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!
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.