Now that we’re in the height of summer, fall activewear collections are being released. That means that it’s the best time to save big on summer pieces from premium brands. Here are my tips for getting the best deals on higher-priced activewear.
1. Assess What You Need
If you’re on a budget, first start by evaluating your current activewear wardrobe and identifying true needs. Do you need bottoms with storage for long runs? Are your existing tanks sticking to your skin when you sweat? Do you need a visor with a larger brim for more shade on sunny runs? Also note what you really don’t need. If you have 20 pairs of shorts that you like, do you really need more?
2. Make a Wish List
As soon as new collections are released, make your wish list regardless of how much any one piece costs. Be sure to sign up for emails and promotions from all your favorite activewear brands, and consider signing up for a few new ones too. Discovering new brands is all part of the fun!
Next, compare it to what you identified as real needs and prioritize those that you truly need as opposed to want. But if there’s something that really makes your heart sing, prioritize that higher too. If you have 20 pairs of shorts but this new pair of shorts is so amazing that it keeps you motivated to work out, I’d call that a priority!
3. Wait…And Do Try-Ons
This is the hard part. If you want to get a good deal, do not buy anything that’s just released. Everything will go on sale. Of course, waiting may mean missing out on your size or color or the item altogether. This is when you need to check your wish list. If you really love something and you don’t want to chance not having it, go for it. But if you want a better price, hold off.
If you have strong willpower, try on your wish list items. This can be really hard–when something looks great and feels great, it’s so hard not to buy it! But when you have your eye on a new product or new brand, it’s best to try it on first, especially for brands that have final sales like Lululemon and Lorna Jane.
I got burned recently by not doing a try-on. I’ve bought a number of things from Lululemon’s We Made Too Much, which is final sale and can’t be returned. Because Lulu’s sizing tends to be very consistent, I’ve had very few cases of something not working out. When Lulu recently had an online warehouse sale, I bought the Lost in Pace skirt. I have two different versions of Lulu skirts and love them, so I assumed this new skirt would fit the same. Nope! I was disappointed with this skirt and can’t wear it for running. The skirt was half off, so I didn’t spend a ton of money on it, but I’m bummed that I can’t use it for running. (Note that I have a full review of this coming up if others are considering it.)
Brands that offer free shipping and returns offer a no-risk way to try on your favorites. Be sure to visit websites to check shipping and return policies. If you have to pay for shipping or returns, obviously skip the try-ons.
If you can’t do try-ons, search for reviews for either the actual product or the brand. Many bloggers who post fit reviews will note if a brand tends to run big or small.
4. Learn About Sale Cycles
Most brands follow the same general sale cycle–following the end of a season and at major holidays. But most will also have their own unique cycles. Lululemon adds pieces to their online sales page every week. Michi has a huge sale over Black Friday. Alala has fantastic flash sales randomly. Athleta will have a sale on a new collection about a month or so after the first release. Sign up for emails and check websites and social media feeds to stay in the loop and be prepared to buy when a sale hits.
5. Wait Some More
You just got an email that your favorite brand is having a sale. You check their site and see that those tights you’ve had your eye on for the past few months are on sale in your size. You don’t hesitate in nabbing it, right? Wait! If you really want the best deal, pieces will usually be marked down even more. Athleta, Beyond Yoga, and Carbon38 all have further sales on sales items. And the price of Lulu items will be lowered the longer it sits on their We Made Too Much page.
Yes, you’re really chancing losing that piece if you keep waiting. A lot of sizes and colors will be gone by this point. However, if it’s a neutral color like white or black, or a more basic piece, you have a greater chance that it will still be available if you wait for a better sale.
I have a great example of this. I bought the Airy Essence Tank from Athleta (my review) during their first sale soon after it was released and really loved it. It was first marked down for about $30. I wanted another one in black and knew it wouldn’t sell out because so many sizes were left. I waited for the recent 20% sale on sale items and got it for just $17.
6. Consider a Credit Card or Rewards Program
If a brand has a rewards program, definitely sign up for it. Subscription services like Fabletics offer great deals for members at no cost. Oiselle has a paid membership club that includes a discount and free shipping on clothes. For more of a commitment, consider a credit card if your brand offers it. I have Banana Republic and Athleta credit cards, where rewards accrue with every purchase at the Gap family of stores. I buy a lot of work clothes from Banana Republic, so it works great for me. I also use that card for major purchases like travel. As a result, I always have a ton of rewards to use, so I end up spending nothing or very little on activewear from Athleta.
The outfit I’m wearing in the title photo is one I got heavily discounted. I got the Alala top during a sale-on-sale from Carbon38 and the Michi crops in their Black Friday sale. If you have any other tips, please share! Happy shopping–and saving!