Christmas is yet to come but shops all around London have opened the sale season already!

Christmas shopping clothes experience Stefania Bartolomei top UK Personal shopper fashion stylist One of a Style London


Sales are tempting, aren’t they?! Everyone is waiting for the sales to get the chance to renew their wardrobe with new fashionable pieces; sales are the great opportunity we have, twice a year, to catch great “occasions”! Yet, it is so easy to make the bargain become a bad investment (not to say a waste of money)..

We are tempted by those tags reporting a 30%, a 40%, 50% discount on and even more, and most of the time we buy certain pieces just because of those numbers, thinking “I can’t let them go, that’s a real occasion”!! Yet, most of the time, once at home we realize we have nothing to wear with what we bought on sale, or that they do not fit us that well, and eventually we let them “age” in our wardrobe.

shopping sales personal shopper stefania bartolomei one of a style london

If we would count all the money we spent in one year on wrong purchases on sale, I bet it is quite a big amount! With the same money we could have bought something more valuable, really good for us, something truly useful to complement our existing wardrobe, or we could have simply them.tI am an image consultant and personal shopper and among my services there is the wardrobe edit. My words come for a reason.. through this services to my clients' I’ve seen so many of these situations, new items still with the tag on, never worn, bought ages before, and the answer to the question “why did you buy it?” is quite often the same: “it was an occasion!”... was it?!

Do not misunderstand me, sales can really be a bargain, but we need to understand how to shop wisely and avoid compulsive choices that would make them become only a "trick".

So here are some shopping tips, simple advice that can really help you to save your money, time and energy during the sale time: 

Ask yourself “would I pay for the whole price”?

Despite the discount, asking yourself this question will help you to understand the real value of an item and your real need of it. If the answer to this question will be "no, I wouldn't" , then leave it where it is.. it means you don't really love or need it and that you are tempted by the price and the discount = it would become a trick not a bargain.

Write down a list

It's always good to know what your wardrobe gaps are, but especially during sales time! Having your list with you during your shopping tour will help you doing a first important selection.

Go beyond that list just if you really fall in love with something, even if it is not mentioned in the list (but never forget point 1).

Stick to your style

Despite the fashion trends of the moment, despite the percentage of discount and the sales assistant persuasion, before buying something ask yourself if it really reflects your style and if you are really going to use it and wear it the next season! Sometimes we are tempted by celebrities or fashion bloggers, we want to wear what they wear and sales are just the perfect time to buy something extra to emulate our style icons. Very well, but what suits them won’t necessarily suit you, so always think if what you are trying on is really reflecting your personality and matching your lifestyle, otherwise it will last the time of the journey back home to become eventually another “untouched” piece in your closet.

Stick to your size

If it’s not your size leave it where it is. Be honest with yourself..If it’s smaller don’t think you are going to loose weight just to wear it. If it’s bigger you know you are never going to wear it, cause you won’t like yourself in it, as it is not going to enhance you and I don’t think you would rather put on weight, at least not on purpose, to make it fitting you. Save your money for what fits you perfectly.

Go to your favourite shops first

Rather than going randomly from a shop to another in the High Streets, make a list of your favourite brands/shops and start with them in your shopping tours. What usually work for you or what usually makes you satisfied throughout the year rarely will let you down on sale time either. After that, if you still have time, money and energy, or if you won't feel totally satisfied by your purchases, go have a look to other stores/brands..there can always be room for new favourites to add to your list!

Be on your favourite store's mailing list

The problem with the sales is that shops run out of sizes and stocks very quickly, so being late means having less chances to find items that suit us, for size, shape and colours, with an inevitable sense of frustration. Being on the mailing list of your favourite brands will allow you to be there at the very beginning of the sales time , getting more chances of finding the most suitable pieces for you.

Plan your shopping time wisely

Avoiding weekends and afternoons in general will give you a better assistants in store, better services in general, tidier stores and so more chances to find what you are looking for, in a nicer and quieter atmosphere. Too crowded places can make the shopping experience become stressful and unsatisfying, while we want to enjoy it, don't we!?

Dress comfortably

You are supposed to try on lots of things or, anyway, more than usual, so having comfortable clothes and shoes, easy to put on and take off, will help you to do less efforts and waste less energies. Being fresh will make you take good choices.

Stick to your colours

One of the services I do in a personal styling package is the colour analysis. If you have been my client in the past or you ever had a colour analysis in your life you should know what your best colours are. During sale time be carefull not to be tempted by the price, buying something in colours that you know will drag you down or will overpower your features. Once at home you won’t wear it anymore. Not to mention that, if you followed your palette to build up your wardrobe, something completely different in shades would most likely not match all the rest of your wardrobe with a consequent abandon of purchases on sale. 

Well, these tips should be enough to prevent wrong and compulsive purchases from now on.

I hope you did enjoy my article and, more than everything, that you will find it useful for your next shopping tours.

Merry Christmas to you all


I bet this is something that happened to most of you at least once in your lifetime, buying a nice garment and then finding this "funny" symbol on its care label the minute before putting it into the washing machine :

For those of you don't know it yet, let me introduce you the "do not wash" symbol.

I came up with the idea of this article after I had a personal shopping tour with a client. She was in love with a white coat, determined to buy it, and I was even encouraging her because it suited her very much; but right before going to the till to pay for it I asked her to check the care label and, guess what!? the "funny" symbol was there!  

Now...can you imagine a white coat?

Pure, clear, magnetic.... just for one day probably!

It could become greyish in a snap just by touching something or leaning the elbows somewhere; not to mention the chance of getting it stained by eating or drinking something (and if you wear it for your nights out there is a high chance for it to happen).

So, what options did she have? Apparently two : buy it but leave it hanging in the closet, well preserved in its packaging, waiting for a very special occasion, or leave it in the shop. My clients, following my suggestion, choose option 2. A coat is quite an expensive piece of apparel, even in the high street chain shops, so she wisely thought it wasn't worth spending money on it. 

But, honestly, this is not fair; when it happens that we like a garment and it also really suits and enhances us, we should be free to buy it! 

I really wish to say something to all the apparel companies : probably they don't know it but a garment needs to be washed, If not right after we bought it, at least once we've worn it.

The problem is I've worked for several fashion companies in the past, because I used to be product developer and fashion designer before being an image consultant, and I know how it works. I can't and don't want to generalize, but most of the time companies simply prefer to avoid risks - by putting a "do not wash" symbol on a care label they prevent complains related to the washing/care of a garment. This is an easy and convenient option for them, not as convenient for their customer actually.

Let me tell you something : there is no fabric that cannot be washed! And in case it really exists it shouldn't be used to produce clothes (am I wrong?!). Obviously I'm not telling you to wash everything that has that symbol on its care label, I cannot guarantee that your garments can be really washed, there are many factors to be considered (for example if there are beads, delicate embroideries or any kind of embellishment on it) but I can tell you that as long as it's plain and the fabric is silk, viscose, cotton, linen, rayon, polyester, nylon and even wool, you can hand wash it or do a delicate and proper washing machine program; and if it's leather, a coat or a down jacket you can have it dry cleaned at the laundry. 

I've also got several garments that apparently cannot be washed, most of them are high quality brands and quite expensive, and I noticed this detail too late, but I decided to run the risk : I washed them! And you know what? The outcome was unbelievably perfect.

This is another reason why I'm writing these few words : now as in the past, when I was on the brands' side, I hate that customers are cheated! 

Take my words just as a warning but do what you really think is best for your clothes and act according to your ideas.

I just want to give you a warm advice for next time you go shopping for clothes : before buying a garment don't just look at the price tag, also check the care label and if you see the "do not wash" symbol leave it where it is, possibly explaining your reasons to the sales assistants. Your money is valuable, spend it wisely and avoid surprises!

This is, in fact, something I help my clients with during their personal shopping experiences with me. With my background in fashion I know well fabrics and how to treat them.

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