So, ok, let me start by saying, I never used to do sales. This wasn’t out of some snobby rich-girl principle (“I don’t do economy”, “I don’t do off-the-rack), I was just never smart enough to do well in sales. I’d spend what seemed like days getting trampled by yummy mummies clawing at each other over the last pair of Joseph trousers, only to emerge with an item that was three sizes too big for me and looked like something Ugly Betty would wear. If she got dressed in the dark. On laundry day.
And then, this vacation, something magical happened. Something that promised to change my entire wardrobe and, by extension, my life. I discovered the online sale.
I know, I know, welcome to, like, 2002. Still, it was a new discovery for me and I was ecstatic. As the clock raced to midnight on Boxing Day, I sat in front of my laptop, manically clicking the refresh button and clutching my Christmas vouchers, giddy as a kid before actual Christmas. This was it, I thought. No more piles of unorganised clothes! No more excruciating queues! No more yummy mummies! The dream!
I was overwhelmed. I was nervous. I was frightened. But I persevered, and, in doing so, systematically passed through all five stages of the online sale shop: Or…not. The yummy mummies are still there, snapping up some last-minute Stuart Weitzman on the Selfridges web app before spin class. The clothes piles and queues are gone, but they have been replaced with hundreds upon taste-numbing hundreds of pages of sale offers and a strategic minefield of baskets, wishlists and ‘save-for-later’s.
The Pipe Dream
The item you gleefully add to your basket when you discover it’s still in your size, and then not-so-gleefully remove once you remember you’re not a Rothschild.
“Embellished silk-chiffon Cavalli gown? Down from £5390 to £2695? That’s 50% off! That’s a bargain, right? …right?”
The Old Staple
The item your wardrobe has been craving while your purse has been saving. For me this January, it was the Urban Outfitters Patty Black Lace-up Boots, down from the hundreds to a less objectionable £75.
The New Staple
The item you will be working into as many outfits as possible next term, by force if necessary, because everyone needs to know that you’re obsessed with it. This Hilary, I will be wearing my new Emerald corduroy skinny jeans by Mother rain or shine, and possibly also as pyjamas.
The item you bought for summer six months in advance because who knows when you’re going to find/love bargains like this? It’s a toss-up between the Mulberry Ditzy Daisy printed bikini and the Chinese Laundry sandal wedges.
The “Did I?”
The item you forgot you actually put in your basket until it arrives at your door in 3-5 working days.
“Did I really think I could rock the electric blue asymmetrical jumpsuit? Did that happen?”
It was an arduous journey, by the end of which I felt like I deserved a medal as well as the clothes I ordered. But if you have a rough idea what you’re looking for and know your measurements cold it’s infinitely better than getting trampled on the physical high street; the sheer range of options leaves bargain bins in the dust, and the ability to shop around and save items for later without fear that’ll be snapped up before you get back almost compensates for the inability to try things on. Plus, few things brighten up a Nexus inbox filled with new lecture lists and collection times more than that mellifluous phrase, “Your order has been shipped”.