Everyone loves a good sample sale. Lord knows when I first started working on Brick Lane 3 years ago, I couldn’t turn a corner without running into one and feeling it was my duty to at least scope it out. For the good of my wardrobe, of course. Ready-to-wear sample sales are a breed of their own, especially when you feel like you’re competing against fashionistas who have, for those few hours, taken off their heels and donned flats in order to be more stealth.
Bridal sample sales can be even more overwhelming so today’s top 10 is all about how to help you find your way through this month’s shopping spree!
1. Do your research
Find out about sample sales before they happen and go the weekend before to try on dresses without the pressure of time and other girls waiting to snatch things out of your hands. The pieces you find that you like might not necessarily be part of the sale, but you will at least know how the sizes fit you and being familiar with the styles will make you more relaxed.
2. Bring a friend
Don’t bring 5000, but bring someone who will be brutally honest. Weddings are expensive and any discount you can get, especially if it’s on your dress, is well worth it, but only if you will be happy with it post sale. Brief your friend to be brutally honest and listen to him or her.
3. Wear the right underwear
This is a wedding dress appointment necessity regardless, but make sure you wear the right undies! You need to do everything you can to see how the dress will fit you. Don’t “overlook” things just because its on sale. Also, I’ve found with most sample sales, there are not always 100% private dressing rooms. This is more so the case with ready-to-wear but be prepared nonetheless.
4. Don’t fall into the competitive trap
One of the salons I went to when I was looking for a wedding dress had 3 girls trying dresses on at a time. We all had our own consultant, but I couldn’t help but look at the dresses the other brides were trying on, and because I didn’t have them, they seemed more appealing. Its the age old saying of “something greener on the other side.” In a sample sale, this is very likely going to be a feeling you might experience. Calm down and think about what you really like, don’t just want something because someone else got it first.
5. Don’t feel like you HAVE to buy something
Sample sales are awesome, and I was more than thrilled when I received a discount on my wedding dress when I bought it at the end of a sales period, however, don’t feel pressure to buy something because you might save money. Your dress is pretty gosh darn important so don’t buy something on impulse because it’s a good deal.
6. Make sure to check out accessories
Having the perfect wedding style adds up and is often the combination of great accessories along with the perfect dress. Subtle or statement, jewellery, shrugs, veils, shoes and headpieces all contribute to the perfect finished look. If you’re not finding anything that suits your style dress wise, make sure to look through all the other bits and pieces that often add hundreds of pounds to your budget you might not have thought of. I got my wedding shoes at the Selfridges sale on the first day, 70% off!
7. Get there early
Again, maybe a bit of a no brainer, but if it’s first come, first serve, be one of the first. You’ll see the best selection and you’ll find the dresses in better condition.
8. Look your best
I often feel like when I really want to buy something, but it’s not quite right, I’ll make excuses. “I’m not wearing makeup” or “my hair looks bad” – you name it, I can probably think of an excuse as to why I should “just get it anyway.” Don’t do it! Eliminate all possibilities of making excuses for yourself so that you only buy something you really love. Put on makeup, do your hair, do whatever you need to do.
9. Check closely before purchase
Make sure you understand the store’s policy on the pieces you are buying. It will most likely be final sale, and in the condition you see in front of you. They might point out the faults, if any, but they might not. If there is a small tear, or some beads missing, be prepared to absorb the cost in mending and also cleaning, if necessary. Be prepared also to find out where you can go to have this done. Speak to the sales people about where alterations can be made and if they can help you estimate a cost.
10. Think outside the box
Just because a sample sale isn’t “bridal” doesn’t mean it won’t have something for your wedding. Keep your eyes peeled for designers you like who are having sample sales where you might find bridesmaid dresses or even a white dress that’s perfect for your big day. Daily Candy often has a good calendar of such events.
Head on over the Shoparazzi for a listing of UK Bridal Sample Sales this month, including details on Browns Bride, Miss Bush Bridal, David Fielden and more.