In this post, I am taking a break with vintage and moving on to clothes I actually wear and not just collect. High street apparel actually dominates my wardrobe.
Women go crazy during Boxing Day sales and it usually ends in tears, especially when the price for a pair of Kurt Geiger shoes (that you had your eyes on for ages) gets slashed by half the price, then you walk towards it and reach for it and this horrible smug woman grabs them and runs to pay for them. #notme
To me, nothing sounds better than “student discount” and “sale”. They are the very few words that can easily get the attention of my ears, which I am sure is the same for many of you. I love walking into Topshop and getting my 10% off at the till.
I feel lucky that Sheffield is home to one of the biggest shopping centres in the UK, Meadowhall. Student privileges are the best thing ever in Sheffield if you love shopping because most of the shops in Meadowhall offer student discounts. Even in the shops which students don’t even go into.
What’s even better than student discounts and sales in Meadowhall? The Meadowhall Student Lock-In! An event which is held a couple of times a year especially for students. The discounts are bigger as well so there’s no surprise that the queues are massive at this event. It literally fills up the entire car park and I am not exaggerating.
I have been to this event three times and you can never end up getting everything you want because you will find yourself queuing for a long time at the tills in every shop. The event is only for three hours which really is not enough for eager students wanting to take full advantage of their shopping spree.
I have always come out as a happy trooper, contained with the bargains I’ve got. I have become more experienced after each lock-in and know how to get the most out of my three hours and to get value for my money, so if you’re still reading, Here are my Top Three Tips on how to survive student lock-in events!
1) Pre-register, remember your Student Card and your confirmation email.
I know, it’s the most obvious thing to do, but people (me) tend to forget for some reason. I remember the last time I went to the lock-in, I completely forgot to bring my confirmation email so I had to register on the spot.
This meant that all the time I spent queuing was utterly pointless and the rest of the queue walked straight past me as they had their Student IDs and confirmation emails.
I felt so annoyed with myself because not only did I queue out in the cold, I felt like I was missing out and I had this paranoid feeling that the clothes I picked out were going to be sold out. Not to mention my boyfriend giving me the “I told you so” face. Not worth it.
2) Be prepared. Pick out what you want prior to the event.
It was a mad rush at my first lock-in. I spent so much time browsing through all the lovely clothes and getting giddy over how the dress I wanted was £60 and now its a tenner that I lost track of time and just managed to get through Topshop.
I was so gutted because there were so many other shops with bigger discounts. I definitely learnt my lesson from that. For some inspiration, how about learn from Monica from Friends in this video, which nearly replicates the situation you are likely to face if you find that one dress you really want and how to deal with it:
Make sure you know what you want by going to Meadowhall prior to the event ( I recommend the day before the lock-in) and pick out the things that you want. You need to know exactly where the location of whichever bag you want and if you’re desperate enough, take photos so you won’t forget. I am not joking, it really works and you will get more out of your time. Okay now I really am starting to sound like Monica.
When you’re at the lock-in, go straight to what you picked out and pay for them without anymore browsing as you had plenty of time for that the previous day because the queues for tills are unbelievably long and a lot of time is spent just queuing to pay.
3) Go to the sale rails. Save your pennies.
The student lock-in events are for students to save their money on their shopping sprees. Most of the shops in Meadowhall extends their discounts to their sale items as well, so you need to think about whether you are really getting value for your money for what you are buying. Is it really that cheap or are you just buying it because it has been discounted?
I can say without shame, I love the student lock-ins because I can get 20% off a sale item in H&M and feel like I have saved a lot more money than I would have if I had bought a current season item.
Of course you can go ahead and buy non-sale items if you really had your eye on it, I had my eye on this gorgeous bag in Topshop which was in current season and got it at £20 instead of £25 thanks to the student lock-in.
Here is the damage caused at the April student lock-in at Meadowhall.
I really wanted this Denim jacket with Faux Leather Sleeves by By Corpus from Urban Outfitters for months. Lucky me, it went from £60 to £10 and with a generous 20% discount it cost me £8. This is what I mean by hitting the sale rails instead where student discounts apply, it really does pay to wait.
This is my loot from H&M. I got two skater dresses. The one with the birds was a current season one and it was £14.99 but it was £11.99 after discount. My Motley Crue top, Floral Skater dress and Zipper skirt were a fiver each with an additional 20% discount. Better than stealing really.
The queue at the H&M till was the longest one yet at the lock-in. My boyfriend and I came up with a genius plan. While one of us queues (most of the time it’s him to be fair), the other browses or gets what they want and then we swap. We were still no where near the till even with this technique but we would have been far at the back of the queue otherwise.
These are the two tops which I got from All Saints. I didn’t expect them to be part of the lock-in at all with them being a high-end sort of clothing line but they joined the bandwagon and offered a 10% discount on everything. The tops in All Saints are made of soft and thin material which is very comfortable to wear and they look uniquely stylish too so I got the two tops above. The striped one is made of Angora and was £20 but cost £18 after the discount. The flag t-shirt is actually from the men’s range, but the women’s version was sold out so I bought the men’s one with the idea of tucking it in a pair of denim high waist shorts. Perfect for festivals! This was £28 but cost me £25.20 after the reduction.
This pile is from Topshop while the Metallic Playsuit is from Miss Selfridge (£17 and it was £13.60 after discount) which was next door. Topshop and Miss Selfridge offered a 20% discount on everything during the lock-in. My Pink Playsuit was £40 to begin with and was a fiver at the sale so it cost me merely £4. My Black Hotpants with Studs was originally £24 but was £15 at the sale so it cost me £12. My Black Faux Fur Clutch bag also cost me £12. The Pink bag with White Bow and Gold Studs was what I mentioned before, it was a current season bag which was £25 so I only paid £20 for it.
Topshop had the second longest queue and the girls were manic It was worst than the emotions running at the boxing day sales. Topshop is almost like a religion to many girls in England. When my friends and I go shopping in a different city, when we see a Topshop our eyes light up and we shout “Topshop” like hungry school kids.
I know what you’re thinking, what happened to the vintage loving thrift shopper girl from the previous posts. Well I never said there was anything wrong with high street shops and Topshop never lets me down with their designs, which are almost often shortly followed by other brands, for example, their Geek crop tops. They really do set what makes and breaks fashion in England.
Back to the student lock-in, after all that shopping, you are bound to be hungry and your feet would be begging you for mercy, I know mine did, so make sure you head to the Oasis at about 9pm, just an hour before the event ends because the restaurants usually have ridiculous discounts to offer.
At the lock-in last year in September, I dined at Las Iguanas which offered a massive 40% off as well as 2-4-1 cocktails. This April, I had a Tapas meal at La Tasca which also offered 40% off the total bill. Its not often you get to wine and dine in such places as a student!
The student lock-in is also meant to be like one massive party so they have games throughout Meadowhall and many of the shops have DJs with free cocktails so spare a minute if you can to enjoy everything the lock-in has to offer. I went to the mini-party in Levi’s which had a DJ and I had a cheeky cocktail.
As for me, I simply cannot wait for the next Student Lock-In. Remember, treat my tips as bible!