From The Straits Times    |

The Great Singapore Sale (GSS) is back and now is the time for savvy retail therapy that will not take too much of a toll on the wallet.

Besides keeping your eyes peeled for discount signs at the malls, employ a varied arsenal of tips to land the top deals.

Stock up on everyday beauty products, for instance, or shop in advance for Christmas presents during the nation’s biggest sale season from now till Aug 13. Or why not go in for the kill and get that designer statement piece that is marked down by 70 per cent?



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1. Buy timeless pieces

Classic items make for smart purchases during the GSS, says Heng, who recommends quality pieces that will stand the test of time.

“I’m a big fan of Ray-Ban sunglasses and I believe they stay in style season after season. I have the Aviators in almost every colour. I even have vintage ones from Japan which are modelled after those Tom Cruise wore in the 1986 movie Top Gun,” she says.

“Even fragrances such as Chanel No. 5, which you can give people, are a good idea.”

2. Plan, plan, plan

Heng says planning your shopping trip helps you to overcome the urge to impulse-buy. “When you’re in that crazy sale environment, you can end up buying things you don’t need or want. To prevent this, make lists before shopping and set a budget.”



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1. Stock up on skincare and make-up, but check expiry dates

While the GSS is a good time to stock up on beauty products that are used daily, such as lipsticks and cleansers, Lee cautions against hoarding. Longer-lasting products, such as foundation, for example, usually last six months to a year and your stock could expire before you start using it. “Always check expiry dates before you buy. Don’t just stock up for the sake of it because you end up wasting money.”

2. Try a new trend

Lee says the GSS is a good time to try trendy cosmetics you are not quite sure about. He says it is better to wait for a sale to buy beauty products and fashion items that are outside your comfort zone. “You want to experiment, but don’t want to waste too much money on them in case you end up not liking the look.”




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1. Buy for future events

Look at the social events on your calendar for the next six months and buy clothes, accessories or what you need in advance, in case you have a wedding or big party to attend or an overseas trip to go on.

Awasthi adds: “You can also shop for Christmas presents during this time rather than wait for the Christmas sale as you might run the risk of buying the same thing as others.”

2. Invest in statement pieces to complete an outfit

He says it is a good time to invest in that statement piece that will complete your look, whether they are shoes, a bag or an accessory. “It is also the time to get the brands you like – I’m looking at shoes from Valentino, Balenciaga and Givenchy.” 3. Invest in good underwear “There is nothing more gross than nude underwear that is torn,” he says. “You can lose your fashion sense, but not your dignity. Life is too short to wear ugly underwear.”


Image: Danelle Woo from ST

1. Wear make-up to suit the clothes you are shopping for

Woo says: “I will do proper make-up when I shop during the GSS. If I’m hoping to find a statement piece, I might wear a fire-red lipstick.

“When I’m shopping for basics or everyday work clothes, then I wear my everyday make-up so that it would match what I buy. My everyday look is thick eyebrows, eyeliner, highlighter and a nude lipstick. I skip the blush.

“If I wear red lipstick, it is the same except that I put on a bit of blush and skip the eyeliner. The red lipstick goes with all kinds of denim and it makes basic clothing pop.”

2. Alteration does wonders

She says one should not give up on a sale item even if the fit is a little off. You can add a bust seam so that the dress fits or change the lining if it is too sheer.

If you have a regular seamstress, take a picture of the item and ask his or her opinion on the alteration. Altering linings and zippers is more costly, but could be worth it.

3. Wear nude underwear

Woo wears seamless nude underwear when she is shopping. She says: “When you try on a pair of white pants, you don’t know if they will be too sheer. If your underwear shows through, then the pants are too sheer and you have to give them up.”




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1. Get running shoes

Sports shoes can be expensive so Mastura says the GSS is a good time to get a new pair. “My sons like Nike and adidas while my daughter prefers Vans. We can usually find shoes at up to 70 per cent off.”

2. Shop patiently

She says the family usually visits at least three department stores or malls to search for the best discounts. “Sometimes you go to one store and it doesn’t have the size we need. But the right size is available at another location, then we will make our way there, even if it’s on the other side of Singapore.”

She says the journey is worth it. “My kids usually get two pairs each, so getting a discount on each pair means we save more.”

3. Plan for vacations

Mastura notes that winter wear is usually cheaper during off-season. “If you’ve already bought tickets or plan to travel to some place cold, why not buy your holiday clothing while there is a sale?”




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1. Stock up on statement pieces

Go for luxury items in quirky designs or funky colours, says Chen, as they make for interesting statement pieces. “The GSS is a great time to look for wild statement pieces. These usually have amazing discounts. I remember buying some crazy neon pieces which you can see in my older photographs,” he says.

2. Buy basics from designer stores

For good quality basics, look at luxury labels such as Armani, says Chen. “It’s always a good idea to stock up on basics such as jeans or T-shirts in black and white, especially if you wear them often,” he says. “You can get basics from anywhere, from shops such as H&M and Zara to luxury brands such as Armani, where items will be of better quality.”

3. Keep it comfy and skip the queues

Wear comfortable clothes for hassle-free layering and changing. He says: “When I shop, I’m in jeans, a T-shirt and a plain pair of shoes that are easy to take off. I can layer outerwear easily – this saves me from joining queues at changing rooms.”


A version of this story was originally published in The Straits Times on June 29, 2017. For more stories like this, head to