It's that time of year again. The time of year that retailers are marking down their end-of-season items to make room for the next season. While it's tempting to start filling shopping bags with found bargains, before you walk up to the register, consider these things:
1) Three Outfit Rule. You must have three outfits in mind before you buy that one piece. (Bonus points if you can make it work into both spring and fall seasons.) Think about what's in your closet and how this piece integrates into your current wardrobe. Just because you love it at the moment doesn't mean you need to own it.
2) Trend or Staple? If the item is a strong trend piece, is it something you can only wear once before people will say, "Oh, here comes Jill in that same color block Marc Jacobs dress"? If so, is it worth that one wear to you? That's your decision. (I say yes if you look fabulous!) If it's a trendy item that you'll only have a few seasons, at least you got it on sale. Hey, it's 65% off and you look hot! If you find a good deal on a basic piece that you'll have forever and wear all the time (see sample list here), then you don't have to feel guilty about buying it, especially when it's on sale.
3) Don't get excited just because it's on sale. Think of the item being full price when trying it on. When you're not blinded by the sale tag, you will be more thorough in the dressing room. How does it fit? If it needs some alterations, will those negate the mark down? Is it flattering for your figure?
For most major retailers, current mark downs are just beginning. You still have another couple of months before they're at their lowest prices. If you're not familiar with the store's sales cycles, ask the sales associates. They'll probably tell you they don't know when it will be marked down again, but they can tell you if there will be another sale. If you're just sport shopping (the kind of shopping you do when you have no real agenda or occasion you're shopping for), then consider returning for another round of cardio when the next markdown hits.
The good thing is that the stuff on sale right now is wearable right now. Spring items are being marked down to make room for fall deliveries, so if you need a few updates to your current season's wardrobe, sales are a good time to do it.
Do you have any good rules you follow when shopping?