At last! "The Shopping Bags" writers, Anna Wallner and Kristina Matisic, have written a companion book to their hit Canadian television show.
"Viewers have been telling us for some time that they want to take us with them when they shop," Wallner says. "Now they'll have the next best thing."
"The Shopping Bags: Tips, Tricks and Inside Information to Make You a Savvy Shopper" is an A-to-Z guide to cosmetics, electronics, fashion and food. It includes the top 10 things you should know about a product before you buy, plus celebrity tips from such experts as Martha Stewart, Diane von Furstenberg and Randy Bachman.
"The Shopping Bags" is also a cautionary handbook that helps prevent injury to the pocketbook and buyer's remorse. It contains insider tips on such products as nail polish (expensive brands chip just as fast as the cheaper ones, but the colors are often nicer), razor blades (don't pay more for the ones with moisture strips, shaving cream works just as well) and running shoes (never shop online, you always should try them on before you buy).
You can read an excerpt from the book below.
Fashion and Accessories
It's a good time to be a clotheshorse. The market is saturated, making it easier than ever to find stylish clothes and designer knockoffs. To keep your closet au courant and your wallet intact, heed this advice and remember: At some time or another, just about everything goes on sale. Avoid paying retail. This is especially true if you shop at chain stores like Banana Republic or department stores like Nordstrom, where eventually most merchandise goes on sale. Believe us, we've tested this theory! At the start of every season, we hit all the chain stores and make a list or take digital pictures of items we want, and then we track them. Whether you can wait for the sale price or if they'll still have your size in stock are the main considerations for paying full price or waiting it out. But don't forget to try Commandment #1: Negotiate!
Hit the discount stores. You can shop at places like Wal-Mart and still be stylish. Blend discount items with other designer pieces (like a bargain camisole with your favorite designer suit). Discount and off-price stores mark down designer clothing by about 30 percent to start with and go on from there. The best merchandise moves quickly though -- these places are a hub for smart shoppers, so you'll definitely want to find out when new shipments arrive. Befriend the salesclerks!
Get on the sample sale circuit. Sample sales are a great way to get designer items for less. (These are garments and accessories that have been used to showcase a designer's new line.) Local retailers and designers offer low, low prices on a selection of sample sizes -- which tend to be on the small side. To get onto the sample sale circuit, inquire with any independently owned clothing store or a local designer. Once you get on one list, you'll find you quickly get invited to lots of private sales. Much like designer warehouses, the best buys at these events get snapped up very quickly. Arrive promptly on the first day, but not too early; most sample sellers have a strict "no early birds" policy.
Find out whether your favorite stores offer sale adjustments. That means if you pay full price for something that goes on sale a week later, you get a refund or credit for the discounted amount.