Tips for Shopping the Designer Sale

Manolo Blahnik BB Pump

It’s one of my favorite times of the year and not just because Spring weather has arrived, even though I love that, but because it’s time for the designer sales to start. If you’re in the market for something designer then now is the time to start getting your game plan together. This is the time where I have found some of my most favorite pairs of shoes and you guys know I love my shoes.

Designer sales happen twice a year. First around Memorial Day and then around Black Friday but personally I’ve always found that the best deals are during the Spring sales. And while I speak of designer items it’s not just shoes, although that is what I look for the most, it’s everything from bags to clothes to jewelry. So no matter what you have your eye on, you’re bound to save some money on it this month.

With designer sale season hot on my mind, I figured now seemed like a good time to share some of my secrets to tackling this sale season so you can score some designer pieces that you might be lusting over. Like with everything in life, having a good plan is the key to success.

Once the designer sales open the discounts happen in phases, the first price drop to the last. Hence, Neiman Marcus’ First Call and Last Call. The final end of sale season means you can potentially find items up to 80% off. Although by this time sizes and color choices are extremely limited.

Know Your Size

Honestly, this was a huge game changer for me when it came to scoring items on sale. When I say know your size I don’t necessarily mean knowing that you wear a size 8 shoe or small shirt. I mean know your size in the item you have your eye one. So when I see something I like, I try it on and confirm my size and then just wait for it to go on sale. Sale items go fast, especially designer items and if you know the size you need ahead of time, you can pull the trigger on the item once it goes on sale. 

Use the Cart Method

I learned about this method many years ago thanks to The Mothership. Basically, the cart method is adding the items you want to your shopping cart but not hitting that checkout button. So long as you have an account with the retailer and are signed in, you can check your shopping cart to see if the price has been marked down. You should see my Nordstrom shopping cart…no kidding it’s got about 50 things in it. This is a little tricky though because even if it’s in your cart, it doesn’t mean the item is still available. You'll have to proceed to checkout to see if it's still available for purchase. Also keep in mind that it doesn't work this way on every retailers site.

Make a Watch List

In this day and age of technology, this might seem a bit old school but this has been my go-to way to check for items that are on sale. I have a notepad doc on my laptop that includes the links to the items I’m “watching”. I add a link to the item from about 5 different retailers that sell what I’m looking for. Every week or so I spend 5 minutes quickly clicking on those links and see if the item is on sale and how limited the sizing is getting. I have a found items from the list that have been marked down (not during sale season) at one retailer and full-price at all the others. I'm pretty certain there are some apps that can alert you when price drops but I prefer my method; if it ain't broke?!

 

 This Veronica Beard jacket is beautiful but I wasn't paying retail because it's unlined so finally after watching this for almost eight months I got this at 70% off.

This Veronica Beard jacket is beautiful but I wasn't paying retail because it's unlined so finally after watching this for almost eight months I got this at 70% off.

 These Givenchy flats were one of those items that I got outside of the sale season because one of the retailers marked it down when the others had it for full-price.

These Givenchy flats were one of those items that I got outside of the sale season because one of the retailers marked it down when the others had it for full-price.

 I seriously stalked this leather sleeved Theory wrap jacket for a little over a year when I finally found it. I was cleaning up my watch list and checking links when low and behold this beauty was on sale.

I seriously stalked this leather sleeved Theory wrap jacket for a little over a year when I finally found it. I was cleaning up my watch list and checking links when low and behold this beauty was on sale.

Get to Know Sales Associates (SAs)

There have been times that an item has been sold out online but I’ve reached out to an SA and they were able to locate it in one of their stores. Additionally, with the rise of social media, especially Instagram, many SAs have their own accounts and posts photos of items and better yet, they post when items are going on sale. Some of them will even send out a list of all the items that are going on sale ahead of time and you can work with them to preorder the item before the sale hits the public. A few of my favorite SAs on Instagram are: @thenashvilleshoeguy @5thavenuehustler @coco.christina @peggyurban_nordstrom_seattle

Know the Return Policy

While most retailers have decent return policies, some start putting limits on them once the sales start especially if they are last call. Typically, when they are trying to get rid of the last bits of inventory, it’s final sale time and no returns are allowed. Retailers don’t want last season items coming back into inventory weeks later. So double-check the policy and fine print before making that purchase.

Don’t Buy It Unless You Love It

It’s so easy to fall into the “but it’s on sale” excuse when it comes to designer items. But even on sale you are still dropping your hard earned money so make sure you really love it. I don’t know about you but I certainly don’t like to waste money. So staying true to buying something you really love will help you build a special collection.

Get On The Mailing List

Okay so I know the last thing you want is another email but that's why you have a junk email account, right?! Well, those annoying emails you get also have little gifts in the form of discount codes. You'll be the first to get early access to sales, the first to shop friends & family sales, and be in the know for exclusive discount codes and special sales. Some of the discounts codes have designer exclusions but you'll be surprised what you might be able to use them on. I also try them anyway. 

 

 I bought these YSL boots during last Spring sale season. Yup, a year ago and I didn't wear them until last Fall. Totally worth the wait. Scored them at 65% off.

I bought these YSL boots during last Spring sale season. Yup, a year ago and I didn't wear them until last Fall. Totally worth the wait. Scored them at 65% off.

 I got this Arrivals Leather jacket at almost 40% off because of an email I received about their end of season sale.

I got this Arrivals Leather jacket at almost 40% off because of an email I received about their end of season sale.

 These Gucci sandals were a major score for me. I got them for almost 80% off because I was patient and waited. I couldn't find them in my size online so I reached out to an SA and they found a pair.

These Gucci sandals were a major score for me. I got them for almost 80% off because I was patient and waited. I couldn't find them in my size online so I reached out to an SA and they found a pair.

While this isn’t specific to shopping designer sales, you can still score designer items for less in the second-hand and discount market. Designer sites like The Outnet and Yoox offer current and previous season items at a discount. If you don’t mind buying gently worn or used items, there are many sites that specialize in reselling designer items such as The Real Real, Vestiaire Collective, and Le PrixThese second-hand sites will allow you to get high-quality items (that have been authenticated) for less and sometimes they are pretty close to brand new. 

So if you've got your eye on something now would be a good time to go see if it's on sale. You never know what you might find. Most designer sales start next week so get those wallets ready. And if you find something good, let me know. 

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