Happy woman in front of a rail of clothes.

How to shop the sales smartly

Whether you're taking a special trip out to the sales or spot something on a whim, here's our guide to smart clothes shopping.

You'd be mad not to go with prices being slashed left, right and centre. However, the sales can leave you frustrated, annoyed and empty handed, so we've devised eight simple rules that will help you shop the sales smartly!

1. Take a friend

It’s easy to get excited and led astray by the sales. So take a friend who's going to ask, "Do you really need it?".

2. Know the returns policy

It is important that you know the returns policy when you buy any piece of clothing. Some shops may have an extended returns policy, some may have a shorter one, some items might even be final sale - so it's essential you know the policy in case you need to take something back.

3. Ask around

You may love it, but don't be tempted to buy it in the wrong size. If you see something you really want, but the pickings are slim, ask one of the workers to see what they can do for you! They may just have another size through the back.

4. Do you really, really like it? Or do you just like the price?

You will be tempted by the '75% off' and 'further reductions' stickers, but be sure it is what you really want. Are you just buying it because it's reduced?

5. Keep the receipt

Carefully stash the receipt from every purchase, don't just throw it in your handbag. You might need it later on, so keep it in a safe, secure place!

6. Have a plan

Go in with a plan – make sure you go to the shops you want to go to. Don't get distracted by the fancy window displays calling you in from the cold.

7. The three outfit rule

A simple mantra to have when shopping in the sales is if it works with three or more outfits you've already got - buy it. No matter how appealing that pastel pink PVC skirt looks, if it doesn't go with anything in your wardrobe then it's just not a good idea.

8. Calculate the price/wear ratio

Ask yourself how much are you actually going to wear your new piece? Then ask yourself if the price you're paying is worth it. If it's a piece you're only going to wear once, it's probably not that great an investment even if the price is tempting!

For more tips on buying clothes and how to spot quality, check out our series of best-buy guides.