My McQueen and me
Deirdre McQuillan shares her fashion editor’s insight into how to be a savvy salesshopper – and snaps up a hard-working classic Alexander McQueen jacket for €105
In Havana, a Simone Rocha sleeveless black lace dress with a sheer front panel was half price at €465; a special dress for a special occasion from Ireland’s hottest young designer.
For those sticking to black – which is back in force for winter – I found in Arnotts a lovely M Missoni black-and-white striped dress (vertical, not horizontal stripes) at €265, down from €530, and a cute black knit dress with white collar, which was €242, down from €485; useful workaday buys that could be dressed up or down. Even with 50 per cent reductions, some bags were still expensive (a tiny clutch by Celine down to €400 from €800 was no bargain in BTs), though a black tote from Coach in Arnotts was €205, down from €295.
On the basis that it’s vital to try things on, the sensory experience being paramount, sales shopping can test discipline and willpower. We’re told that we make impulse decisions emotionally and rationalise them with facts. I know the damn coat is expensive, but the fabric is good, the cut is good, the fit is right and it will last more than one winter, so what’s not good to buy?
And it’s a myth that it’s only females who succumb to sales fever; men get hot under the collar too. Brooks Brothers shirts were half price in Arnotts – the cotton is always top quality – and Hackett’s more buttoned up look was down 30 per cent. In Brown Thomas, a Yves St Laurent stone mac was €490, down from €1,350, a practical all-year-round buy, and a Prada grey wool suit (two-button, single-breasted) might earn its keep for work. A friend in Paris told me the only time she ever saw men fighting was over silk ties at a Hermès sale.
Still there’s nothing to beat that sense of satisfaction when you’ve snapped up a real trophy, whose success lies in the fact that its usage has more than served its worth.
Despite dishing the advice and knowing some of the pitfalls, I’ve had my share of success and failure like everyone else. I’ve a pair of boots, clean-cut equestrian style, that have covered hundreds of miles of pavement and more than justified their original cost. But a navy dress bought on the spur of the moment was worn only once. Still, the day’s coup, despite a resolution not to buy, was a black jacket by Alexander McQueen that gave me a figure I don’t have. With an original price tag of €695, now mine for €105, it is destined for a hard-wearing life, winter and summer.
With thanks to Petria Lenehan of Dolls cafe/boutique, Dublin