it’s a trend or not then get it.

DON’T be tempted to buy items that are a little too small or too big because of the discount, you won’t wear them. The exception to this is if you could alter it easily to fit. And for the love of your feet, don’t ever think you can fit into a size too small pair of shoes because they are just so stunning! I stupidly once bought gorgeous Marc Jacobs heels that were down from $900 to $400, I justified it as I was attending Australian Fashion Week and the shoes would be just perfect with everything I owned. The problem was they were a size too small and all the stretching in the world in the next week before I flew to Australia didn’t help. My feet were literally numb after the first day wearing them. Cost per wear = $400, ouch.

DON’T kid yourself. I’m sorry to break it to you, but the theory if you save 50% off a fabulous $400 dress, you are actually making $200 is not true. Money will still disappear from your bank account. And if that fabulous dress is a floor length evening gown, when you spend your days watching Peppa Pig and thinking up creative ways to hide vegetables in dinner, chances are you aren’t going to get a lot of wear out of it.

DO make sure you fully understand the returns policy, often you will find you can’t return sale items. However if you can, you may be more likely to buy those items you are a little unsure of, knowing you can return them if you decide they aren’t going to work.

DO google an item before you buy it. You could find it even cheaper at another store. I was so surprised when I googled a pair of $300+ Loeffler Randall sandals that I saw on Tash Sefton from epic blog They All Hate Us. I soon found a pair for just $65 from Amazon of all places, I didn’t even know they sold clothing or shoes?! You want to make sure you are getting the best deal before you finalise the purchase.

With this powerful new knowledge, you are now ready to go forth and shop, shop, shop…just keep calm and repeat – if it isn’t on the list, if it isn’t my size, if I don’t LOVE it, I WON’T buy it!

FASHION 101: GIVE YOUR WARDROBE A MAKEOVER

I have always dreamed of a wardrobe that was almost like a mini boutique in my own house. Working in fashion only increased that desire and watching Big gift Carrie that jaw dropping closet in the Sex & the City movie kind of tipped me over the edge!

When we began renovations on our home last year, very high on my wish list was a walk in wardrobe. Boring things like money got in the way of that (I’m still not over it). However we still did manage to steal enough space to give us a very generous size wardrobe, which is lucky as our bedroom is so small we can’t fit additional furniture like a set of draws alongside our king bed. Regardless of the space available, through clever organisational skills and smart styling choices, I know everyone can have a wardrobe that inspires them.

This is not a super quick process I warn you, but well worth it I promise!

wardrobe makeover 101

1. WIPE THE SLATE CLEAN
Take all of your clothes out of your wardrobe and draws and place them on your bed in piles of similar items e.g all dresses together, all t-shirts, all jeans etc.

2. TIME TO BE RUTHLESS
Try on every piece of clothing, group by group to help you decide whether to throw, give/sell or keep each item. Having a trusted girlfriend on hand through this process (and perhaps a glass of wine) will help.

THROW: Any items that are so worn you wouldn’t wear them out of the house need to be thrown out. Poor quality chainstore items often quickly appear in this pile, it’s not much of a surprise. But I was so, so upset to finally throw out several beautiful designer pieces that I had worn to death, but the fact was I hadn’t worn them in over a year because of the awful state they were in. Now I do have a little exception for this rule, I always keep a very small amount of old clothes for doing messy jobs around home, no need to ruin clothes you love when painting or cleaning!

GIVE / SELL: Any item that you can’t even remember when you last wore it, or if it’s two sizes too small or too large belongs here. You can either donate to charity, hold a clothing swap party with your girlfriends or if they are of good quality and especially if they are a designer label, put them either on trade me or sell through a consignment store. Personally I love the idea of a clothing swap with your friends, make a night of it with a couple of wines and you could end up making someones day and walking away with some great free clothes to take back home!

KEEP: What you should be left with is your very favourite pieces. Don’t breath just yet, there’s still work to do!

3. TIME TO ORGANISE
How you organise the clothing you have, really depends on the space available and your lifestyle. My current lifestyle of being a stay at home mum most of the time, sees me wearing a uniform of denim jeans or shorts with a loose fitting tee or shirt most days. So those are the items that need pride of place in my wardrobe. Think about your lifestyle? Are you a corporate worker? Are you always planning your next fun night out? Or perhaps you are a sporty girl that is most likely wearing lycra and trainers? Whatever your lifestyle, those STYLE STAPLES need to be most visible and accessible to you in your wardrobe.

STYLE STAPLE – TOPS: Hang up as many of your tops (camis, tees and shirts) as possible, it allows you to see your options so much easier that way. I find colour coding mine, the same way a clothing boutique does allows you to choose your outfits faster.

STYLE STAPLE – DENIM: Some may prefer to fold these out of the way in a draw, but as they are a style staple of mine, I stack mine by wash (dark, distressed, white) front and centre in my wardrobe.

STYLE REGULARS: These are the items that you wear often, but not everyday, so it’s still important to keep them visible. For me this is casual dresses, pants, blazers and my leather jacket. I hang them in order; skirts, dresses, pants, blazers and jackets, to keep them organised so I can easily see my options.

STYLE BASICS: Drawers are perfect for housing your basic wardrobe items. Allocate one draw per group of clothing. I have four drawers; one for my sporty gear, one for casual tees/knits, one for casual skirts/shorts and one for pyjamas. The drawers are actually quite small which works well as it limits the amount I can keep. Don’t jam pack your drawers or you’ll find it gets messy quickly and you are less likely to find anything you want to wear. You are better off moving some of those wardrobe basics to the GIVE/SELL pile.

SHOES: The best thing I did in our wardrobe was change the standard design to allow for shelving for my shoes. It means they don’t mess up the floor of the wardrobe and they are easy to see. I do secretly hide my not nice shoes at the back and only my favourites on display! If you have any space in your wardrobe, perhaps beneath a hanging rack, purchase a cheap white bookcase from Bunnings or Mitre 10, they moonlight as the perfect shoe rack!

my wardrobe organisation

ACCESORIES: Any favourite belts or bags I have displayed. I have little ‘S’ shaped hangers that hold them perfectly. Any others I pop in a basket on the top shelf of the wardrobe, so they are easily in reach but don’t clutter the space.

OUT OF SEASON: Currently the chance of you wearing chunky knit sweaters and thick winter coats is close to nill, so why let them take up valuable real estate in your wardrobe? I prefer to fill either a box or an empty suitcase with my out of season items and then store them out of the way. I still like to keep a couple of knits for colder summer nights, so put these in a basket at the top of my wardrobe for easy access if the mercury plummets.
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SPECIAL OCCASION DRESSES: I used to actually have quite a busy social life (seems a distant memory these days) and got plenty of chances to dress up in stunning dresses and sky high heels, I even kept my favourite collection of them on a clothing rack in my room so I could swoon at them whenever I wanted. Well times certainly have changed and now instead I group several dresses together in garment bags and keep them in the wardrobe in our playroom.
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4. HOWS IT WORKING FOR YOU?
I remember when working for a magazine, the owner drummed into me ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’. And he is damn right. The only way to know if your wardrobe is working for you is to measure the results. There are a couple of great tips to see if you are actually wearing the clothes you swear are your favourites. For any hanging items, turn all your hangers backwards, once an item is worn you can change it to face forwards. For folded clothing you could try placing something like a coloured piece of card on top of each pile of clothing, each time an item is worn you place it back on top of the piece of card. After a few months it will become obvious what you aren’t wearing – hanging items whose hanger is still backwards and folded items still beneath the coloured card, it may be time to consider moving them to the GIVE/SELL pile.

I would love to know how you get on with your wardrobe makeover! Please let me know if you would like any specific advice about your own space and how to make it work. The very best thing about having a well organised wardrobe is not only that it allows you to more easily choose what to wear each morning that makes you feel your best, but it becomes a lot clearer the items you are missing to make your wardrobe complete and what you need to put on your shopping list! (I love how I’ve managed to make this whole process yet another justification of shopping! It’s a talent I tell you!).