People who know me well will tell you that my Boxing Day used to start early with me in the queue at Next bagging ‘bargains’. That marked the beginning of a week of bargain hunting running from Boxing day to New Year’s Eve. The cash would be well and truly splashed with the justification of how much money I was saving.

But that was the old me. The new me knows that a bargain is often nothing of the sort. Let me explain.

BREATHE AND COUNT TO TEN – because a bargain isn’t always a bargain

When embarking on any shopping – in the sales or otherwise – I follow two simple sartorial rules learned through my work as an image and style consultant:

  1. Does the garment I’m looking at suit my body shape and clothing personality?
  2. Is it in a colour that suits and flatters me rather than a colour I simply like the look of?

If the answer to either of these questions is ‘No’ then back on the rail it goes.

It sounds simple enough I know. Yet it’s all too easy to get caught up in all the ‘bargains’ out there. The excitement of finding a dramatic reduction often blinds us to the fact that the super-reduced dress we’re buying is quite the wrong colour and/or style. The result? You get the said ‘bargain’ home only to realise your mistake. It then sits accusingly in your wardrobe for months – often with the tag still on it.

The best way to avoid such mistakes I’ve found is to: STOP. BREATHE. COUNT TO TEN. Then look at the garment again and ask yourself:

  1. Will I REALLY wear this colour top?
  2. Is it the right colour for me?
  3. Is it the right style?
  4. Is it the right size?

If you answer ‘No’ to any of those questions – walk away. No matter how drastic its price reduction it’s not a bargain if it doesn’t meet all the above criteria.


I ask myself this question when I’m shopping for clothes. Whether it’s a pair of jeans to wear walking the dog or an evening dress for a special occasion I ask myself: ‘Reshma, do you love those jeans/that dress so much that if you walked out of the shop without buying you’d regret it?’ If, hand on heart, I can answer ‘Yes’ to that question then fair enough, I make the purchase. But then and only then.

So, if you’re feeling ‘meh’ about that dress, if you’re not sure it will make you feel confident and fabulous leave it where it is. Because if you do give in to temptation and buy it you’ll never or hardly ever wear it. Before long you’ll be looking for another one and in the long run that will have cost you more than the more expensive dress you could have bought in the first place.

Cost per wear: it’s important to remember that you work out the actual ‘cost’ of an item as the cost per wear not the actual amount you paid. That’s why a £10 shirt is expensive if you rarely wear it while a £50 shirt is cheap if you wear it every two weeks for two years. Get the calculator our and you’ll see what I mean.

Enjoy your shopping!

I still love a bargain and I still love sale shopping. This is just as well because I shop with clients on a regular basis.

But with what I know about my ‘Wow’ colours and my style personality I can be strategic and targeted about shopping in the sales. I can sail forth into the foray in full knowledge that I’ll make considered buying decisions and come home with fabulous clothes that I know I’ll look and feel great in.

If you’ve had enough of a wardrobe stuffed with unworn ‘bargains’ then why not book a colour consultation? Knowing your ‘WOW’ colours is a great step towards getting the best from your bargain hunting!

Ring me on: 07538 946 839 or email info@ishbelswardrobe.co.uk

Or get in touch with me via my website.