For the majority of the population, when it comes to shopping for clothes the High Street is where they turn to fill their wardrobe rails. It’s been this way since the 70s when some of the UK’s favourite brands like Aldo and Ann Summer’s were launched.
Since then times have changed; but the public’s love for shopping and shopping on the High Street at that, remains. According to the Omnico retail gap barometer, physically browsing shops is still favoured despite such a variety of alternative options offered by the internet.
So what exactly is it that continues to entice people to part with their money, causing them to splurge recklessly on that new coat which seemed like a bargain, but now catches dust at the back of the wardrobe?
Many people love shopping, but shopping smart is something which still appears out of reach. In order to shop smart, you have to be in tune with all of the little tricks (and at least a few of the main ones) that retailers have set in place to entice you to splash the cash.
This is a guide to some of the top tips that will enable you to get the most out of shopping the High Street.
Tip one: Visual merchandising
Don’t let the world of bloggers and social media influencers fool you. There are still many people out there who aren’t ‘fashionistas’ and when it comes to putting looks together they’re virtually clueless. (No worries if this is you, it’s never too late to step ya style up and serve some looks).
We spoke to Nia (@Niathelight), a student and social media influencer who explained one of her favourite things about shopping the High Street. “I love that I have the ability to see something and know how it will look on my body and pick it straight away based on the colour and texture!”
For those like Nia who like to try before they buy, but don’t always have the time, mannequins can do their job well. Seeing items on a ‘body’ and in person can be far more striking than seeing the garment plainly hanging, assisting you to also be able to look at an item and envision it on your own body.
Mannequins also help demonstrate how to put separate pieces together as one outfit. It is however, important to bear in mind your own shape. No matter how fabulous Melanie the mannequin has those wet look trousers looking; you have to remember, she may not have that Kim K booty to squeeze in or those extra couple of inches of leg that God graced you with.
These are all factors that can alter the fit of a garment and therefore the overall look of an outfit. Let mannequins inspire your purchases. Try to analyse what is that you like about the look and how it’s been put together and recreate it in a way which best suits you.
Buying pieces that aren’t you is a big way to waste money and often when shopping on the high-street we don’t realise just how much these little increments add up to a big cash loss.
This leads me on to the next tip…
Tip two: Returns and exchanges
When shopping, don’t shy away from familiarising yourself with the returns policy for a particular brand. Jennifer (You can find her on Instagram @jennifermendes) a graduate in fashion retail explains how often when shopping she tends to “pick up every single thing I like, if I really like it I won’t even try it on!”.
For shoppers like Jennifer you may wish to make returns on items you later change your mind on. So, don’t lose your receipt, as wanting to make a return and having no idea where you placed your receipt is painful and irritating.
A lot of shops in this age of technology offer email receipts, pretty nifty aye? Grabbing one of these avoids that frustration of lost receipts, it’s also a lot easier to check when your receipt expires (expired receipts are also pretty problematic when attempting to get your money back).
Tip three: Sales & discounts
When shopping on the High Street, discounts are key to saving that coin and looking fabulous for less. “I’d pick Topshop over River Island because Topshop has student discount, so I’m saving,” says Jennifer.
Many retailers offer student discount so if you yourself are a student be sure to download the ‘Unidays’ app or carry your university pass when shopping to make those savings. Another way to make the use of discounts is sharing. For example, if you have a friend who works for a High Street brand arrange to borrow their discount. Sharing really is caring.
Nia also told us that when shopping, she always heads straight to the sales. Sales seem great, no, sales ARE great! What isn’t great is buying random items you don’t need just because they are on sale. When shopping in the sale try to go in with a plan.
Is there something you’ve had your eye on for a while? A shop that is normally out of your price range? Sales are a perfect time to pick up these items. An extra tip for shopping in the sale is get in there quick, or right at the end.
Obviously if you make the first wave of the sale you’ll be left with more options. Failing that, right at the end of sales further reductions are made and occasionally additional lines are added too. Get familiar with sale times. Most sales go on at the end of each season so retailers can get rid of old stock and make way for new.
According to MoneySavingExpert.com: “A few days before a sale, staff often re-sort garments by type. So if you spot them fiddling with the racks, wait before purchasing.” This is most definitely a nifty trick to bear in mind.
Shoptaggr is another great app. It enables you to favourite items and as soon as any sort of reduction is made on them you’ll be notified, remember what I said about getting in there first? Shoptaggr helps you do exactly that.
That pretty much concludes our tips, but ask yourself one last question before grabbing your credit card and favourite tote and heading to the High Street (How could I forget, bring bags. Five pence saving is still a saving!)
Solo rider or group glider?
Both Nia and Jennifer said they have a preference for shopping alone. Are you the same, or do you need that moral support? Company can give you a gentle reminder that you have ten tops exactly like that home, or some encouragement that your curves look amazing in that bodycon dress.
All images by Denieka Lafayette