Cute as a button

Avoid the hysteria- sales survival guide

We are all guilty of having something hanging in the wardrobe with the tags still on.

For Ms Button, it was the deadly combination of seasonal reductions and light intoxication that was the undoing.

North of the M25, the retail cathedrals close early. Here in London town, you can skip merrily from dinner straight into the arms of the ever open and all-embracing Regent Street.

There should be a breathalyzer at the till. The ‘drunk skirt’ hangs as a reminder as to what Ms Button can be capable of if left unsupervised- and that’s a scary thought. It is sandwiched between the chicest pieces as  a constant taunt that it will never measure up- (a studded Burberry trench and an All Saints victoriana inspired riding jacket if you’re curious)

There’s nothing inherently wrong with its gaudy print. It must flatter someone- just not me.

This is the risk we take when the overwhelming urge to empty the contents of the purse across the counter without any thought kicks in. For the days in between Christmas and New Year, temporary insanity descends. This year, be smarter- take precautions.


1. Don’t try out some place new

Familiarity is key here- be it with the physical location or the choice of store. Whilst experimenting with fashion is fun, you need time to become acquainted with a new brand. What may seem like love at first sight crumbles when the garment gets home and the fit is inspected. Too bad, the changing rooms were closed and the returns policy states exchange only- but who wants another pair of ill-fitting trousers in a different colour!

There’s also a lot to be said for shopping in the stores that you patronage all year if at all possible. You know the layout. You know if it even stocked the items mentally shortlisted before the sale started. You can be a lot more focused. You are also more likely to be recognised by the staff, who might be kind enough to look on the system and trace stock for a familiar face.


2. Be brutal – cheap doesn’t mean chic

If it’s not something you would ever think is worth paying the original price for, then don’t even bother. You deserve the best. Buying something you like that also happens to be reduced is a boon. Buying something because it is reduced is lowering your self-worth.


3. Do be prepared for anything

This sounds like preparing for armed combat, but you need to think ahead and be adaptable. You might be itching to flaunt your new party dress and lace up boots around town, but are they the most practical things to be getting in and out of? In the early days of the sales, changing rooms are either closed or the waiting time is hours. Returns are nigh on impossible, if even permitted. This means you need to wear something that it’s easy to slip things on and off around. Converse trainers are comfortable, casual and give you dexterity. Leggings and an oversized vest are easy to slip things over without distorting the way the pondered garment fits. Add a leather jacket and a snood and you are warm enough to brave the elements.


4. Stay true to size 

Keep in mind that sales are a way for stores to get rid of stock that is no longer required. A sale is doing the store a favour as otherwise it would have to store the item somewhere whilst it is not on the shop floor and this would cost. It makes sense then that what will be leftover won’t be a full complement of sizes. Don’t go a size down full of optimism about a new year exercise regime. Don’t go a size up full of enthusiasm about a few home-made modifications. Same with shoes- too small and you will give yourself a bunion, too large and you will have a foot that resembles elephantiasis due to wearing four socks at any one time.


5. Don’t be afraid to ask 

I’m not suggesting anyone tries to haggle with Selfridges as they would a Moroccan bazar, but a cheeky grin and smile when pointing out a small flaw could ring up an even bigger discount. Sale time means the stock is not as well loved. It is herded onto rails and forced to sit sideways. It might lose a button or a belt along the way. These small fixes can get extra discounts at the till-think of it as the reward for having to stitch your finger to the dress when adding the button back on. Sometimes it can even be a plus if you were thinking of changing the buttons in any event.


You might decide to bypass the sales entirely and glide straight into the new season. If so, please may I direct you to these stunning Christian Louboutin Pigalles? The classic court has been reworked into hot patent pink for spring- the Christmas distraction means all sizes are currently in stock…but these won’t hang around long!








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