Twice a year the Paris department stores and boutiques are overrun with crowds of shoppers, each looking to grab a bargain or determined to find the handbag they’ve had their eye on for months. Yes, I’m talking about the Paris sales, or “Soldes”.
Love them or loathe them, the twice-yearly sales in Paris are prime time to find designer goods at significant markdowns. If you’re nimble, you probably revel at the thought of being in the thick of it, having the opportunity to search out amazing deals. For those of us a little more introverted however, it can be a daunting task, dealing with overcrowding, pillaged racks and claustrophobia.
The question is, how can I get the most out of sales season and work the store like a pro?
Know Thy Competition at Paris Sales
Firstly, you must know and understand your fellow shoppers, your competition, that woman who grabbed the Celine dress before you did. Know her inside and out. Whether you’re an expat or just in the city for the weekend, your main competition is the Parisian. She’s probably been navigating the sales since the womb, so take some pointers from her and start sussing out what you want before the sale starts.
A day or two before, begin perusing the stores, trying garments on and writing down specifics on a list. Your list should be clear and precise, so you can glance down and know exactly what you’re hunting for. Think item, brand, color and size. Also be aware that many stores will not offer refunds on sale items, so using the fitting rooms before the sales start can not only save you time but also money in the long run.
How To Survive The Frenzy
That timeless saying, “The Early Bird Catches The Worm” is applicable to even the sales. Get there early in the morning when stock has been replenished and prepare yourself mentally. Block out the noise, the traffic, your opposition, you are calm, collected and on your own mission. If you have a get in and get out attitude to shopping, you’ll need to rethink that for the sales.
You won’t find your dream coat at 50% in five minutes. You’ll have to be tenacious and bide your time, so give a thought to your footwear and choose your most comfortable pair. Another great time to hit the sales is during the week when most people are at work. Be warned though: Parisians take sales very seriously (after all, they only get them two times per year!) and often take time off work to be there at the opportune moment.
Weighing up the odds
The closer you get to the end of sales season, the bigger the discount, but your choice will be limited. Think carefully about the type of item you want. If it’s a garment, you may not want to run the risk of waiting and having your size be sold out. If homeware is more your bag, however, you’re better off waiting it out and comparing prices.
The Secret to Paris Sales All Year Long
Whether you couldn’t find what you were looking for at the sales or you just want a bargain throughout the year, Paris’s outlet stores are the way to go. They offer discounts on designer goods all year round and will also have extra discounts during the sales. Each one operates differently, some remove labels so that the brand is unknown. You could pick up a cocktail dress for €100; but it could be anything from Zara to Zadig et Voltaire, so you need to know your fashion.
Other stores retain the labels but may only have luxury designers from time to time with limited sizes. The advantage of these stores is that they provide discounts throughout the year, although stock can be out of season and brands unknown.
The best part about Paris’s outlet stores is that it can be quite refreshing to browse through their racks – to follow design and style as opposed to labels – allowing yourself to choose solely on how it looks and fits without succumbing to branding and marketing ploys.
Use these tips to get the most out of the Parisian soldes, and you’ll breeze through them like a pro. The June sales are approaching, so get ready to test your skills.
Happy shopping and bon courage!
Find your bonheur during Paris summer sales from June 28 to August 8, 2017.