How to pick out top-quality pieces on sales

Speaking by personal experience, I usually only buy on sale and very seldom purchase something full-priced. I love the thrill of the chase, and even if this may require some time, I find it totally exciting and fun. Though, as I do not love crowded stores, I usually shop online, which aside from allowing a wider choice, has a significant extra perk: you can fill your wish list with everything you like far before the sales period, and make your purchase only after the prices have considerably reduced – and if something accidentally sold out, it means that it was not for you.

This will allow you to only buy what calls your name and to take all the needed time for your choice, with positive effects on your budget (and style). I usually remove from my wish list about the 80-90% of the items I put there when obsessed with shopping fever, which consents me a higher budget to spend on a few, top-quality items.


“Great – you may think – but how do I decide what’s a good purchase, and what items will lay unworn in my closet and only make me feel guilty any time I look at them?” This is a good question, and it has many solutions.

One of the most infallible ways to make a savvy choice is to look inside the garments, and see if the article has been sewn with care, which is an effective way to value the quality of the item you’re buying. This goes for garments as well as for accessories: a bag that will look dowdy after a few rides on the metro undoubtedly won’t have an impeccable lining.


Choosing high quality is essentials in particular for winter clothing. Winter fabrics are heavier, which makes a poor-quality fabric immediately visible. Even the cuts take on a greater importance. When layering many garments, it is essential to choose well-made ones—otherwise you’ll look all bundled up.

Be aware that a garment made of a beautiful fabric and cleverly sewn can enhance your style and make the most of your physical assets, while the same garment but awkwardly sewn and in a poor-quality fabric can add unpleasant extra pounds to your figure. Low-quality materials frequently wind up amplifying every imperfection and extra pound, highlighting faults in your figure—even where the fault doesn’t exist. To play it safe, it’s essential to stick to well-made pieces.


When shopping for sweaters, here’s a foolproof trick which I found on (and which is valid not only for cashmere but also for other blends): “Gently stretch the body of the sweater to test if it snaps back. A lower-quality cashmere won’t.” Also, be aware that “The thicker the knit, the denser its gauge, which means there is more cashmere in it.”

Never buy cashmere unless your absolutely sure of its quality. A low-quality cashmere will look dowdy and frumpy in a go.

When in doubt, better go for a merino blend, which can guarantee an outstanding and stylish outcome at a lower price: merino wool doesn’t pill, and always keeps its shape.


Be categorically demanding about the fit, no matter what the price (in particular for jeans, trousers, and jackets). Never buy a garment that doesn’t fit you perfectly just because “it’s just 29,99.”

Also, avoid buying garments for a different season of the year: it’s quite hard to figure out the outcome of a mauve turtleneck when outside it’s 95 degrees, or guess the effect of a summer dress in some fancy color when your skin is not even slightly tanned.

When it comes to colors and hues, be aware that bold, vibrant colors, aside from being frequently used for trendy, low-quality items (as explained in detail in the previous post), are not the most flattering option when you’re not anymore in your twenties. When these hues are worn close to the face, they can highlight dark circles and wrinkles. If you love bright, lively tonalities, you can make extensive use of them for your accessories (shoes and bags above all) regardless of your age.


And if you want to buy a garment in some unusual hue, to play it safe you can opt for those shades that are neutral while still being intense. This happens when a touch of gray is added to the original color, which brings about a deep transformation of the base tone making it more versatile, and easier to being paired with other colors (as it’s the case of the rust-colored trench in the image below).


Also, a totally fashionable yet timeless pairing is any combination of black and white for both garments and accessories. As famous German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld says, “Black and white always look modern, whatever that word means.” This choice always ensures a polished, put-together, chic, and sophisticated look.


Keep this mind when shopping during sales periods, and you will find timeless items that will enhance your style and personality no matter what the trends.

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