When the word "sales" means great bargains!
The first obvious comment is that the best items are always sold quickly, whereas the most interesting discounts are to be had at the end of the sales. So, to use La Fontaine's characters, either you are more of an ant, ready to buy the bare essentials from the top designers, or you are more of a grasshopper and you attack during the last days of the sales, seeing what's left in the bottom of Margiela's drawers. It's a matter of personality.
We must, however, recommend avoiding the major chain stores (H&M, Zara…) where you think you've bagged a bargain because of the price on the label, but where they have no qualms in pulling-out stock from previous years to make you believe that the orange wool Fair Isle tank top has been on sale since November, and a great hit. Along the lines of "you are so lucky, this is our last one!" Of course it is! On the contrary, the sales is a time to be brave and enter boutiques one normally passes by, due to the sinking feeling they provoke.
Downtown is obviously the best place to visit. Go into shops with names such as Stijl, Margiela, Christophe Coppens and Prototype for designer items, but also Le Comptoir des Cotonniers or Marithé & François Girbaud for basics. There might only be a few items on offer, but if you choose wisely you can get several years of wear from them without looking dated. Stéphanie Guillaume
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