Forget Christmas… The best thing about this time of year is the sales. (OK, no, I lied: Christmas is the best. But sales come a close second). One of my favourite recently added Christmas traditions is the annual pilgrimage my sister and I make to Space NK on Boxing Day to snap up all the half-price gift sets. So much so that I'm a bona fide sales pro by now. I know exactly what to grab off the rail and what to leave behind in the bargain bin. So many people end up falling foul of that tantalising red ticket and ending up with an expensive haul of items they never really wanted that much. So here are my 3 golden sales shopping rules to stick to:
1) Don't buy it if you didn't already love it.
That item you returned for not looking quite right earlier in the year won't suddenly fit you better just because it's cheaper. My strategy is to keep my wish list on Pinterest and use these links as my first port of call. Of course you don't always have to have already been in love with the exact item, but if you find yourself drawn to styles and colours you'd never considered before, step away.
2) Only buy returnable items.
Almost all stores offer full refunds on sale items nowadays, but be sure to always check (up until recently Whistles would only offer exchanges on sale stock, for example). You need to be able to return sale purchases, and you need to be willing to do so as well. My strategy is buy loads, then weigh them all up against each other and only keep the top 10 or 20%. It's much easier to tell whether you really want that top when you've got to prioritise it against 6 others.
3) If in doubt, stick to classics, beauty and accessories.
Steer clear of trend pieces. Even if you still love that trend from last season now, you probably won't in another year. With clothes, stick to tried and tested but quality classics. Perfect items to snap up in the sale include cashmere knits, leather jackets and good quality jeans, because these can be expensive full price but will never go out of style. I count lingerie in this category too: you can't go wrong with a half price silk set. Failing that, beauty gift sets are always my number one sale tip, and accessories are also far more likely to stand the test of time than clothes.
With that said, below are my top picks, all falling into the classics/beauty/accessories categories (either already reduced or I'm hoping they will be…)