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Fashion Agony Aunt: Is there still time for me to grab a bargain in the sales?

I’m a little bit ambivalent about the sales. On the one hand you can get that Burberry coat you always wanted for half the price (not cheap). Or you can go mad in Primark and buy a load of wear-once-if-at-all clothes because they’re at a rock bottom price and, even though that dress makes you look like a Minion, it only cost £3.

What 2020 has taught us shopping-wise is that we wear only a tiny fraction of things from our wardrobe and during lockdown that is reduced to a handful of clothes. But undaunted, the fashion world wants us to think of these things as loungewear with many tempting money out of our pockets with ranges of luxury PJs and cashmere hoodies – perfect they say for taking us from desk to sofa.

Yet let’s face it, what most of us are wearing at home is our ten-year-old trackie bottoms and old summer t-shirts and maybe a nice top if forced to do a Zoom. You see, in times of worry and uncertainty, curling up with those old faithfuls is a source of comfort. I mean what’s so soothing about cashmere joggers that might get stained with red wine as soon as you flop onto the sofa clutching a bottle of Shiraz? Most of us are more Kathy Burke in the Slobs than Beyonce on her chaise longue.

Loungewear: top, £25, bottoms, £25

But like those Brit skiers who did a moonlight flit from Verbier after learning they had to quarantine, I’ve gone a bit off piste here. The question is, what DO we buy in the sales if we don’t really need anything?

1. Underwear

We’re all still wearing bras – aren’t we?? Well some of us are keeping the side up with a bit of support wear. A nice lingerie set is a good way to cheer you up. Even if nobody can see it, it’s telling you that ‘you’re worth it’.

Buy yourself lingerie. This is from Zara

2. Outdoor wear

Puffer/padded coats or jackets are a necessary fashion evil (yes, I do hate them) when the weather gets vicious so why spend loads of money on them (unless you’re absconding stylishly from some of the posher Swiss ski resorts then it’s Moncler and Loro Piana all the way, baby). The sales are the way to go for something that makes you look two sizes bigger than you actually are.

3. A coat

Yes. A normal, nice day coat. You may not think you need it while Coronavirus is on the rampage but one day soon you’ll be on that weekend trip to Paris and you’ll really wish you’d bought that sexy faux fur number in the sales.

Buy a coat,

4. Summery dress

Forget the rest of winter. It’s likely to be a write off. Time to look to the summer of 2021 when it could be you’ll be swanning around at a garden party in a dress that’s a real head turner. This is all about buying a dress that you couldn’t normally afford but now you can! But only buy it if you love it. Any doubts and take it back.

A dress you can wear in the summer

5. Skin care

Specifically Christmas gift boxes or coffrets. I was looking for some moisturiser the other day and stumbled upon one of my favourites in a gift box. It not only came with a couple of other products but was half price making it much cheaper than if I’d bought the product on its own.

6. Jeans

You’ll wear them. Also look out for velvet jeans that you can wear in the festive season next year and maybe even white jeans for summer.

7. Accessories

Unless you’re a slave to the must-have bag of the moment, now is your chance to grab a bargain. Styles to look out for this season include crossbody, bucket and backpack. Also clutch and evening-type bags because nobody has been going out so there should be plenty of them waiting to be reduced.

Tip: Don’t think you’ve missed the best of the bargains just because the sales have been on for a week or so, in fact many top stores start making huge discounts after two weeks. I have a YSL dress in my wardrobe (which I wear!) which had been reduced from £1,500 to £200 in a sale a few years ago. Sometimes it pays to wait!

Main pic: Puffer jacket, £50,

Janet Reeder
Janet Reeder has a 30-year career in journalism. She is a fashion expert who has interviewed top designers Calvin Klein, Vivienne Westwood and many others. She also loves to travel and write about her experiences.

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