You’re receiving tons of emails about end-of-season sales from brands. Who doesn’t love a good deal?
You might be tempted to buy a jacket that is 50% off, but it’s not advisable. You can end up shopping blindly for jackets that are half off.
I have seen people spending thousands of dollars on clothes that don’t fit them (or are simply ugly) because they were on sale.
A sale is a way to save money. Don’t let the sale end with unworn items you bought because it seemed like an offer at that time.
I would like to share the best practices and tips that I have learned. These tips will help to avoid making the same mistakes that I made with my styling clients when they were shopping for clothes.
When do sales happen?
It might be surprising, but you can predict when a brand will go on sale. Retailers work on a schedule. Retailers need to get rid of the stock from the previous season as the new season begins.
These are the times that most brands can expect to see sales begin.
- Spring/Summer Sale Ends July/August
- For Fall/Winter Sales: Mid December/Jan
This means that you can begin preparing for the months ahead and keep an eye on your favourite brands if you are looking to score a great deal!
My tip: Subscribe to a brand’s newsletter, and then follow them on social media. You will usually be notified of sales before others. If a brand sends you an email about their end-of-season sale please add it to your calendar. This will allow you to start looking for patterns in future.
What is the best time to shop for a sale?
As a general rule, the later you shop for a sale, the more money you will save but you will have fewer choices. This makes sense as early shoppers who are willing to save a little will be first in line for the best prices and sizes.
Even if this means I have to sacrifice savings, I prefer to shop early when there is a sale. Styles that aren’t selling well for some reason or in odd sizes are often sold as sales items. Popular styles and sizes are often available.
It’s worth waiting for further markdowns if you are very small or extremely large, or if you’re looking for something unique.
Tips and tricks from a Personal Stylist for Shopping Sales
Remember that sale items are often final. It is better to pay 100% for something you love than to pay 50% for something you don’t like. When it comes to markdowns, most stores follow an “all sales are final policy”. It is important to have a plan when shopping for sales. Here are my rules for shopping sales for clients.
1. Buy with a plan
It’s quite easy to browse a section or sale rack casually and find great deals. I often find myself picking up items that I am unsure of. To avoid impulse buying, I recommend that you shop with a plan.
Here are some ways you can achieve it.
Take stock of your closet. Where are your weaknesses? What key pieces might you be missing? Make a list.
Perhaps you realized that you didn’t have the budget to buy light blue jeans. Perhaps you waited until the middle of summer to buy a navy suit. A suit on sale would make a great purchase.
You might not be aware of the possibilities. Check out my post about capsule wardrobes and my course on building one.
Get more of the essential basics. It’s always a good idea to buy essential basics in bulk during the sale season. There are a few essential items that I love to shop for in sales: solid and striped button down shirts, ties and chinos.
To narrow down what’s on your wish list, use website filters. Most online stores have filters that will help you find what your looking for. To avoid impulse buying, I suggest going through your list and setting the filters to only show you items that are on your list.
2. Only purchase sale items in the size you need
My clients often tell me that they purchased a size 1-2 too large for their needs because it was 30% cheaper. Remember the number one style rule: Make sure your clothes fit.
How about getting something custom-made? Yes, it’s possible, but you should consider the potential costs. Are you really going to take a bunch of clothes to the tailor? What time will this take from your busy schedule?
Tailoring alternations can be compared to plastic surgery. Less is more. You can end up spending a lot if you don’t stop cutting things and going down 1-2 sizes.
3. Don’t buy anything just because it’s on sale
The golden rule is: I won’t pay full price for it if it were me, so don’t purchase it on sale.
4. Keep the season in your mind
Remember that clothing is seasonal. Summer t-shirts are usually thinner than fall t-shirts. The November chinos that you find will be thicker, and often lined, to fight the cold.
End-of-season sales might mean that you won’t be able wear the clothes as much and you will have to put it away until next year. If you live in an area where the weather is consistent throughout the year, this issue will not be as significant.
5. Do not buy to flip
You will see designer clothes flooding auction sites every season, presumably from hoarders. These sites are very useful and I still visit them often. Selling designer goods can be difficult, to be honest. The market for men’s clothing is also small.
Unless you are a men’s clothes expert and it is a full-time occupation to flip clothes, then why are you reading The Essential Man? Don’t buy clothes for sale in the hope of selling them. It’s not worth the effort.
My top picks for sales
Okay, now you are familiar with how to approach sales. You should go shopping at the close of the season.
These are my top picks!
- Mr. Porter
The best online shop for men. There are a great variety of brands, from casual like Polo Ralph Lauren and Nike to more expensive designers like YSL or Brunello Cucinelli. Modern man will find all he needs here. The end-of-season sales for over 500 brands can be overwhelming. I recommend that you start with your list. In the past, I have found some amazing cashmere, jeans, and shoes at this store.
Bonobos is my new J.Crew. It’s a no-bs shop that sells staples such as button-downs and chinos in every size and cut. This is the best place to shop for office essentials at a fraction of the cost.
- Todd Snyder
Todd Snyder is Bonobo’s older brother. A little more like J.Crew (considering Todd Snyder worked at J.Crew). You’ll find many wardrobe staples such as bomber jackets and sweaters, but they are trendier and even cooler. Todd’s end-of-season sales are great. For my styling clients, I have found some amazing sweaters and even a jacket in suede.