Secrets to finding crazy-good deals on clothes
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By Natasha Burton
Want to save money and shop like a pro? Here, top stylists and shopping experts reveal their secrets for snagging crazy-good deals and discounts, while staying ahead of the trends. Ready, set, shop!
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"Sale dates are often posted behind the scenes in a stockroom before they're publicly advertised," says David Zyla, Emmy Award-winning stylist and author of Color Your Style. "Talk to a salesperson about items you are interested in purchasing and ask them to give you a call or email you before upcoming sales—most work on commission and will be happy to have the business, even at a reduced price."
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"Websites and retailers reward members with secret discounts and promotional codes for additional discounts on sales, let you know about sales prior to non-members or even create exclusive members-only sales," says Colin McDonald, a New York-based fashion consultant and stylist. Worried about clogging up your inbox? Create a separate account solely for shopping-related emails.
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"Every type of clothing and accessory has a time of year when it's best to buy," says McDonald. Looking for a great pair of spring heels? "March is when the first round of markdowns will take place for the season and inventory will still be at its highest," says McDonald. The ideal time to buy jewelry? July and August. "These aren't considered gift-giving months, so retailers offer additional discounts and sales to ensure sell through," says McDonald.
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Make a personal connection with the buyers at the big volume chains near you like Target, H&M, Loehmann's and TJMaxx. Contact information can be found on store websites or through the corporate offices. "These buyers have all the shipment dates and stock lists for any new items," says Jeannie Mai, host of Style Network's How Do I Look? "They can tell you exactly what days their shipments get in so you can show up right when they open that morning and have first pick."
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"Before you buy anything online, search "coupon code" plus the name of the store. I typically find a code each time," says Mai. "Also, before you buy something in a store, search the style name and number online because you can always find it for cheaper."
Secret 67 of 9
Take advantage of the reminder emails that sites like RueLaLa send for only the sales you are interested in, then jot down their start times in your calendar, suggests Zyla. And scope out the brands you're interested in so you're prepared when you do get the email: "Most online purchases are returnable, but know your sizes prior to ordering,'" he says. This will save you the hassle of having to return items that don't fit.
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Check out the fashion institutes and fashion districts in the city nearest you for special sales (like FIT's Sunday sales in New York and the fashion district sales in L.A.), says Mai. Fashion schools often sell couture items as a way to clean house and give incentive for people to come in to check out the campuses and meet their emerging design students.
Secret 89 of 9
Don’t let a good bargain cloud your judgment. "There’s no point in having a closet of 'great deals' if you don’t wear them or they aren’t flattering," says Zyla. Before checking out, always ask yourself if you’d still love the item if it were full price.
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