Q&A: Designer shoes on sale

I got a question from a reader recently that I thought would make a good post. My number one question I get asked about is my shoes so I thought this would interest quite a few of you out there!

Kristie asks:
First off, I’m a huge fan of your blog and love shoes as much as you. I noticed how you often get your costly ones on sale. I have yet to own my first pair of Louboutins and would love any advice on how to score a great pair on sale (or great shoes on sale in general!)

Thanks Kristie! It’s true, I do buy most of my designer shoes on sale and I do so by stalking them! haha! 🙂 Now, I want to be totally upfront here that when I say “sale” it’s usually the first markdown which is around 30% off so when buying shoes with original prices of $800-$900, their sale price is still around $500-$600. On occasion I can find them at 50% off the original price but those are few and far between. I admit, it’s not cheap but finding them on sale is worth it to me. For those of you looking for a true bargain, I don’t have any good tips other than check Nordstrom Rack and you might get lucky. 🙂 With that said, here are some tips on how to score designer shoes on sale.

#1 Befriend a sales associate in the shoe department:
Nordstrom is a great place to form a relationship with a sales associate and this is where I’m going to base my tips from as I buy the majority of my shoes from Nordstrom. They are so great about the customer relationship and keeping track of what you like, what size you are and basically what you want to buy. How do you start such a relationship? When you go shopping for shoes and an associate is helping you out with shoes, tell them what you are interested in and if there is any sales on this certain brand, please call me. Ask for their card and remember their name. This is important! Because the next time you come in to buy shoes and you ask for them, they will know that you are a repeat customer and will continue going to them to buy your shoes. It’s a win-win situation as you continue buying shoes from them and then you get the advantage of knowing when new shoes come in or when your favorite brands go on sale. Once they get to know you, they will just start calling you to come in and pre-sale even before the sale starts so you get an even bigger advantage of picking out the shoes you want before the public even begins to attack them! As someone with small feet, this is a huge advantage for me as usually by the time I hit a sale, all the 5’s are gone and am stuck scrounging through the “size 6 and under rack” hoping to find a 5.

#2: Know when the sales are going to start
Once you start seeing notices about sales, call up the department stores and ask when their designer shoe sale will start. (That is, if you are not already working with a sales associate. If you have a sales associate that you work with, they will call you and tell you that it’s coming). If you have a specific designer that you like that have their own stores (Prada, Miu Miu, Gucci) call them up too. Usually designer shoe sales are at the end of each season and it starts a little bit later than their normal sales. Each department store has a different start date but most of them are within one week of each other. If it is close enough (usually 1-2 weeks before) ask if you can pre-sale shoes. Most of the time they will say yes. My favorite time for sales shoes is around Christmas time. That’s when almost all of the fall shoes get marked down and you can find a ton of shoes on sale at all the major department stores. I often plan my trips to New York right around this sale time so I can hit Saks and Bergdorf’s amazing shoe sales.

#3: STALK your shoes
Usually by the end of the season I already know which shoes I have my eye on. If the store does not have it in my size I ask my sales associate to look for it in different stores. If they don’t have it, I call up another department store and have them look for them. I also check the online stores very diligently. Online, I buy a lot of my shoes from barneys.com, neimanmarcus.com, net-a-porter.com and saks.com, something that I have found is to shop online at night because a lot of times, they will put things on sale and then announce it the next day. So you know how sometimes you click on the email in the morning about the huge sale and it’s already all picked over? It’s because all the night shoppers already got all the good stuff! This method is hard unless you want to check every dang night (which I do sometimes if I am dying for a certain pair of shoes). On that note though, make sure that you sign up for their mailing list so you do know when they go on sale. Don’t forget to check the designer’s site too! gucci.com, jimmychoo.com and ysl.com always have end of season sales too.

#4: The Purse Forum
I am a member of The Purse Forum but do not post often. However, their “Deals & Steals” section is amazing as all the members on there are die hard sale shoppers that post up fantastic deals that they spot or any knowledge of sales going on. I’ve found quite a few pairs of sales shoes based on tips from the members of The Purse Forum.

That’s about it! I’ve been using these methods for the past 3 years (other than The Purse Forum, I just found that) so I’d say that they work pretty well!

I love fall shoes. I’m not much of a strappy shoe girl, I don’t like to show my toes too much so I’m a fan of pumps and peep toes. Here are a few pairs of shoes that I have my eye on. I might have to report back at the end of the season and see if I am able to get any of these on sale!

One thing to note is that sales usually only apply to the “trendy” shoes of the season. If you are looking for the classics that the designers carry throughout each season, it is pretty much impossible to find them on sale. My thinking is that if they are classics, then they are worth the splurge and you will be able to get many years wear out of them.

Kristie, I hope this helps and have fun shopping for shoes! 🙂

Side note: if you come upon a site that sells Louboutins for cheap, please do not email me asking me if this is a reputable site.  Please read #3 above for the sites that I buy from.  I am not the expert on these sites but I can tell you that I’d rather be safe and buy from a reputable retailer than some site that “looks” legit but sells designer brands for amazingly low prices.

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  • Ela
    September 1, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    First thank you for your sweet words and hugs 🙂 I'm so glad your dad and fmaily got through that and that's he's better now.

    Great post! Oh and make sure you check out http://www.theoutnet.com they've got some Loubies in a 5 at 50-60% off right now 🙂

  • Jaime
    September 1, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    What great advice! I am totally checking out Purse Forum right now 🙂

  • Onada - Fashion and Photography
    September 1, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    this is really great advice! I shop for my shoes pretty much the same way! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Fashionista
    September 1, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    love the first pair all your wish list!!!

  • Daituf
    September 1, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Tiffany!
    Love your blog! Too fabulous…
    Anyway, I know you've been to Vegas, and was wondering if you have any advice. On where to go, what to see, etc. Any suggestions for clubs?
    What's a must do in vegas? Besides gambling of course…
    Please leave a comment on my blog when you have time! Thanks a bunch!

    http://iwannaworkforjuddapatow.blogspot.com/

  • WendyB
    September 1, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Great advice. It applies to anything you're looking for, really. Since starting to write the Francis blog, I've seen that you have to check websites every day because weird sales come and go all the time. Like one day things are 25% off, the next they are full price, then the following week they are 40% off. So stalking is very important!

  • Foxie
    September 1, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Any advice on how to learn to part with $600 for one pair of shoes?? 😛 I'm thinking I'm going to go after a nice handbag instead first, and maybe then I'll find it worth it to get some shoes to go with it… (Or if I could EVER learn to drive in heels.)

    • Gracie
      September 23, 2012 at 11:13 am

      As someone who's been wearing heels most of my life, and now my freshman college daughter who's been wearing them since about 8th grade we have a lot of experience with wearing/living daily lives in heels.

      I'm not sure about others but you should NEVER drive with really high heels, it's dangerous. The heel can easily get trapped on a floor mat, the carpet, etc. due to the angle of the heel when driving.
      It is best to keep a pair of flats or slippers in the car for driving.

  • Iva
    September 1, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    fabulous advise! 🙂 you always have such cute shoes!

  • Kellie
    September 1, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Great info! I am dying to go to Nordstrom's Rack. I haven't been there forever… 🙁

    Also, those pink leopard shoes are awesome!

  • Polished Sense
    September 1, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing all of your ah-mazing tips to finding designer shoes! Your collection above is awesome!

    xX♡Xx,
    Jessica

  • L.A. Daze
    September 1, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Thanks for the advice! I'm not sure yet which shoes i'm stalking. Time to get a headstart on it!

  • Hanako66
    September 1, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    I saw a similar pair of miu mius on the outnet today….hurry on over!!! xo

  • Mademoiselle Frou-Frou
    September 2, 2009 at 12:02 am

    i love it – this is a great post!!
    plus i love your wishlist of shoes…i want those YSL sandals too…
    xox

  • Fashion Luvr
    September 2, 2009 at 12:15 am

    Great post!

    I second the Nordstrom idea. I have had several great shoes buys. One time before the half yearly sale the sales person I know showed me a preview of the images that had in an employee leaf sheet.
    I was able to preorder them so I got them a couple days before the sale even started.
    Another time I was shopping for a pair of shoes and the sales person said they would be going on sale in a couple weeks and was able to give me the sale price if I paid up front and she had them shipped to me a couple days before the sale started. Effortless shopping.

  • Fashion Luvr
    September 2, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Oh, Marni is having 50% off their shoes through their online store too!
    http://www.marni.com/searchResult/realgender/Women/season/main/category/Shoes/tskay/3FD17CD7/gender/D/c/cat_103

  • freeteyme
    September 2, 2009 at 3:40 am

    great tips! my size always go out fast even before they go on sale so I sometimes end up paying full price for shoes that I really love.

  • candacerose
    September 2, 2009 at 6:00 am

    Isn't Nordies the best!!! As are you! =)

  • Kristin
    September 2, 2009 at 6:09 am

    Super advice lady! One of these days those elusive Loubies will be mine. : )

  • Little Bow Prep
    September 2, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Nice fall picks!

    Oh, and fab advice! Thanks!

  • Elise
    September 2, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Hello, I absolutely adore your site and I just had to leave a note for you to say so !

    Your posts are interesting, creative and original, and your pictures are great too.

    Perfection !

    Thank you for sharing them all and best wishes… Happy September

  • issa
    September 2, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    great tips!! i've been trying to make friendly with a SA.. we'll see how it goes.. haha

  • Designer Store
    October 13, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    wow!!! thank u very much for all this information. Keep on supplying such useful information. It really is interesting.