We’re in the middle of another polar freeze here in Toronto…all I can think about is escaping to a warm, sunny destination! But if you’re brave enough to venture outside right now…it’s a great time to think about a new winter coat. Sale shopping is great, if you know when and what to buy. Follow this shopping guide and you’ll be a savvy sale shopper all year long!
Clothing stores are open every week of the year, enticing you with their new shipments. During the calendar year there are also well-choreographed sales to entice you onto their store floors. When it comes to building a winning wardrobe while enjoying sale prices, it’s best to note the flow of merchandise that’s coming in and then going out on the sale racks to make room for the next wave of new fashion. Here are some tips for what to buy when.
Spring Sale Shopping
Although the weather may be looking quite drab, with the perkiness of spring clothes lining the racks, you don’t want to wait too long to do some spring shopping.
Resort wear comes into the stores in December and January. Early spring merchandise comes into the stores in January and February when you’re navigating snow banks. But four to six weeks later, full-on summer clothes will be in the stores. Take advantage of this sale window and pick up some of the following items.
- Go on another color expedition. The earliest deliveries of spring clothes will now be on sale and on that rounder may be a color you’ve been dying to try. This is the time to pick it up and wear it as soon as it’s warm enough.
- Check the handbag section of stores for markdowns. Look for lighter colors that will be perfect for warmer months.
- Fabrics that have a little more weight to them than summer clothes do will go on sale first. Look for lightweight sweater knits or cardigans that you may actually wear for many weeks yet.
- Spring merchandise always has some lively prints. Most blouses or tops will still have sleeves. Purchase a silk blouse in a fun print and wear it with your neutral colored jackets and pants or jeans.
- Look for prints in pants, skirts and dresses. If you shop with some patience, you’ll discover some pieces you can wear to work well into spring and maybe even summer.
- Don’t wait very long to find your spring coats. They’ll go on sale early and many times it’s impossible to find this layer when you really need it.
Early summer sale shopping
When summer is actually just about to begin, retail stores are discounting their spring/summer items. Here are some best bets for smart sale shopping.
- If you’re purchasing summer items, look for classic shapes and styles that will last another year, two or three.
- Shorts and summer dresses are great to pick up now if you’ll wear them right away. Don’t buy clothes in fantasy sizes, as the fall season will be here before you have a chance to drop those pounds.
- T-shirts and camisoles are great year round, either by themselves in the summer or as layering pieces in the winter. Marked down ones are even better.
- Summer clothes that are super sheer will not be warm enough to wear in the fall. Look for these on the 50% off rack, as they’ll be the first to transition out of your wardrobe a few weeks from now.
- Only buy linen pieces if you love linen and will wear them a lot. It’s not a fabric that moves into fall.
- Lightweight sweaters in silk or cotton knit can work well now and in warmer early fall days.
Pre-Fall sale shopping
Department stores and boutiques celebrate the fall merchandise by having pre-season sales in the middle of the summer. It’s hard to get into the fall mindset when it’s 100 degrees outside but it might be wise to think of your future wardrobe needs so you can take advantage of these early discounts. Here’s how to prepare.
- Get inspired by checking out current magazines and catalogues to see what they’re previewing for the upcoming season. What’s catching your eye?
- Before heading to the stores, look at what you loved last year, wore to death and need to replace.
- Shop with the intention of finding a new color that resonates with you. A new season always comes with a new color palette. Whether you enjoy that new hue in a necklace, shoe, scarf, dress, sweater or blouse, it’s fun to find it early and on sale. You may start wearing it early in the year and decide to add more pieces in similar shades to broaden your wardrobe.
- Boots are a staple for fall/winter months and they can be very pricey. There’s not a better time to purchase them than when they’re on sale. Even though it’s hot now, a boot will be perfect for when the temperatures start to dip.
- If you’re lacking scarves and shawls in your wardrobe, get them now in colors that look great on you. They are a perfect piece for transitioning into colder weather while making your existing wardrobe look fresh and new.
Late-fall sale shopping
Although the weather may make it challenging to get to the stores and you’re wearing lots of layers that need to be shed in the dressing room, these sales may make it worth your effort. Here’s what you can look for before the holidays hit.
- Winter coats are getting pushed off the floors to make way for resort wear so it’s a great time to look for markdowns. Winter can be long so having some variety waiting for you in your coat closet can be a treat. Look for classic coats in non-classic colors or patterns. Or find yourself a dressy coat that you’ll wear for special occasions.
- Boots will go on sale again at the end of the fall/winter clothing season. Get a pair or two that you love and that you can see yourself wearing next year. Leave behind the super trendy styles as they may be out of style next year.
- Sweaters can carry over into spring especially if they are in light colors or in lightweight cashmere or wool knit.
- Shop for specialty items like thick wool socks, heavier tights, or long underwear. Although you’re not in the thick of winter yet, these items will come in handy in just a few weeks. If you wait until you really need them, they may be gone.
- This is a great time to pick up winter accessories like wool hats, wool scarves, capes, or gloves. Once they’re picked over, they will be out of the store for good. Plan ahead to be sure you’re covered well for winter.
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