I'm a Careful Sale Shopper—These Are the 5 Items I Buy and Skip


(Image credit: Christian Vierig/Getty Images)

As much as I love a good sale (and strive to not pay full price for as much as I possibly can), I consider them to be a blessing and a curse. Sale-induced anxiety is real, and I think it's safe to say that we've all made impulse purchases before as a result of it. I know I have, but I've figured out what types of items to avoid—the ones I end up regretting. 

Getting caught up in the urgency and excitement of a sale does not make for clear-headed shopping, so I'm here to provide a little guidance, with the help of a sale expert: Michael Bonebright, consumer analyst with DealNews. With Nordstrom's big Anniversary Sale having just arrived, I asked him for his advice on what to buy and what to avoid from sales, the Nordstrom sale specifically. 

As far as what to buy goes, he recommended current-season staples, elaborating "While there will be deals on many items, the Nordstrom Anniversary sale will be the best place to find deals on recently released styles—apparel and shoes that won't otherwise see significant discounts until next season. It's the one place you can get great deals on fall fashions before you even need them. Keep this sale in mind for sweaters, boots, and other cold-weather accessories." And his advice on what to avoid is luxury accessories. He said, "There are some good options in the sale if you're looking to pad out your work wardrobe (especially Salvatore Ferragamo menswear), but the big labels like Prada and Gucci only have sunglasses in the sale—hardly worth your time."

Keep scrolling to shop current-season staples, as well as a few more items I recommend shopping, and find out what else I avoid ordering from sales.

BUY: Current-Season Staples

SKIP: Luxury Accessories

While discounted luxury accessories may be in short supply during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, there are plenty of current-season basics to choose from, and they're likely to go back to their original price once the sale ends.

Shop current-season staples:

BUY: Brands I've Already Tried/Own

SKIP: Anything Final Sale

Even if returns are accepted during a sale, if I end up needed to exchange an item for a different size, there's a good chance it'll be out of stock by then. Sticking to brands I already know and love increases the likelihood that I won't need to make a return or exchange.

BUY: Jeans and Shoes

SKIP: Cheap, Trendy Items

Sales are a great time to take advantage of investing in everyday items for less. I always find there to be a plethora of denim and footwear to choose from during big sales, so that's usually what goes into my cart first.

Shop everyday jeans and shoes:

Shop tried-and-true brands:

BUY: Beauty Products I've Tried/Have Had My Eye On

SKIP: Beauty Products I'm Not Familiar With

I'm often tempted to buy whatever fun beauty products are a good deal, but the smarter choice is to select ones that you already have in your routine or that have been on your radar via recommendations and/or research.

Shop tried-and-true beauty products:

BUY: Activewear and Lingerie

SKIP: Last Season's Leftovers

Activewear is mostly pretty seasonless and trendless (as is a lot of lingerie), so sale season is a great time to stock up. On the other hand, I've learned to resist the allure of last season's trends and "It" pieces. Chances are, you're not going to want to wear them when that season (i.e. next summer) comes back around. 

Shop activewear and lingerie:

Next, The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Is Epic—You Won't Regret These Affordable Items

Allyson Payer
Senior Editor

Allyson is a senior editor for Who What Wear. She joined the company in 2014 as co-founder Katherine Power's executive assistant and over the years has written hundreds of stories for Who What Wear. Prior to her career in fashion, Allyson worked in the entertainment industry at companies such as Sony Pictures Television. Allyson is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She holds a BFA in theater. Her path to fashion may not have been linear, but based on the number of fashion magazines she collected as a child and young adult, it was meant to be.