Sales shopping can be seriously addictive. All it takes is a long unused credit card to come to light and all those vows about having a belt-tightened January evaporate (I speak as one who knows).
However, if you know what you’re after, and you shop in a disciplined and focused manner, you can actually save yourself a great deal of money, if you consider the spend from an annual perspective.
As we move towards February, the sales are beginning to come to a close both in store and online, although there are still many useful (and lust-worthy) pieces around. This is your last chance to buy autumn/winter stock before the racks and shelves are filled with new spring/summer wear. Yet, here we are, in the throes of our first proper cold snap, and much in need of a warm wardrobe.
Early spring is all about transitional dressing, which means layerable pieces that work when it’s chilly, but can also adapt as the days begin to warm and grow lighter.
Now is not the time to browse the bargain corners and online sales sections without a mission in mind. A £10 coat is not a snip if it doesn’t fit, or you will never actually wear it.
Rather than indulge in an ultimately pointless quick sales fix, it’s better to spend on quality bargains that will last, to save yourself money in the long run, Knitwear is probably the best example of what to go for right now. If you usually shop at budget to mid- price stores, aim to spend the same amount of money that you would normally, say, for a sweater, but buy a better quality of knit at a reduced price.
Begin by making a list of what you need now. Think classics and staples that need replacing, and concentrate on quality of cut and fabric.
Long cardigans and coatigans are handy pieces that you can wear in deepest February layered up for the cold, but then use as an easy cover-up as spring takes over. If you choose a lightweight one, you can wear it through the summer too.
On the High Street and online, check out Mint Velvet and the White Company for light yet luxurious knits in neutral tones – the sorts of pieces you’ll be wearing throughout the year, and for many years to come. Coats and easy jackets are also good investments, as is anything you can slip on to relax in at home.
Jigsaw has an excellent sale going on, and the longline cardigan featured here is the perfect example of a classic knitwear bargain that you will bring out again and again, year after year. Look for lovely detail that won’t date.
Once you have the transitional knits covered, do a little forward planning by seeking out the trends and colours that will be carrying through to this spring and summer.
Pink is a key colour again, so snap it up. Bright popping pinks are an important part of the story, but for longevity and ease of wear, my money’s on soft pink, especially in knits and woollens – shades that are kind to all skin tones will never go out of fashion.
Whites are also big news, so look out for dresses and oversized white shirts with an interesting cut or detailing.
Sheer fabrics are glamorous for layering right now and through the year, and offer an opportunity to experiment and come up with creative, individual looks, by mixing them in with wardrobe favourites. Try a sheer skirt or dress over leggings, pumps and slogan or embellished tees, or with cropped slim trousers to key into the spring’s “dress over pants” trend.
And don’t dismiss shiny fabrics, because Eighties inspiration is still very much with us for the spring. All-over dazzle shine is a little much for the office, but mix in a top, or shoes, and you’re good to go.
When they’re gone, they’re gone.