I love this time of year but it can also be overwhelming…all the gifts you need to buy but also all the emails in your inbox tempting you to ignore your Christmas gift list and buy all those items you didn’t know you needed but suddenly are very appealing because they are on sale - but are they REALLY good value? Below is a simple formulae to help you decide if something is actually good value and some quick tips to help you stay focused and avoid impulse purchases and sale guilt. January is hard enough without an empty bank account and a wardrobe full of clothes that you aren’t wearing. 

Good value = wearability + love + need

It’s that simple. Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean it is good value. You will end up with a wardrobe full of clothes that at the time were ‘a bargain’ but at the end of the day they are still a waste of money.  I’m not being a kill joy - I love the satisfaction of a sale purchase as much as the next woman. But I use my experience to navigate the sales and make considered purchases. It’s easy and fun… here’s how. 

TOP TIP 1. 

Value NOT Discount - Something is good value when you know you are going to wear it and it fits with your current wardrobe. Shop with a specific list in mind and don’t stray from that list. If you are looking for a jumper dress for example firstly you should read my blog on jumper dresses but secondly you should not use the discount as the main factor for making a purchase. Check the sale section to see if there is something that fits your specific criteria but don’t sell out. You won’t wear something that is too tight, the wrong colour or the wrong shape even if it is 60% off. 

TOP TIP 2.

Shop Online - some stores even let you add items to your basket before the sale begins for easy checkout. I like this strategy as it allows you to sleep on it and put some time between the raging impulse and the purchase. It also allows you to review it in light of your current wardrobe so you can imagine what you would wear it with. If you still love it the next day then you know it is a good buy. Shopping online also removes you from the competitive-shopper mode that can take hold when you are in-store

TOP TIP 3. 

Build a Wish List - Online boutiques like Net-a-Porter, Matches and Shopbop have brilliant wish-list functionality. Build your wish-list of pieces you love and need throughout the season, NOT just at sale time. This ensures when it is sale time you are buying something that you are have thought about for the whole season and was potentially out of your reach. The purchase is no longer impulse but premeditated and good value. I have some Gianvito Rossi boots, A Burberry trench and a cashmere polo neck from Acne on my wish list that I am planning on purchasing in the sale. They are timeless pieces that I know I will love forever and even more so for the discount! 

TOP TIP 4. 

Check the Returns Policy - If you are caught in the moment and making an uneducated snap decisions please make sure that you can return it and get your money back. 

TOP TIP 5. 

The Only Time it is OK to Buy the Wrong Size - If something is one size too big and the alteration is simple/doable/viable it’s ok to make a purchase. I have been known to do this with expensive items I couldn’t justify but when on sale now meet my budget expectations. I have an amazing tailor at The London Fashion Workrooms who works magic on my clothes. BUT never buy something that is too small for you now, you will never wear something that is uncomfortable. Also buying it in the hope it will give you the motivation to loose weight is not a good strategy, in my experience it only serves to demotivate you. 

Have fun with your sales shopping but be smart and strategic. If you need help then please get in touch. 

Penny Bennett is a Personal Stylist and Image Consultant covering London and the UK that will change how you feel about your wardrobe forever.