As soon as the calendar page switched over to August the end of season sale signs came out in full force. The stores are actually already receiving the first fall arrivals and they need to clear shelf space for them – hence, the knock down prices you see on summer stock every August. And while it’s totally depressing to think of fall and back-to-school, it’s a great time to stock up on some summer staples. So here’s what you should be shopping for in the next few weeks.
1. bathing suits – It’s “two for one” or “buy one get one half off” time and what better time to stock up on some great suits. Do it early in August for the most selection in styles and sizes and be adventurous. At these prices you can afford to fall in love with a style you might not want to wear every time you go to the beach. It’s a great time to look for “sun tan only” suits or to buy that designer special you simply couldn’t afford to pay full price for earlier in the season.
2. tanks, tees and shorts – They’re everywhere and they’re going for next to nothing. This is a great time to update your tank wardrobe. Think staples such as white and grey fitted tanks for layering in the fall; loose, funky patterned tanks that you can wear with denims through September and when spring rolls around again next year, and dressy evening tanks in basic colours that you can layer under jackets all year round. Summer is the best time to buy these tops and they’re all on sale! Similarly, this is a good time to go through your tee-shirts and figure out where you’re at since they too are on the sale racks. Finally, it’s also a great time to pick up some shorts. Be smart about these though. You do not want to spend any money on anything trendy at this point in the season so stick to classic colours and styles or stock up on comfy, casual shorts in soft fabrics and cool colours as these are always appropriate for the beach, the park, or casual hangouts on the weekends – no matter the current trends.
3. Spring left overs – Most of the stores will pull out their left over spring stuff and discount it by huge amounts as they attempt to clear their store rooms. If you’re lucky, you can find great summer weight sweaters, jeans, long-sleeve tees, summer weight coats and jackets all at greatly reduced prices. Again, do not invest any money in trendy items but go ahead and get the classic pieces you passed up in the spring – if you’re lucky enough to find them in your size and in the right colour. They’ll be great as transitional items for fall and will still work well next year.
4. Designer accessories – This might just be the time when you can actually afford that Michael Kors purse or those Kate Spade shoes – and, if you’re lucky, they’ll still have the style (and size) you were lusting for in the spring. But again – ONLY drop your credit card for these things if they are wearable four seasons or are guaranteed to still look great next spring. Because our summers are so short, and since we don’t really get much spring or fall really, it’s important to carefully calculate your cost per wear for really high end designer items. It may simply not be worth it, even at the sale price, to splurge on summer wear – and may actually make more sense to pay full price for a fall piece that you can wear from September through April (and maybe longer). This is doubly true since fall collections often have more classic pieces than summer collections which tend to be more whimsical. The more classic an item the more value for money you’ll get!
5. Work out wear – Lululemon rarely holds a real sale worthy of your time. Their sale rack tends to be loaded with those colours that nobody liked and with the stupid tiny sizes. So if you’re a die hard Lulu fan you’ll need to pay full price pretty much year round – unless you are really lucky! However, most other retailers will sale price their summer work out wear as well as their regular clothing. It’s a great time for colourful sports bras, tanks, and work out pants – which tend to be much harder to find in the winter when everything is grey or black. If you work out indoors, your bright summer stuff can work year round (and has the bonus feature of being particularly uplifting in January when everything and everyone is so blah…) so go ahead and stock up.
6. Dresses – If you have an end of summer wedding or other function to go to, this is the time to buy a new dress for the occasion. All summer dresses are hugely discounted and, since it’s for a special event, it doesn’t really matter if you’ll get much more wear out of it afterwards – as long as the price is really good! This is one time when I’d go ahead and sale splurge if you feel the urge.
As you shop at this time of year it’s generally good to remember a few basic rules. Steer clear of the fall racks – it’s too early for transitional pieces and so much more will come in in the next 8 weeks. I know those soft cashmere sweaters, booties, and funky dresses look tempting but bide your time! And do not be fooled by the low prices on summer stuff. It’s only a deal if you can wear it – no matter how cheap it is. You still need to try stuff on. You still need to focus on wearability and function. Think about your existing wardrobe, and remember that the “needs to go with three things I already own” rule still applies. There’s no point stuffing your closet with things that don’t work simply because they were cheap. But if it works, and it fits, AND it’s cheap then I say “Score!”. 🙂