How to trade up your wardrobe in the summer sales 

Photo: By Malene Birger

Are you demon for a tailored blazer? Have a thing for tea dresses? Now’s the time to bag your staple buys for a lot less. Stacey Duguid explains how   

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By Stacey Duguid on

I knew I’d regret writing this. Me, write a post on why you should shop wardrobe investment pieces during the summer sales? Of course, I’d blog ’n’ shop. I’m too predictable. 

I love the high street – the clothes are pretty reasonably priced, making it easier to experiment with bold print, bright colour and the occasional off-the-wall trend under normal circumstances I’d be a bit afraid of. The genius thing is we try all this (hi, top-to-toe gingham) without making hideously expensive mistakes. Priceless. Sometimes, though, the way I shop can feel a bit disposable. Enter the sales, enter The Fashion Big Guns: local boutiques, mid-ranges like Theory, By Malene Birger and J Crew, and top-end high-street brands, such as Whistles. Sometimes eye-wateringly expensive, with 50 per cent off, let’s put it this way – I have several virtual baskets on the go.


My advice is go for something you’d normally wear. If you wear fitted dresses to work every day, go for a designer usually out of your price bracket. You get the gist

Each year, but not every season, I “invest” in something fancy-ish, something I wouldn’t normally be able to afford. Looking for pieces that will stand the test of time, I go for classics. *Deletes full-lace See By Chloe trousers from Net-a-Porter basket* I love a “50 per cent off” bargain and don’t mind waiting until June to find something I know will last for many summers to come. I have blazers and a handful of dresses hanging in my wardrobe that are at least a decade old. All recently worn, I seem to collect them. I also look for tops to wear with jeans, smart-ish trousers and the occasional skirt in the sale, but avoid buying denim ever since convincing myself several years back I’d be able to “work a flare and a platform” on a daily basis (sister, please). The mega-long, super-wide Stella McCartney high-waist flares bought in the Matches sale languished at the bottom of my jeans drawer for years. Even at half price, I think it’s safe to say that’s a total waste of money. Another good reason to avoid buying jeans in the sale is I find experimenting with new denim styles is an inexpensive way to update your wardrobe. (Loads of women I meet swear by Next denim; apparently, Next jeans have tummy panels and bits that lift your bum and are made from thick stretchy denim and everything, plus they’re inexpensive.) 

If you’re up for finding an investment piece or two in the sale, my advice is go for something you’d normally wear (because I’d wear lace trousers every single day, LOL). If you wear cardigans all year round, look for a really beautiful cardi; if you wear fitted dresses to work every day, go for a designer usually out of your price bracket. You get the gist. I’m not looking to add much to my wardrobe this year, but that’s also the point – the great thing about buying just one thing in the sale is, by building your wardrobe one piece at a time, you’re probably more likely to end up with stuff you genuinely love (as opposed to another cold-shoulder top from Zara you can’t wear, thanks to various bra issues). As for the edit below, yes, of course I’ve got the whole damn lot sitting in various virtual baskets. *Turns off computer. Goes for long walk* 

Click here to shop Stacey's Trade-up sale pieces


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Photo: By Malene Birger
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fashion honestly

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