With every imaginable item on sale at jaw-dropping prices, it's easy to splurge on unnecessary items at this time of year. So what do you do? Do you stay at home and refuse to enter a mall? Well, shopping responsibly is quite a disciplined task for a resident of the UAE. Instead, follow my guide to how to move your wardrobe forward by spending smart, avoiding buyer's remorse, and having fun all at the same time.
1. Try on and list
I have written about my "try-on nights" time and time again, but for good reason: they work. A try-on night involves trying on all the clothing you currently own, and working out what you need to wear for the season ahead. If you're a working mum who needs to have some jazzy corporate outfits and some practical mum outfits, then a try-on session is perfect. Try on your clothes to see what fits, what doesn't, and what you need to replace or repair. As our bodies are always changing, our clothes don't always look and fit the same.
If you're a career woman and have many social events to attend, you need to make sure you have your complete outfits head-to-toe ready to go. My methodology is simple: I work out my weekly outfit schedule Sunday to Thursday.
My recent wardrobe try-on was for a good corporate casual look.
I realised all my trousers were so well-washed that they had faded and I was in need of a good few pairs in colours other than black. I also had plenty of jackets, but was missing a few nice plain tops in white and black to go under my jackets to complete the looks.
A sure-fire way to avoid regretting your sale purchases is to make a list of the wardrobe staples you need before you go, and set yourself a budget - take cash and leave your credit card at home.
The world won't end if you don't get that extra top. Remember that 50 per cent off an item you don't actually need is a waste of money, not a bargain.
2. Quality and style
When it comes to fashion sales, you can bet the trend-heavy or "it" colours of the season will all be heavily reduced in price. So ask yourself if a burgundy leather skirt will stand you in good fashion stead. If the answer is yes, then go for it.
I personally go for quality when I am looking to purchase my classic pieces. I have brands I consider are good value and they respect my body shape. When I find a piece that fits perfectly, I often buy two pairs.
At 60 per cent off, this is indeed a good value. Your personal style is in fact a uniform; so if something works and fits, then go with it.
Seeking out the staple wardrobe items in classic colours and shades are always winning solutions when it comes to shopping the sales. Key pieces to look out for include good-quality chinos with a silk-cotton finish that can be worn in both corporate and casual settings. Plain tees in white, black and grey, jackets, classic little black dresses, sharp and crisp white shirts, classic pumps, ballet flats and neutral clutches just to name a few.
3. The shopping trip
I recommend arriving at the mall early. They are usually less crowded in the mornings than in the afternoons in the UAE. If you want to ease your way in and out of the fitting rooms, then be sure to get to bed early so you arrive at the sales in the right frame of mind, energised and in a positive shopping mood. This is equally as important as what you're wearing to the sales.
Here are some easy and useful tips to make your day easier and more practical:
Changing rooms can become a nightmare; so wear a thin layer under your outer layer to make slipping things on in the store much easier
Wear comfy and easy to remove shoes - or even the ones you plan to match to your outfits.
Take your jackets or key items from home with you. If you have existing items that you want to match with a new skirt or trousers, then bring them with you. This ensures you get the perfect items at the right price and will not need to return them at a later date.
The key to an ideal shopping day is to plan ahead so that you're not frazzled and stressed before heading to the stores. Take your list, your positive frame of mind and enjoy yourself. You'll see the day unfold perfectly for you.
PS: Some important notes about shopping with others: you may shop better alone than with a friend.
No matter what, be sure you choose your company (or lack of) carefully. Boyfriends and husbands may want to make a quick exit during the chaos, dawdle and slow down or simply lose interest.
Janelle Malone is a wealth commentator, writer and author. You can read her blog at www.womenmoneyandstyle.com