Though many would seek absolution by claiming that “everyone” falls foul of the invitation to spend when the item in question has a perceived utility that increases in direct proportion to the level of discount, I am troubled by the fact that the afflicted, including myself, may be less numerous than I hoped.
The big problem with sales is that they deceive us into believing we are better off buying more with less than less with more. As a man who dislikes monotony, I am particularly seduced by the idea of adding quantity to my wardrobe. However, there are some things that I have learned from my extensive, and often disappointing, experiences when it comes to seasonal reductions.
Always buy shoes
The greatest value I have extracted from sales is in buying decent shoes. Some of the smallest higher end outlets, Cleverley and New & Lingwood being excellent examples, have reductions up to 50% off their stock. However, department stores are also good places to secure high quality shoes for a bargain price. Selfridges and Harrods offer a range of mid to high end English and Italian shoe brands for at least 30% reduction, which increases towards the end of the sale period.
Look out for high quality ties and pocket squares
I am a sucker for bargain vintage eBay ties, but the winter sales are one of the best opportunities to purchase a higher standard of tie and pocket square in classic shades and patterns. Out of sale time, the prices are rather forbidding – and, frankly, offputting – but come January, they begin to represent good value, particularly at venerable retailers like Drakes and Ralph Lauren.
Create a most-wanted list
One winter sale, I walked out without a clue what I wanted to find and ended up carting back more than 10 items. I have used a couple of these regularly, but a lot of the other things ended up being stored, or thrown, away. On another occasion, financial penury forced me to write a list of ‘must haves’ that limited my search and spend, resulting in purchases that have seen far greater utility. Opening your mind isn’t always helpful, and distracts you from the items you need the most.
Don’t shop alone
I’ve never been one to advocate shopping with others but sale shopping alone can be problematic, particularly given the length of dressing room queues and the potential lack of mirrors. The other thing that a companion gives you is some relief from the intensive consumerism, which is essential if you are to maintain mental stamina for the challenge. Just make sure to invite someone who knows you well enough to know what you would and wouldn’t wear.