As you may have heard or read, we recently completed a trip to Paris. I do dearly love going to Paris, largely because I absolutely love my job. That said, it is always a struggle for me to fit in everything I have to do, and there is little time for me to experience the many sights, sounds and flavors that the City of Love is so famous for. There are many requests for me to fulfil and I definitely put a lot of miles on my shoes when I visit.
One of the things that I have really not had the time to do lately is blogging. That has to change... it is such a great way to connect with the people who follow us, and I am often so gratified by the nice comments that people give me when they read about something they might not have known about when they read one of my blog posts.
The topic today is something that is near and dear to my heart. Les Soldes; the sale season in Paris, what is good about it and what reservations (pun fully intended) we should have.
First, we might want to consider the timing of the Paris sales. While you might think that the big brands all get together in a room and decide when is the best time for them to offer reductions on the items that are out of season. This is not the case. The sale season is something that is determined by the French Government. The timing of them is not bad, but it is a little more random that you would think. It is mostly about stimulating the economy at the right time, rather than when it would be best for us to pick up the latest fall/winter fashions at the right price.
While Paris is covered in banners that offer prices that are “up to” 50% off or more, you will rarely find anything that suits you in this kind of discount range. Just as the sales go here in Phils, you will find some inventory that has been around for a while (sometimes a few seasons!) and is presented as a ‘loss leader’ of sorts, so that they can draw people in to the store. Once you get there, you will find that 10-20% is about the best deal you can get on things that you can actually use.
It is also noteworthy to consider which retailers tend to get involved with the sales. As you can imagine, many of the brands that are on the top of the heap (Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton for instance), don’t put their items on sale. It is understandable why; this would serve to devalue the brand image, and these ones are definitely cashing in on that image. So, don’t expect that jumbo flap to go on sale any time soon!
One of the advantages of the travelling that we do and the purchasing that goes along with it, is the odd invite to a private sale at one of the boutiques. Prada is one of the top brands that does this. It is hard to count on these, and they don’t last long so if you see a post about an item from a private sale that interests you, my advice is... don’t hesitate!
I get asked about outlet stores in Europe a lot. There are definitely some good finds to be had, but this is a very labor-intensive task. Similar to the experience of the Paris sales, the items that are on sale are often that way for a reason. Still, there are lots of good deals to be found here. The tip here is to ask your best personal shopper (let me know if you need to be introduced to one hee hee) about your favorite brand. If you are a Burberry fan for instance, let me know and I will take a little detour to go take a ton of photos at the beginning of my day. Then you can send a request for a particular item and we can swing back and pick it up.
So, if I can offer any tips on how to take advantage from here at home, I would say it would help to give your favorite shopper a hint on what you are looking for, with a few options. I always have a running list of special requests that people have given me, and if I find something similar I can let them know. It is a great way to get the brand name stuff at unbeatable prices. Also, watch those sites you love right around January and June-July. There are not only the items that are available right at that time, but some gems that are brought back and available on hand (hint, hint)
Hope that helps! Trust me, while the sales season sounds like a blast, but you have to take the good with the bad. Shopping is fun, but it can be challenging when half of Paris seems to be crowded into the mall at the same time. Take advantage of them from home with your phone or computer. You might just have to hold on for a few weeks for the items to be delivered, but it will be worth the wait!