fashion 18 hacks on what not to buy in the sales, according to a personal shopper. FiFi Milne

Welcome to the Nothing To Wear Edit where each week we curate the best of whatever we spoke about on the podcast. Listen to the full episode here.

Shopping the sales can be overwhelming. 

Where to start? How to go about it? How to shop so you come away with great buys that you love instead of buyer’s remorse and a depleted bank account? 

Never fear FiFi is here! Here are my top tips to help you make the right decisions when shopping the sales.

1. Think about what you need in your wardrobe before you leave the house.

Work out what’s missing in your wardrobe. 

Does your white tee need updating? Are you missing camel pants or an oversized blazer? 

Make a list and stick to it.

2. Know your style and what works for you.

If florals or bright colours are not your thing (hint: they are not – never versatile!) they will not suddenly look fabulous just because they are half-price. 

Scan the racks for your colours, then zero in on those pieces.

3. Never buy anything that might fit one day.

Buy for the size you are right now and what you feel good in. Today.

Make sure it fit. Image: @shopwithfifi

4. Keep an eye on what’s coming next season. 

Hunt down trends early. Quite often those pieces are on sale because no one gets it. 

Scour magazines, Instagram, runway reviews and trend reports for what’s happening next winter. 

You don’t know what’s coming? Don’t worry I do. 

(Sharp shoulders, long skirts and pants, minimalism, slouchy silhouettes, white shoes, flat shoes and big bags!)

5. Shop early.

Throw down a strong latte and hit the stores before the crowds get pushy.

6. ALWAYS try everything on with shoes.

They change everything, add height and polish. You are not going out in bare feet! 

I insist all my clients put on shoes with every single outfit before we decide it’s right.

7. Don’t look at items as a single thing.

Think context. Think outfits. 

What can you wear it with from your current wardrobe? Can you think of three different ways to wear it? 

If the answer is no…

8. Wear decent underwear.

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, more embarrassing than sad, saggy underwear.

Always try on clothes with shoes and wear good underwear. Image: @shopwithfifi

9. Buy cheap, buy twice.


It’s better to spend more on a quality piece and repeat wear than buy a cheaper version that you need to buy again because it falls apart and doesn’t stand the test of time.

10. Whatever the price, go for ‘expensive’ looking colours.

Colours such as chocolate brown, black, navy, caramel, white and camel. 

They always look expensive but don’t have to be.

11. Steer away from hot pink, fluro yellow and lime green.

No, no, and no. 

Tricky to wear. Hard to style. Never look expensive unless they are.

12. Think trans-seasonal.

Can you wear it in summer and winter? That’s the question I ask myself every time I shop (excluding faux coats and bikinis – especially together!). 

Choose fabrics that can go the distance: lightweight wool, cotton, chiffon and silk. 

You will get more mileage out of your wardrobe if you can wear pieces from season to season.

13. Check out the view from behind.

Throw a mirror in your handbag. 

You need to know if the dress has sneaky cutouts (!), or if you have bulging bits or anything you may not be comfortable showing. 

Maybe those pants are see-through at the back or there’s a visible panty line.

Before you go for something too OTT, remember that there may be a reason it is on sale. Image: @shopwithfifi

14. Remember, friends don’t always tell the truth.

Take someone you trust for an honest opinion. Like FiFi! Or take a photo of yourself if you’re unsure. 

Or just add to cart. Then get a coffee and look at it again to decide. 

15. Try not to be whipped into a frenzy.

No more impulse buying. 

Buyer’s remorse is not a good thing. The wrinkles/injectables will cost more in the long run.

16. Avoid anything that screams over-the-top FARSHUN. No one bought it, that’s why it’s on sale.

I’m talking about a bright, floral, frilly maxi dress with cutouts or red pleather shorts with studs, fringing. You get the idea. 

They’re for Halloween.

17. Remember when you buy 10 things at $30 that adds up to $300.

Which is a Prada shoe (ok, a single one!). 

My advice: Keep a running tab on everything you want (if shopping online) and then add up. 

Buy one thing you love and delete the silly purchases.

18. Don’t ever buy anything because it’s cheap.

Who would ever do that?! Um, er…

FiFi Milne is a former fashion editor turned personal shopper and expert wardrobe detoxer. Superpower? Predicting fashion so you don’t have to. 

For more style tips from her, head to her website and follow her on Instagram.

Feature image: Instagram/@shopwithfifi

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