Monday, June 23, 2014

~Soldes~ A Guide to the Paris SALES (Spring/Summer 2014 edition)

My favorite time of the year is about to start... the summer sales in Paris.  In the past, I made a special trip to Paris for the sales... Is that crazy? Well, I did't think so. The deals are fantastic. Almost every store has savings of 50% or more. This includes couture designers like Dior, Prada, Elie Saab,.. even Hermès has a special sale twice a year in Paris.  A Chloe bag at 50% off, yes please!

But that's not all of course. All of those other popular brands have sales as well, like ba&sh, Isabel Marant, Maje, COS, and Comptoir des Cotonniers. And then there of those lovely one-of boutiques dotted around the city. Some of my favorites are Beija, and The Broken Arm in Le Marais and some tiny design/jewelry boutiques on my street in the 17th that I don't even know the names of. All on sale!!

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The sales start this Wednesday, 25 June - and continue until 29 July.  I've prepared some Q&A to help you get prepped:

What is on Sale, and how much is the discount?

Usually everything from the previous season, so in this case, the spring/summer season is discounted. Stores will separate the new season and it will usually be marked "nouvelle collection" or "articles non soldés" which means it's not on sale.  Everything else is. Some stores, usually the high-end ones only have a tiny little sign in the window that says "sale" or "soldes." Sometimes the sale price is not marked on the ticket, but that doesn't mean it's not on sale.  All you have to do is ask the sales person which items are on sale or if a particular item is on sale, and she will usually tell you if it is and the percentage mark-down.  Don't forget to greet her with a friendly "Bonjour," before you ask.

Items usually start around 30 - 50% off, and as time goes by, the discount gets deeper, up to 70%.  If it's a staple item that the designer always has available, it may not have a huge discount or may not be on sale at all.

Does every designer have a sale?

As far as I know everyone except Chanel and Louis Vuitton participate in the end-of season sales. Yes, even those red soles go on sale, but probably not the basic must-have black or nude pumps, because they do not go out of style.

Hermès has a special sale for 3-4 days, not in store, but in the Palais des Congrès. The dates for this have not been announced yet, but I will update if a hear anything.  I'd also love some feedback if anyone knows any other designers that do not have sales or host special sales.  Please comment below.

Also as far as I know, the high-end jewelers and watch brands do not have sales.  But I'd love to be wrong about that, so please tell me if you know any that do.

How should I dress?

Do: Wear a comfortable, light-weight dress, like a wrap dress or something that just slips on and off easily.  You want to be able to get in and out of that dressing room as fast as possible. Summer is in full swing now in Paris, so it may get a little warm especially with all the crowds.

I'm wearing a wrap dress by Julie Brown and some Lanvin Ballerina flats.

Don't: Dress like a slob.  You are still in Paris, the most fashionable city in the world.  If you want respect, especially from the salesperson, dress appropriately.

Do: Wear some comfy flats like ballet slippers or flat sandals. Something that slips on would be ideal for trying on shoes. Make sure they are as comfortable as possible.  Do not wear heels, you will be walking alot and will certainly regret it.

If you've never tried a pair of Lanvin flats, you might want to. These puppies are sooo comfortable. I could go all day in them. They are like walking around on little clouds.

Don't: Wear sneakers with socks. You don't want to mess around with peeling your sweaty socks off when you are trying on those Valentino's.

Don't: Wear huge bulky handbag. You want to be as maneuverable as possible.  There will be crowds, so it's best to wear something light and easy like a small cross-body that stays low profile, out of your way, and out of the way of other shoppers.

Although this is a great tote, I wouldn't wear it shopping during he sales. It's too big and too open. There are pick-pockets in Paris. You don't want to have to worry about always keeping an eye on your bag. Best to wear one that closes tight with a zipper or such.

Do the stores have extended hours?

Yes, some do but they are usually just the large department stores and they only have extended hours during the first week/weekend. Normally Le Bon Marche and Galeries Lafayette open on the first Sunday during sales, and as you can see below may open a bit earlier and stay open a bit later.

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When is the best time to go?

For obvious reasons it is better to go during the week than on the weekend. But the first few days will be busy no matter what, as many French women take time off from work during the first week. It also depends on what you are shopping for. If you have been lusting over that "It" bag for a while, chances are it will go very fast so you want to be there during the first week. If you just want to score some fantastic deals on clothing at some of your favorite shops, you have a better chance at getting bigger bargains later on, since the markdowns get bigger as time goes by. 

My Strategy:

This year it's a little bit easier for me since I'm half living in Paris now. I plan to take Friday off from work and arrive in Paris on Thursday evening. That way I have an entire non-weekend day. I'm going to hit Louboutin and Valentino first, just in case I find that to-die-for pair. Then I'm going to take it easy. I already killed my bank account when I was in the States a few weeks ago, so I need to watch it. I'll probably go to some mid-end boutiques and see what I find. I try to avoid Galeries Lafayette. I know what you are thinking... Galeries is always crazy-crowded... Well believe it or not it's twice as bad during the sales!  On Saturday I will have the hubby in tow, so we will probably visit some men's stores, and on Sunday, we will visit Le Marais since, you guessed it... the stores are open.

As always, Happy Shopping!

If you have any further questions feel free to comment below.

1 comment:

  1. I really liked your outfit. The colors perfectly complement your image. A combination of shoes and dresses simply superb.