Thursday, 27 December 2012

today i love... sales shopping

Heading out sales shopping today? The overstuffed rails of this time of year can be a treacherous place, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and more likely than at any other time of year to leave with something we don't really like that much, or something that we do like, but which will forever be confined to last season alone and will quickly be retired to the back of the wardrobe, never to be seen again. So I've put together a little guide of what I think you should be looking out for in the sales, along with a few of my top picks (above), four from each of the categories below. Happy shopping!

Classics /
Two of my sale purchases so far have been pretty boring: basic blue jeans and a hoody for running in. These aren't going to light up my wardrobe, granted, but the sales is the perfect time to snap up those basics you can't do without, since you know they'll never go out of style. Basic doesn't have to mean boring, though: other wardrobe classics might include a slim white shirt, the perfectly cut blazer, some beautiful black courts or a simple tote bag. To ensure wardrobe longevity, keep detailing to the absolute minimum, look for simple cuts and avoid bright colours or prints.

Coats /
I always find the January sales the perfect time to invest in a new coat. The British winter isn't even at its coldest yet, so you'll get plenty of use out of it over the next couple of months. Try to avoid styles that look very A/W'12; I always try to think whether I would have worn it last year. So: something cowboy, Marant-style? Probably not. A classic military cut, or a faux fur? Yes indeed.

Leather /
It will come as no surprise to you that I'm once again preaching the benefits of all things leather, but this fabric has proven over recent years to be a truly trans-seasonal trend. That perfect elusive pair of leather trousers is definitely worth searching out in the sales; likewise a classic biker jacket. Leather skirts and shorts will also stand the test of time, but perhaps avoid tees or dresses, as these may prove a little less reliable in terms of trends. Plus, it goes without saying that a leather bag or ankle boots will always be a timeless investment.

Beauty /
I don't claim to be an expert on beauty, but what I do know is that now is the perfect time of year to stock up on classics. If rails stuffed full of haphazard clothes scare you, then I suggest making your way calmly to the beauty counter instead. My sister and I very nearly spent every penny we owned in Space NK yesterday, due to the ridiculously good value of the half-priced gift sets. Gift sets are in particular worth seeking out, since these are often limited edition so will be reduced, even if what's in them are classics and won't ever be. Perfume sets can often be cheaper than buying the perfume itself, and keep an eye out too for luxurious candles, haircare sets and cleansers. If you don't have a Space NK near you, head to John Lewis or House of Fraser, or even the gift section at Boots.

And what to avoid? I always think it's dangerous to buy anything floral at this time of year. Personally I don't like florals much anyway, but even if you do, they take a new iteration each spring and it can be hard to predict whether what you buy now will stand the test of time. Another trend to avoid, regrettably, is Western, which dominated A/W'12 courtesy of Isabel Marant. While I still love it now, the fact that I didn't love it before makes me suspect it will quickly fall out of favour, so step away from the embroidered cowboy shirts and tassel boots (of course the classic Dicker boots are another matter). Finally, the golden rule of sales shopping: no matter how cheap something is, don't buy anything unless you love it. If you stick to that mantra you can't go too far wrong.

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