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Play the shopping wait game and win

Waiting lists are the new way for shoppers to get the season's hottest items first.   Find out how with these tips from Shop Etc.'s Charla Krupp.

Ever find something you're completely ga-ga for, then show up at the store only to be told that it's already sold out?  What's that all about? The August issue of Shop Etc. magazine asked your favorite stores to predict the hottest items for this fall. Charla Krupp, executive editor of Shop Etc., shares the insider shopping dish so you can get on the wait list before the rest of the fashion hordes pick the shelves clean!

Wait lists are a fancy way to say "back order" or, now more than ever, "pre-order." This has become a marketing tool for stores to hype their merchandise by creating this incredible demand and then ordering up just limited quantities — insuring a shopping frenzy because there aren't enough products to go around.

It used to be that only luxury designers had wait lists. Remember the Birkin bag, which sold for $5,000 to $25,000 at Hermes. Now, Banana Republic and even J.Crew plan what items might be wait list-worthy.

Three things to ask before you put your name on the list:

1. Is the list national or local? If it's local, put your name on as many lists as you want and order from the first store that calls you. If it's a national wait list, put your name on it once.  You don't want to get three Chanel bags delivered to your doorstep!

2. Ask the ETA — estimated time of arrival. If it's a transitional piece, like platform shoes, you're less likely to want them in the middle of November.

3. Don't give your credit card unless you have to.  It’s better to have the store call you first and ask if you still want it. That way, if you no longer have the lust, you aren't stuck with the stuff.

Here are some wait list-worthy items and trends to check out right now:Platform sandals
They are something to buy now that you can still wear later. Wear them now without stockings, wear them with tights in rich colors come winter. 

The hardware ring platform sandal from Miu Miu stars in the Miu Miu ads. Everyone at Shop Etc. has been stopping by my office to try on these shoes! Available in September at Miu Miu stores.  888-977-1900; $475The Christian Louboutin sandals are pricey at $795, but they are more versatile than you think because this fall is about wearing velvet for day. Everyone will want a velvet shoe, I promise! This is available in his boutiques in August, so call now to snag your pair.212-396-1884; $795

Corduroy
Corduroy is part of fall's Ivy League Chic look. Pieces that were hot for summer in denim and cotton are made in corduroy to increase their longevity.

Stretch cords in rich colors from Edun.  These are cool partly because it's Bono's clothing line.  Bono, as in U2, Live 8 Bono. 888-882-7639; $212 at Barneys

Everyone's loving peasant skirts this summer.  Update for fall in rich, red corduroy. Get on Bloomie's list today for an early August delivery of this Aqua bohemian skirt.  800-555-7467 for local Bloomingdale's wait list; $98

Embellishment
Embellishment shows no sign of slowing down, as you can see from the peep-toe heels from J.Crew. We couldn't believe that these were J.Crew.  Here's the inside tip: The best thing you can do at J.Crew is to make friends with the clientele specialist at your local store, and your name will be put on the national list before the shoe even hits the floor. In fact, this shoe may never hit the floor! 800-562-0258; $295.

Flannel coat
Sometimes wait lists are about great deals. Here's a brilliant buy. This '60s-inspired double-breasted coat is just $188 at Banana Republic! It's the right item and at the right time. Available in August, so get on the list to get first dibs. 888-277-8953; $188

Chanel quilted bag
Chanel's classic quilted bag, which debuted in February 1955, has been modernized this fall with the 2.55 bag — get it? — that has weathered leather and a gilded chain. Coco is hot again, and you can get this in September if you pre-order now. 800-550-0005; $1,995

Chunky necklaces
The big chunky plexi-linked chain necklace that everyone here is wearing all summer continues for fall — in gold or in black.  The prize of fall is the Marc Jacobs chain necklace. If you want it, call the Marc Jacobs store and put your reservation in now. 212-343-1490; $1,780 for all three pieces

Comfy boots
Stefani Greenfield of Scoop called these the most coveted, comfy, cozy boot out there. They were so hot last year that you might have missed the chance to have a pair. You have a second chance this season with the new color, whiskey. Shoppers in the Hamptons were wearing them with their sarongs and bathing suit tops. Call Stephanie and tell her you want them!  212-535-5577; $295 at Scoop in September

Breaking news!  Girls will be able to buy them (size 11-4) exclusively at Scoop and Little Shoe Box (Manhasset, New York) for $99 this fall.

Ready, set, shop! To see the entire fall wait list, pick up the August issue of Shop Etc. magazine.