Chic Tip: Shopping Tips From a Pro

by Tracy James

As a fashion consultant, I spend an inordinate amount of time browsing clothes online. Accordingly, over the years I've amassed several insider tips for shopping smarter. I figure that a couple of days before biggest shopping day of the year is a perfect time to share my tips on everything from how to score a promo code to knowing the exact time a sale goes live.


When are the best sales? It's not when you think.

Ask any shopping enthusiast the best day of the year to shop, and she’ll probably answer Black Friday. While there are definitely deals to be had, according to the Wall Street Journal, there are other times of year when prices are lower. The two months when you’ll snag the best deals? Early January and late June. And of course, with the influx of flash sale sites like Gilt, RueLaLa and Hautelook, there are amazing sales to be had every 24 hours. So stay out of the fray and home with your family enjoying leftovers on the day after Thanksgiving!


Know when your wanted items go on sale.

Sign up at sites like Hukkster to get notifications when her favorite items go on sale. Whether you do most of your online shopping on a computer or mobile device, you can get an email or push notification the second your favorite items are reduced.


Find out when stores get new shipments.

Buddy up to the local store manager of your favorite shopping haunts and find out which day of the week they get in new merchandise. Often when new clothing comes in, older clothing will be moved toward the back of the store and put on sale. 


eBay Save Search
Is the item of your dreams sold out everywhere? No worries: there's second hope for slackers on eBay. Simply search the brand and style name of the desired garment on eBay. When the search results come up, narrow down by size and the maximum amount you are willing to spend, then click on the link at the top that says “save search.” It will give you the option to receive an email when new items matching your search terms are listed. I actually use this tool to shop - each morning I receive an email with offerings in my size from my favorite designers.


Use coupon codes: Refuse to pay retail!
Often sites will advertise their coupon codes, but occasionally a discount code will fly under the radar, in which case is a godsend. With coupons for over 50,000 sites, I never make a purchase without checking the site first. 


Amex Sync
American Express’ Amex Sync program allows cardholders to link their plastic to Facebook, Foursquare, or Twitter to get deals in exchange for sharing a post, checking in, or Tweeting. For example, recently cardholders could tweet #amexwarby to score $10 back on a pair of Warby Parker frames. The no-hassle approach doesn’t require any coupon codes; simply pay with your Amex card and your statement will automatically be credited. 


Shop Off-Season
This may seem like a no-brainer, but consciously planning ahead to shop for fall items in the spring and vice versa can save you a bundle. Sure, buying a bathing suit in September isn’t as fun, but when you aren’t paying full price for that bikini at the peak of next swim season, you’ll be smiling.


Sign Up For The Store's Newsletter
Increasingly, e-commerce sites are drawing in new newsletter subscribers with the lure of a promotion code. In addition to the easy discount off your first purchase, signing up can be worth the extra email in your inbox when you get advance notice of promotions or access to secret sales.


In addition to checking, search the item on to confirm that your intended online store of choice is actually selling it for the lowest price. Often smaller boutiques you may be unaware of are selling the same item for less!


Lucky Breaks
The ladies behind Lucky are women after our own shopping-happy hearts. They have an entire Lucky Breaks section dedicated to delivering sweet deals—usually 50% off editor-curated items, ranging from darling earrings to printed pencil skirts.