A woman's creativity often shows in the way she dresses. But sometimes, we could all use a little help with choices. Nancy Nix-Rice, a wardrobe consultant extraordinaire, offers the following helpful hints before you hit the sales.
Steven Strategies for Sale Shopping Success
By Nancy Nix-Rice, Wardrobe Consultant
Before you head out into "Extra 30% off Already Reduced Prices" and "Door-buster Specials Before Noon," review these Seven Strategies for Sale Shopping Success.
No. 1 - Inventory your closet (and drawers and laundry basket). Do favorite items need to be replaced or supplemented? If you wear your navy pants all the time, for example, a navy skirt could make additional outfits with all the same tops. And consider stockpiling new navy pants for when the current ones wear out.
No. 2 - List NEEDS in writing. Lists are empowering -- not limiting -- if you organize in 3 categories:
A - Basics that need replacing soon--especially bottoms in your Key Neutrals.
B - Missing mixers--identify these by specific description or by end use. ("red turtleneck" OR "top for gray tweed suit"). Think about how one item might fill several of your wardrobe gaps.
C - Awkward occasions--remember times that you have said, "I have nothing to wear" for a big presentation at work...an evening at the symphony...
Clearance selections are hit-and-miss; be prepared to go home empty-handed rather than buy things you don’t need just for the fleeting thrill of the bargain.
No. 3 - Shop UP a notch. Smarter shopping allows you to move up the quality ladder without busting the budget. If you're used to shopping at discount stores, try Macy's. If department stores are your usual, check out Saks or Neimans. A higher price-point can be a big leap of faith, so don't miss this chance to get used to better quality at bargain prices.
No. 4 - Be retail savvy. Shop at off-peak hours; avoid weekends if possible. Department stores often activate new Saturday markdowns in the computer system on Friday afternoon before the office staff goes home. Check mail/email/online for extra-discount coupons. Why pay more than you have to? Take along items you need to match; it's far less trouble that returning a poor choice later.
No. 5 - Instantly identify your best bets on massive -- and often messy -- clearance racks by scanning for color first. Don't even glance at an item that's not one of your best colors. And if you're not absolutely certain about what colors you should be wearing, put a professional color consultation at the top of your shopping list. NOTHING goes further toward building a truly great wardrobe, I guarantee it.
No. 6 - Be smart about sizes. Dropping those extra vacation pounds may give you a little more wiggle room but it's not likely to take you down a whole size. A "bargain" you can't fit into is just wasted dollars (don’t ask how I know this) and squeezing into it will make you look and feel fat. Just say NO.
No. 7 - Do an at-home fashion show with your bargains to confirm that new additions work with things you already own. Double-check for any needed alterations. Correcting sleeve or hem length or changing boring buttons can make the difference between passable and panache. And keep tags and receipts so you can retract any irrational purchases.
With a bit of preparation and persistence you may score some valuable wardrobe additions without busting the budget.
For over 25 years Nancy Nix-Rice has been transforming women’s lives by transforming the contents of their closets. She is the author of the just released book and DVD, Looking Good…Every Day: Style Solutions for Real Women at www.LookingGoodBook.com. Written for consumers, the book has also been selected as the textbook for training new stylists and image consultants at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City.
In addition to her private client work, Nix-Rice presents workshops on appearance and wardrobe for corporations, professional associations, and women’s conferences across the country.