Most of the unhappiness in my day-to-day life stems from the fact that I am not an heiress. By and large, I embrace my lack of family fortune and only crumble under the weight of it when I come to work and am forced to walk past the elaborate and fabulous windows of the shops at Brookfield Place Shopping Mall, knowing I am forever barred by salary and circumstance from even entering their hallowed doors.
Instead, I find solace in the big seasonal sales that I keep track of in my desk calendar. Are sales not the best? Is there anything better than adding a coveted and normally unattainable piece to your wardrobe? (It's infinitely better than buying t-shirts in bulk at Target or sifting through clearance racks at outlet malls and knowing that said clearance rack items are not as well-made as their not-outlet-mall counterparts.)
Sales mean buying all the things you yearn for that you could otherwise not afford without guilt. Sale season is the best, and yes, I am pushing this distinction because nothing — literally nothing — is worse than browsing your favorite online store because there's a "big sale!" and for one bright moment thinking you can buy something and then you realize that 10% off something you can't afford is still, you know, unaffordable.
Which brings us to the bevy of Memorial Day sales. Now is the time to donate any leftover tax-return money to veterans organizations (but ones that actually support vets) and spend whatever's left over after that on giving your summer wardrobe an octane boost.
Here are the Memorial Day sales — and my most coveted items from each — going on right now that are so glorious that your regular old dollars will puff up like those little capsules you took into the bath as a kid that exploded into dinosaur-shaped sponges (that you were told not to put in your mouth, but probably did anyway).
Nasty Gal was one of those shops I didn't "get" until my mid-twenties because, despite my many college Pinterest boards, I didn't really understand the concept of combining edgy and understated pieces to create a look. It's a basic concept; I don't know why it took so long. Anyway, in my fully-formed-frontal-lobe-critical-thinking adulthood, I now look to NastyGal as the place to find rarified, spiky, and opulent items that complete the quietest looks.
Why It's Worth Shopping This Sale: As I mentioned a moment ago, until recently, I thought Nasty Gal made its bread and butter on bodycon style dresses and those spiky coveted pieces of art known as Jeffrey Campbell shoes. But, as I have grown mighty in the realm of fashion, I've discovered that they also offer a really nice range of vintage and designer items that are worth waiting around for. Plus, there's really no reason not to have as many pairs of Jeffrey Campbells in your closet or displayed as art in shadowboxes and on coffee tables in your apartment.
Fine Print: An extra 40% off all marked down items.
I have never gone into an Anthropologie and not thought that if I had in my possession all the decor and clothing and accessories sold there, I would instantly transform (through chic alchemy) into a well-mannered, sweet-smelling demigoddess who keeps fresh flowers in her penthouse apartment and always washes her face before bedtime in a decadent ritual involving golden bowls and precious unguents.
(Tell me you have not felt the same way at least once, at least a little.)
Obviously — despairingly obviously — I can't waltz into Anthro whenever I please and spend $300 on soy candles and full skirts (although it is my fondest wish to do) so I wait until a sale rolls around. Blessedly, Anthro's Memorial Day sale is extra-generous for impoverished dreamers like me.
Why It's Worth Shopping This Sale: Needless to say, when you shop at Anthropologie, you're kind of shopping a lifestyle. Entering an Anthropologie is like entering an alternate reality where every drawer has a kitschy porcelain handle, no couch or chair is bereft of darling, plush throw pillows, and no one ever sweats or leaves the house without enough jewelry. It's a tantalizing dreamscape and while it hovers just beyond reach most of the time, you can carry little pieces back to reality with you during sales like these.
Fine Print: An extra 30% off all marked down items.
The pieces I am proudest of having in my closet — the grownup, sleek, editor maven pieces that never fail me, year after year — are from Banana Republic. I shop there throughout the year, but their Memorial Day sale is fantastic, and means even more timeless pieces (like the sweet little skirt I'm wearing while I write this, pictured to the left that I bought on sale a season ago) are mine for the salivating over and buying for many, many percents off.
Banana Republic also respects my "leaning towards petite and yet somehow inexplicably gargantuan in some brand's petite" status, which is a nice change. I can shop their faithfully regular petites section without worrying that I will look like a big, friendly giant in a regular sized giant's clothing.
Why It's Worth Shopping This Sale: In my estimation, Banana Republic is the best place to shop for pieces that make the best foundation for building a wardrobe. But wait! There's more! I truly appreciate that Banana Republic offers staples in somber colors, but also in fun prints. While I can't buy multiple pairs of cropped dress pants, which is an arena in which Banana Republic truly excels. During sales like this one, I can buy the utterly wonderful Sloan Slim-Fit Ankle Pant in black (duh) and a flashy geometric print like this one.
And, of course, like every sensible person in the history of humanity says, if something fits like a glove, buy as many pairs as you can get your hands on. Banana Republic's Memorial Day sale is generous enough that you can potentially get yours hands on two or three pairs and wear them for years upon years.
Fine Print: 40% off your ENTIRE PURCHASE
J. Crew is one of those stores that I'll wander into occasionally against my better judgement. I browse for half a minute, super casually, and then immediately fall in love with something — sometimes a sundress, usually tweed — only to glance at the price tag and begin muttering to myself about how stupid I was to even bother, though the heart wants what the heart wants, and before I know it I've spent 15 minutes in a spiral of angst and disappointment. It's an exercise in masochism. Except for sale season!!! I like to, when I can, shop sales in store because there's always a sizable chunk of the store dedicated to clearance racks and while it can sometimes be hard to find smaller sizes online, the physical stores tend to be just full of them.
Why It's Worth Shopping This Sale: If you, like me and also like Marie Antoinette find joy in opulent accessories and, if you like me and also like Plato believe that there is no more sophisticated (nor rewarding) a mortal pursuit than the pursuit of beauty, chances are you've, at one point or another, encountered and subsequently coveted J. Crew's elaborate statement necklaces. However, if you, like me and unlike Marie Antoinette, are working to avoid bankruptcy and destitution, the price tags on J. Crew jewelry make regular indulgence difficult.
During big sales, like this year's Memorial Day sale, many of J Crew's accessories are marked down to affordable prices, the same you'd pay for costume jewelry at H&M or an idyllic outdoor flea market. And while fleeing to J.Crew factory outlets online and in store is tempting, it's worth the wait to snag timeless pieces (like a renowned J. Crew blazer. Is there anything better? No. No, there is not.) during sales like the one on now.
Fine Print: 30% off your entire purchase including sale styles in store and online with code "WEEKEND" plus take an extra 50% off final sale styles.
Unlike Kathleen, I take issue with jean shorts (although we agree on most other sartorial hot topics) and can't often find brands that don't make me feel chaff-y and sausage-y and all manner of uncomfortable. I've owned the same pair of Loft midi-length denim shorts for a couple of years now, they've lasted me faithfully that long, and I'll be upgrading this sale season. If only for their denim shorts, I adore the loft. They also make clothes that fit nicely into a working gal's wardrobe, but offer whimsical — dare I say trendy? No, I don't dare. Let me instead say sweet or notable or twee without being offensive — details that other office-appropriate brands forgo.
Why It's Worth Shopping This Sale: If only for the brand's exceptional denim and range of petite and tall options (that are honest-to-God true to scale), Loft's sales — which are plentiful — are worth the wait. Their accessories are finely wrought, but also hardy enough to last many winters, and I have a few headbands and bracelets from Loft that have kept their shine for years.
The brand also boasts exceptionally nice basics (tees and tanks and the like), which stand up to countless spins through the dryer, with price points (when discounted like they are right now) comparable to what you'd pay for lesser quality basics (tees and tanks and the like) at Target or Forever 21 or H&M. (Though it pains me to say this, I've never owned an H&M shirt that didn't emerge from the dryer a size smaller than when it went in. Even on low heat? You might ask scrupulously. To which I am forced to reply EVEN ON TUMBLE DRY.
Fine Print: 60% off Summer favorites and sale styles, 40% off new arrivals, no code needed because ballers ball hard.