7 things to know before you hit the sales

So the bargains have your name on them, and your name only.

By Gemma Askham

Do it right and you’ll nab the bargain of the century. Do it wrong and you could end up with any of the following: a credit card in the red, a black eye or a purple snakeskin jacket. Here’s how to avoid markdown meltdown and pick a purchase a fashion editor would be proud of.

Set a budget before you leave the house. Not when you’re in Witchery and all sense of reason has gone out of the window, and all savings into their till.

Grab classic-coloured items. Really wearable fashion in black, white and grey rarely ends up in the sale bin. Why? Because these pieces can easily be slotted back into next season’s rails without looking out of place (yep, even if they’re old – crafty.) If you see cut-price basics or other timeless items (leather, cashmere, blazers, denim), invest.

Don’t go hungover. Because if there’s one time when you don’t want to engage in a tug of war over the last size 6 shoe, it’s when you and your body are already engaged in personal war of their own. Alcohol sweats never made anything in life easier.

Join stores’ mailing lists. We know: constant email updates can be annoying as hell. Unless you want an insider heads-ups to the exact time a killer sale starts - in which case start signing up at a speed usually reserved for chomping down Christmas chocolates. (You can unsubscribe in February).

Check the refund policy. Because refunds don’t always apply to sale items. It’s not like we’re doubting whether you really want that feather bikini… OK, we are.

Have a strategy. Bags, jewellery and leather goods are the first items to fly – so target these first. We don’t want to panic you, but when The Outnet has a sale of Louboutin shoes, one pair goes every three seconds. Ok, we’re panicking. Run. We repeat, RUN.

When online shopping, search by size. It saves the disappointment of lusting after an item only to realise you can’t have it (which obviously makes you want it three million times more). And if you catch yourself thinking, ‘Oh, I’ll just buy it two sizes too big and get it taken in’ – log off now. This. Will. Not. Happen. (You know we’re right).