So the holidays are over, your wallet is empty and your credit card bill... well lets just say it's not exactly at its fighting weight. So what do you do when bombarded with all the huge sales taking place at all your favorite boutiques and mass retailers in January. Here's our quick guide to knowing when to shop and when to stop during markdowns month.
Deal or no deal?
Before partaking in any sale, it's time for a little honest analysis. Consider your local climate, timing and merchandise offered before even stepping outside. For example, are the pieces hitting the sale rack Fall 2012? How much longer will winter weather be the norm in your area? Are the pieces on trend for Fall/ Winter or are they more classic pieces that won't be recognizable as "last season" in the coming months and years. All of this should be seriously considered as deals aren't deals if you don't end up wearing them regularly. It's better to buy pieces in season at full price and wear them constantly, than out of season on sale only to have them parked in the back of your closet indefinitely.
Be wary of raising the debt ceiling
Much like Congress, you need to weigh the pros and cons before raising your own debt ceiling. Do you have a plan to pay off the debt you already have? Do you have plans for the Spring / Summer that might benefit from stored up cash? What kind of shape is your spring wardrobe in? Can it wait to be replenished if you spend extra on winter pieces?
Say no to sloppy seconds
Off price, designer discount, and sample sales are all the rage this month, but it's important to remember the merchandise you are being offered has already been deemed undesirable by others. It's important to consider why. Is it damaged? Does it have stains? Was it never intended for retail in the first place and therefore has sewing or construction flaws? Often the cost of altering or repairs is on par with a first-quality piece. So who needs the headache? We're not saying sample sales and discount-designer places are always a bust, just remember buyer be careful! Check everything you want to buy twice before heading to the cashier and find out what the return policy is should you find flaws once you have it home.
Just do it
With all of our nay saying, there are some things that are always a yes when perusing January sales.
Coats: For most of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the temperatures don't automatically rise just because some rodent sees his shadow (or doesn't see his shadow, I never know how that works!) giving outerwear purchased in January months-more of wearability. Further more, unless we're talking ultra-luxury labels, coats tend to vary less from season to season than other wardrobe pieces. Think about it, how many times have you flipped through your favorite glossy to an article titled "Fall's statement coats" only to find it's another editorial on brightly hued peacoats and sleek lined trenches. The reality, and the practicality of a warm winter coat is that there just aren't that many ways it can be done making coats on sale, almost always a good deal.
Classic cashmere sweaters. Cardigans and wraps are here to stay. Getting them at low prices in January, wearing them a few times and then storing (if you have space) until the following Fall makes good money sense.