InStyle magazine, Kelly Ripa and Donna Karan hosted the Rolls Royce of all sample sales…the 15th annual Super Saturday. Despite the gray skies and damp green grass, the fabulous and frugal still gathered in East Hampton, N.Y., to support ovarian cancer, score designer digs and have plenty of shoe chat. I love that haute moms June Ambrose and Tiffani Thiessen made it a family affair and brought their children. Hey, they’re smart to teach the kiddies early on how to save a buck and help another in need. And although The Real Housewives from Beverly Hills to New York may have a lot of bling on Bravo, they also don’t mind a bargain as they joined the shopping fun as well. Here are some of my top tips on how to master the art (yes, there is an art) to shopping sample sales. Only the stylish and strong survive.
1. No Means No
Only buy on sale what you would normally feel comfortable buying full price. S-A-L-E doesn’t equal M-U-S-T. Buy discounted items because they will look good in your closet, not just because it’s marked down. That’s what you call a Shopping Set Up, my dear.
2. Fit First
Don’t buy anything that will fit ONLY if you, er, squeeze, shrug, suck in or cut off a butt cheek. And listen, I’m all about setting a healthy weight loss goal, but unless you’re an exhibitionist, you have to get dressed daily, including today. Shop for your body now, and look good during your transition.
3. Be Open-Minded
Going to sample sales with a specific item in mind can cause what I call ‘discount depression.’ Because the items are on markdown, you may not necessarily find the exact item you eyed in the retail store. Instead, keep an eye out for items that you know flatter your body type and suit your personal style.
4. Chat Later
I’m a pretty serious shopper and have no friends when it comes to snagging deals. When I am focused at a sample sale, my friends know that I will have to chat with them later. Items and sizes are traditionally limited, and I don’t like missing one bit of the good stuff. Your friends will always be available to chat, but that dress for 75% off, oh no, it won’t be on the rack for long. Snag the sales and have girl talk after you’ve conquered the deals.
5. Pack Power Snacks
Shopping is a sport, and pro athletes need their energy. Pack portable protein-packed snacks to maintain your energy. I love raw almonds, string cheese and apples; they are easy to toss in your bag and skin-friendly, too. There’s nothing worse than feeling famished in the middle of your rack raid and feeling like you have no choice but to break for lunch. No way, no how! Munch while you shop, and treat yourself to a sit-down meal after you score big. If you’re really looking to hit the big leagues, try my Hello Good Morning Smoothie before you hit the sale: Blend coconut water, frozen blueberries, 0% Greek yogurt, spinach, ginger, a banana and dance to Diddy’s Hello Good Morning. You’ll feel like the Carmelo Anthony of fashion: strong and focused.
For more tips on how to shop like an expert, check out my shopping guide Never Pay Retail Again (Simon & Schuster).