4 Tips on How to Buy Final Sale Items

Final Sale 3Final Sale 2

Blouse, DVF (not available anymore, but similar hereicon) | Jeans, Current Elliot (old), similar here| Booties, Rag & Bone Margot
icon | Tote, Madewell Medium Transport Tote| Sunglasses, Ray Ban Aviators
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One of my cardinal rules of shopping is to never buy final sale items.   I’ve learned this the hard way after buying several “deals” and then ended up  giving away to friends (XS Splendid sweatshirt, I’m looking at you) or donating them (too many to count).   Very, very occasionally I will break my own rule.  The blouse above by DVF is one example of a final sale purchase – it was 90% off at the recent Outnet x Purseblog sale ($27 down from $268), and I was thrilled with it when I finally received it.  Wanted to share my tips on what makes a good final sale.

  1. Be Familiar With the Brand Sizing – Brands all fit slightly differently.  In order to know the size you should buy, you need to know if a brand runs small/large for the item you are buying.  I own two dresses from DVF, and know that the brand runs small.  Knowing that, I sized up, and the shirt fits perfectly.  Once I bought a Trina Turk dress I already owned in a different color – I knew for sure it would fit!
  2.  Make Sure It’s on Steep Discount – I generally won’t look at anything on final sale unless it’s 70% off or more.  You are taking a risk that something won’t work out, and you should be compensated for that risk with a steep discount.  In this case, 90% off felt like a great deal!
  3. Make Sure It’s An Item On Your Planned Purchase List — Sometimes I’m tempted to buy things just because they are such a good deal.  But buying things I don’t need just makes my closet more cluttered.  In this case, I was in the market for a button down white shirt.  In fact, I had already considered buying this exact blouse, but decided not to because the original price wasn’t in my budget.  So, I was thrilled when this popped up in the sale.
  4. Be Okay With Losing All Your Money – Ultimately a final sale is a gamble.  And just like gambling, you should be okay with losing all your money at the end of the day.  For this blouse, I was okay with losing $27 at the end of the day.  There was another dress I was eyeing that was $68, and I wasn’t okay with losing that much money, so I walked away from it.

Do you have any favorite final sale tips?  Please share!

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Black and White for the Museum

Broad 2Broad1Broad 3Disney Hall 1

Shirt, Madewell Central Shirt (runs large), also in blush and black here
icon| Shorts, Ann Taylor City | Shoes, Converse | Backpack, Anya Hindmarch (old), but similar here | Sunglasses, Ray Ban
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We finally got tickets to the Broad Museum on Labor Day Weekend…I’ve been dying to go forever!  It was sweltering hot by Los Angeles standards (95+ degrees), so I wanted to be comfortable, but still presentable, since we were having lunch at Otium, the restaurant by the museum.  This breezy white shirt and black shorts combo was perfect – it kept me really cool in the heat, but I didn’t feel sloppy.  Also, I knew I was going to take photos with the amazing artwork, so the black and white color palette was perfect, as it went with all the colorful modern art at the museum.  We hung out at the Disney Concert Hall while we waited for our turn at the Infinity Mirrors, so I snapped some photos there as well.  I love how downtown LA is becoming (or is already) such a hot spot – such a change from when I was growing up.

Number of Wears in 2017: 

Shirt, 1 (new) | Shorts, 3 | Shoes, 13 | Backpack, 27</p

White Shorts and Platform Sandals

Heart Wall 2Heart Wall 3

Shirt, Anthropologie (old), similar | Shorts, (on sale for $18) Ann Taylor City
icon | Platform Sandals, Marc FisherAnn Taylor Butterfly Sunglasses
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We went to Bardonna in Brentwood for a much needed latte and caramel monkey bread (both were delicious!) this past weekend, and I got to snap some pics by the Love Wall.  Loving the white shorts for the summer – I have finally gotten over my fear of getting them dirty, and wear them even when out with our 4-year old.These platform sandals in the nude color are great with shorts to help lengthen the leg….for the height, they are very comfortable.  I wouldn’t wear them to Disneyland, but for a coffee or lunch date, they are great.

Number of Wears in 2017

Shirt – 12

Shorts – 2

Sandals – 5

Most Worn Pieces in July

One of the things I have been doing this year is tracking my outfit everyday via the Stylebook App.  It’s really easy, actually kind of fun, and has been an eye opener in terms of what I wear the most often and don’t wear at all.   I thought it would be helpful to review my most worn pieces every month, and see if there are any patterns.

Most Worn Overall:  Marc by Marc Jacobs Mini Biker Backpack
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My most worn item every single month since January has been a bag.  It makes sense because I usually carry the same handbag for the whole season, until the weather changes.  I can’t do that with clothing.   For July, my trusty Marc by Marc Jacobs backpack was the most worn item.  Because it’s black nylon, I don’t have to worry about it at the playground or gym, but because of the gold metal and black color, I can take it out at night for drinks or dinner.

Times Worn in July: 16

Times Worn in 2017:  28

Cost per Wear: $2.18 (estimated based on total wears)

More Worn Shoe:  Birkenstock Gizeh Sandal
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Ahhh…my Birkenstocks.  I got these last year when I cut my foot badly with a wine bottle (don’t ask), and couldn’t wear normal shoes for a few months.  It turns out these are amazingly comfortable.  I even wore them all day to Disneyland, and was so surprised that they felt better than my usual sneakers.  The nice thing is that the white color actually elevates these a little, so I don’t feel too casual when I wear these.

Times Worn in July: 16

Times Worn in 2017: 42

Cost Per Wear: $1.54 (estimated based on total wears)

Most Worn Clothing: (tie)  J Crew Khaki Shorts and Splendid T-Shirt (on sale for $29)

Clothing always gets the least wears, since I usually wear an outfit once every three or four weeks.  I’m trying to change that and pick pieces that can be worn more often, because it seems ridiculous that I have 31 outfits per month.  My husband generally wears the same 5 shirts, 2 jeans and 2 shoes every week – I want to be able to get to that place.

It was a tie in July between my old khaki shorts from JCrew, and my newer grey T-shirt from Splendid.  Both of these are basics that I can throw on.  The khaki shorts are nice because they are fairly casual, but not sloppy.  The T-shirt is amazingly soft, which is why I keep reaching for it whenever it’s clean.

T-Shirt: 

Times Worn in July: 6

Times Worn in 2017: 13

Cost Per Wear: $3.07

Khaki Shorts:

Times Worn in July: 6

Times Worn in 2017: 11

Cost Per Wear: $2.72 (estimated based on total wears)

Key Learnings: 

Overall I’m pretty happy with the most worn items this month.  One of the great things is that most of these items are old (the JCrew shorts are 4 years old!) and relatively inexpensive.

  1. Comfort & practicality is key – I’m busy and need clothing that will fit my on-the-go lifestyle.  The items that I’m going to reach for most have to be versatile and comfortable.  The ones above all can be dressed up or down, and are very low maintenance.  I need to keep this in mind next time I fall in love with a dry-clean only shirt, or a pair of going out heels.
  2. Everyday basics get the most wear and have the lowest cost per wear – The cost per wear on the above items are fantastic (and will still likely go down further).   I guess it’s because they are everyday items, and I wear them frequently.    I bought the Birkenstocks at full price, which made me cringe a little, but on a cost per wear basis, these are some of my cheapest shoes.  Where I need to cut back are on special occasion items, which just sit in my closet.
  3. Summer 10×10 helped increase wears – The T-shirt, shorts and sandals were all part of my Summer 10×10.  I was amazed at the creativity that came out of that challenge — there were at least four outfits I had never worn before, even though most of the items were older.  In finding new ways to wear older items, I increased my number of wears.
  4. Need to up the Polish – As part of my newly defined style, Effortless California Polish, one of my realizations is that I could increase my polish.  It would be great to have a slightly more elevated item make it into the Most Worn list next month.

Feeling Whimsical

FSS MW Sweater 3FSS Madewell Sweater

Sweater, Madewell
icon| Shorts, Ann Taylor City
icon | Sneakers, Converse
iconAnn Taylor Butterfly Sunglasses

I don’t do cutesy clothing, but sometimes a little touch of whimsy feels just right and still age appropriate.  This sweater and sneakers definitely fall into my style, “Effortless California Polish.”   Because the print is on a sweater and not a sweatshirt, and the shorts are black and tailored, the whole look moves away from cute-sey 20-something, into fun 40-something.  Okay, maybe the shoes are a little too matchy, but I couldn’t resist!

Number of Wears

Sweater, 1 (new) | Shorts, 2 (new)| Sneakers, 9

White Jeans Are Magical

FSS Denim Jacket 2FSS Denim Jacket

Kut from the Kloth Jacket
icon | Vince T-Shirt (old), similar
icon| Joes Jeans Olivia (old)|Birkenstock Gizeh Sandal
icon| Madewell Medium Transport Tote
icon | Ann Taylor Butterfly Sunglasses

In thinking about my last weekend outfit, it felt a little off from my stated style of Effortless California Polish.  It was a little too casual and not polished enough.  I think the issue comes when all my individual pieces are casual, and there isn’t one slightly more polished item.  Enter white jeans.  Something about white bottoms (jeans, shorts, skirt) instantly makes any look more polished.  This is still my weekend uniform of T-shirt, jeans, and comfy sandals, and yet this outfit feels way more put together than the last one.

Number of Wears (since Jan 2017)

Kut from the Kloth Jacket – 15; Vince T-shirt – 6; Joes Jeans Olivia – 2; Birkenstock Gizeh Sandals – 41; Madewell Medium Transport Tote – 8

Casual Stripes for the Weekend

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T-shirt, Splendid (old), similar here
Jeans, Treasure & Bond
Sunglasses, Ann Taylor Butterflyicon (a steal at $25)

Sandals, Birkenstock Gizeh (so comfy!)

Backpack, Anya Hindmarch (old), but love this similar one here

We went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) this past weekend, and I got to take a shot at the iconic street lamps exhibit.  This looks is a classic weekend formula for me – comfy T-shirt, relaxed jeans, walking sandals and backpack.  However, I wore this before I finished my mood board and defined my style as Effortless California Polish (see background post here).  As I compare this outfit to my style, I see the “Effortless”, I see the “California”, but I’m missing a little of the “Polish”.  I think the backpack helps, with the creamy white leather and fun details, but the outfit itself could use a little more.  Hmm…good food for thought in my style journey.

Number of Wears Per Item

Striped Splendid T-Shirt, 7

Treasure and Bond Jeans, 2 (newer)

Birkenstock Gizeh Sandals, 39 (way undercounting – I lived in these last summer!)

Anya Hindmarch Backpack, 26