As per the last few years, the traditional January sales are now starting before Christmas, great if you are still looking for a party outfit or some last minute gift shopping, not so good if you are banking on Christmas money to bag yourself a stylish or designer bargain.
However you need to be aware that some sales are in fact just giving you a little taster with a 30% or similar reduction. In most cases these retailers will go 50% or even more after Christmas, but by whipping you up into a sales frenzy early on, they live in hope that most stock will go, as consumers panic buy fearing their wishlist item or size will sell out before they have to make further reductions to clear stock, hence making them a bigger profit.
Marks and Spencer have a 30% reduction on a range of goods including Lingerie, knitwear and lots of gift items, however they have gone 50% in certain departments, so I have just spent the last hour doing an order for cards, wrap, tags and some decorations (I have decided I want all white baubles and tinsel for next year - very chic I think). In my world, this is savvy sales shopping, something I do every year but usually in my local Boots chemist but as I had a last minute nightwear present to buy for someone, it made sense to get it all done now, even the special cards for close family members are reduced, I used to find going out and buying all these cards in one go came to an extortionate amount of money until I started buying them in the sales a year ahead.
Shopping ahead like this is a great way to bag a bargain and save on expenditure later on the year. I have always used the sales to stock up on nightwear, underwear and socks for the kids, usually in the next size up.You can also think about next clothes you might need for holidays taking place before the summer sales, forthcoming events like weddings and taking a good look through your wardrobe to use the sales to replace any items that are now or will soon be fit for the bin or charity bag.
If you really want to shop the sales successfully but don't have a clue what to put on your wishlist, you can never go wrong with wardrobe basis.
Saint Germain Coat was £149 now £89.40 in Camel. Also available in black or geranium. Shop here.
Red Lace dress by Alexon at John Lewis was £135 now £59. Buy here.
Tops - Basic shirts such as the classic white, denim or chambray and even checks and plaids will have their uses year after year and are also great for layering. Stock up on quality layering t-shirts at sale time and grab a couple of pretty tops to dress up jeans for impromptu nights out.
Knitwear - stick with classic solid colours as with coats, fairisle is also a safe bet every winter. Think v neck for layering, crew neck to wear alone with scarf or statement necklace and boyfriend cardigans for weekend casual. Invest in cashmere at sale time and avoid knitwear containing Angora like the plague, google if you want to know why, I can't talk about it, but lets just say I've had press releases in my inbox this week telling me that both Zara and Asos are banning the use of it.
MIH Bodycon Jeans was £185 now £129. Shop here.Jeans - If you are looking to invest in designer and can only afford one pair, make it dark and skinny to smarten up day looks tucked into boots and look dressier for nights out far better than if you stuck on a pair of stonewash! Shopping on the high street, then incorporate different colours/prints/textures, think berry tones, camel or moss green.
Trousers - What's missing from your wardrobe? Classic black for the office? Chino's for weekend cool come spring? 7/8th length to pair with the perfect kitten heel?
Skirts - Black lace has been huge for nights out this season and works perfectly with a grey t-shirt or cashmere jumper. Skirts make fantastic mix and match pieces which you can dress up for a wedding or other occasion rather than being stuck with a dress you don't think you will ever wear again.
Accessories - In winter I always think that you could quite easily live in the same jeans and t-shirt for months but just by changing your coat, scarf and footwear you get to create a completely different look every time. Although I love the simplicity of throwing on a summer day dress, I quite enjoy making use of the basics and creating different looks in this way. So if looking to buy accessories at sale time, think cashmere beanie hats, classic black leather gloves, cosy scarves and snoods in a range of colourful prints and neutral colours.
Footwear - If you have a wardrobe full of black boots in various styles, buy brown or tan to create more looks as above. It may seem boring investing in classic black court shoes but they really do go with everything so you simply must. Same goes for Nude. Nude was pronounced the new black a good few years back and hasn't left the limelight since, just check out the Duchess of Cambridge for footwear confirmation of this.
Jewellery - Statement necklaces don't come cheap but can lift a simple top or jumper and take your look from day to night with ease. Wallis have some amazing ones if you can't afford J Crew. Invest in silver or gold cuffs, chandelier earrings and sparkly bracelets.
Bags - If buying designer go for classics. I never have and took years to learn my lesson as the Chloe Paddington fled to ebay along with a Marc Jacobs Stam, Fendi what was it called? oh yes the B bag, beautiful it was but the flap front drove me nuts everytime I got my purse out!.Oh well you get my drift anyway and to be honest I am shocked I still have the Wang Rocco. Louis Vuitton don't do sales so you can eliminate them from your wishlist and think about the style you either need or that suits your life best be it hand held, shoulder, across body or tote, then colour. Black or tan go with everything and lighter shades of beige or cream make a refreshing change come spring whereas bold colours like cobalt blue, red or orange can brighten a drab outfit with ease.
I'm off for a browse on the Boden website whose sale has just gone up to 60% off!
What's on your sales wishlist and do you have a sales shopping criteria?