How to Bag a Bargain: Flash Sale Sites

Now, regular readers will know that a lot of the content in this blog is Fashion related. It’s mostly skirts and shoes, let’s face it. Skirts and shoes that are interspersed with the odd bus rant or emotional outpouring or ‘OMG HAVE YOU SEEN MY DOG, SHE’S SO FREAKIN’ CUTE’ but skirts and shoes all the same. You could not really call it a ‘Fashion Blog’ though. Because – and this is top secret, so don’t tell anyone – I know sod all about ‘Fashion’. I could not tell you what you’re all likely to be buying for Autumn/Winter 2017 or who the next up and coming designer is. I actually won’t have even heard the names of some of the well established ones. I just like clothes. I see them, they make me excited, I feel the urge to make them mine. Clothes to me are almost a form of self expression, so to be honest, I couldn’t really care less whether what I’m wearing is considered fashionable. This is helpful, because while I seem to have been born with an insatiable lust for shopping, I was also brought up with a sensible attitude to money, so thankfully my shopping habits have never been in danger of putting me into debt or meaning I have to forgo the usual requirements like a roof over my head or food in my fridge to pay for my next handbag.

This does mean, of course, that the clothes in my wardrobe tend not to be the most current trends – more likely they are at least 3 seasons old and bought off eBay. So I can’t offer you the glossy style inspo and runway reviews that your fancy ‘Fashion Blogger’ can, and when you look at my outfit posts it won’t be very often that you can click through and buy my exact dress. What I do think I can offer though, because I’ve become rather adept at it over the years, is plenty of advice about how you can be a lover of pretty things while also being able to perform the pesky, necessary duties life requires, like paying a mortgage and saving for future! So I’ve decided to start including the odd post about how I manage to keep contributing to my wardrobe without ever having to use my credit card or overdraft facilities. For the first in the series I’ve decided to focus on flash sale sites, namely Cocosa, BrandAlley and SecretSales.

How They Work…

So these websites pull you in with the promise of luxury, designer branded goods with a discount of up to 80% off. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, actually no. These sites essentially source the best sale opportunities for you, so don’t have to hold any stock which immediately reduces their running costs. You’ll find a vast array of fashion, beauty and home items from both high end and high street brands, and a lot of the discounts are indeed very generous.

The Good Bits…

Well, as mentioned, the discounts can be pretty impressive, and we all like a good bargain, don’t we? But my favourite part is that it gives you the opportunity to buy something you might not normally get the chance to own. Right now, for example, SecretSales has Valentino and Louboutin handbags on offer, which are still waaaaay out of my price range, but with nearly £700 off in some cases, this could be enough for some to make the difference between a fantasy purchase and a bonafide treat for some people. At the other end of the scale, BrandAlley is currently hosting Reiss and LK Bennett sales, and Cocosa has a rather attractive Phase Eight sale on the go. These are all brands I tend to admire from afar as they are just a little too pricey for me to justify if not for a special occasion, but with these discounts they suddenly fall into the realm of the affordable. Because they can cast their nets wider than just the high street, I also love that they introduce labels to me that I may never have heard of before. Case in point, this morning Cocosa sent me an invite to a Lila Kass sale – I’d never seen these frocks before, but now I’m seriously tempted by a few of them thanks to their girly, vintage vibe!

The Bad Bits…

Sometimes the goods on offer can be so overwhelming that I worry I might have missed out on something, though that is a very mild downside, as is the fact that often what is being sold is out of season, but that isn’t much of a concern to me personally. The main one would be that because they don’t warehouse the stock themselves, it can take a lot longer for delivery than most online stores – up to two weeks in some cases – so it isn’t the place to shop if you’re looking for a last minute gift or party outfit, but since that system is the very reason they can offer such low prices, it’s a downside I can live with! It also can be quite addictive, but I don’t think you can blame them for that!

Top Tips…

As is the nature of flash sales, the items listed won’t be available for long and popular ones will sell out quickly. I’d advise you don’t just rely on the email invites – stop by regularly and diarise upcoming sales you’re interested in so you don’t miss out. You also need to shop wisely! As mentioned above, it can be very addictive, and the lure of a designer bargain you never thought you’d have the chance to own can be a test of temptation. Always remember it’s only a true bargain if you would have been willing to buy it anyway – earlier this year when I wrote this post, I struggled all day with the urge to buy the hot pink Ted Baker Nevia coat. I’d been admiring it all Winter and when BrandAlley offered it for just £145 I felt like maybe I could just about justify it as an investment buy. In reality though, a fuschia pink coat isn’t going to be one you want to wear every day, so my sensible self won and I didn’t buy it. If they’d had it in a more neutral colour though, it would have gone straight into my basket! **Edit – Uh oh. Just noticed it’s back, and now it’s only £120…This changes everything….

So my personal opinion? Definitely worth bearing in mind, whether it’s a frivolous treat you’re looking for or a bigger investment at a bargain price. With a little organisation these sites can definitely help you save an impressive chunk of money. And of course, it would be daft for me to wax lyrical about them without showing you what I personally have been tempted by….:


Top Row L-R: Aldo Bove Boots, £56 c/o BrandAlley – Lila Kass Bird Dress, £35 c/o Cocosa – LK Bennett Calvina Top, £49 c/0 BrandAlley

Second Row L-R: Reiss Frenchie Jumpsuit, £85 c/o BrandAlley – Dune Delphine Bag, £29 c/o SecretSales – Jaeger Crepe Dress, £63 c/o BrandAlley

Third Row L-R: Lila Kass Floral Dress, £35 c/o Cocosa – Ted Baker Laorel Shoes, £54 c/o SecretSales – Phase Eight Lotty Dress, £35 c/o Cocosa

Fourth Row L-R: Reiss True Dress, £52.50 c/o BrandAlley – Miss KG Sofia Shoes, £39 c/o SecretSales – French Connection Riot Dress, Dress, £39.50 c/o BrandAlley

Bottom Row L-R: Phase Eight Lorrie Dress, £48 c/o BrandAlley – Dune Deannah Bag, £35 c/o SecretSales – AX Paris Floral Dress, £25 c/o SecretSales



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