What are the best things to shop for in January? Well, this year, almost everything! Almost all stores and websites were already offering some pretty deep discounts before and throughout the holidays.
But if you’re in need of some winter items, now is a great time to shop. Actually, January and February are always good months to take advantage of sales on winter items. The drawback, of course, is that if it doesn’t fit or is in the wrong color for you, it might be non-returnable.
Also, it will be much harder to find your favorite color and size in some items. One way to avoid that problem is to set up sale alerts through one of the many online services that does this. (If you do a web search on “sale alert websites” you can find them.)
Some online stores have downloadable apps that will notify you when an item you have your eye on has dropped in price. Others will send you an email or text when the specific brands you like are having a sale.
You have to put in a little effort to create a user profile, but in the long run, they can be a great time- and money-saver. And some will let you know if an item that has been out of stock is back in your size. Occasionally, this also happens when someone returns an item in your size.
Of course, there is Amazon, the company that many of us love to hate. The love part is the variety, the speed of delivery and, often, the price. The hate part is that you never know whether or not you’re supporting child or slave labor somewhere in the world or what the size and quality of an item might actually be.
And, frankly, it did put a lot of brick-and-mortar stores out of business when it started up. But that’s, sadly, been the tendency worldwide anyway as a lot of us are shopping online due to necessity.
Except for personal care and pharmaceutical items (which are too often knock-offs) Amazon was a godsend for a lot of us during the pandemic lockdowns. And, frankly, it’s given a distribution platform to small and larger boutique brick-and-mortar outlets as well.
If you are willing to do a little hunting around the website, you can get some really good deals there. Apply some criteria to your searches. Specify the color, size, amount you’re willing to pay, and for some types of clothing you can also add the specific textile you want.
But definitely read the reviews carefully. Look for the dates on the best and worst ratings. Something may have been a lemon a couple of years ago, but the manufacturer seems to have improved it currently. And too often, the reverse is the case. And do check the return policy on each item.
Except for the very high-quality classic trench coats – which are a perennial and rarely, if ever, go on sale – you’re going to find a lot of puffer coats, lined winter or faux-fur trimmed coats and jackets, plus wool and wool blend longer winter coats this month.
Many mid-level sites that are known for winter jackets and coats, such as Eddie Bauer, LL Bean and Lands’ End, are offering from 40% to up to 80% off of some items. But actually, all the major department stores and discount chains are featuring them as well.
It’s highly unlikely anything you buy in this category would ever become passe or unfashionable in the foreseeable future. You’ll likely get a lot of use out of it.
The recent trends for winter wool and wool-blend coats are oversized, patterned, or the no-button, wrap and tie “bathrobe” style coats. (That style best suits anyone who is more relaxed and laid-back than buttoned-down and classic, a style that requires buttons and more fitted tailoring.)
But, as it’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and we’re still looking for warm coats and jackets, prices haven’t come down a whole lot, and availability is sparse. Still, there are bargains to be had. Expect to pay anywhere from $45 at discount shops like TJ Maxx, from $90 -$300 at places like Macy’s and Nordstrom, and at the higher end from about $125-$450 and up at Saks and Bloomingdale’s.
If you want a little more edge to your wardrobe, Zara is showing a lot of super cute winter coats on sale in boucle, fleece, and wool/wool-blend longer coats, both in the bathrobe-type style and more traditional fits.
This is a terrific time of the year to find great deals on cashmere sweaters. But pay attention to the multiple images of any item displayed from different angles. Sometimes you’ll see a sweater that looks terrific in the close-up photo but in the longer view you can see through the material to the pants or skirt underneath it. That means it’s made of really thin cashmere.
Unless it is specifically advertised as “feather” or “light-weight” cashmere, it’s probably pretty flimsy and won’t likely hold up or look great over time.
We usually associate bling and shine with the holidays; that time of year when we want to sparkle a bit. That’s why you see a lot of sequins and shiny metallic leather goods around the end of the year. But this year we’re seeing a lot of shimmer, glittery clothing in the spring and summer ready-to-wear pages!
Now, if you’re not a glitter-ball type, you can certainly check out some of the beautiful satin blouses, dresses and skirts that brightened up the holidays. You will definitely see a lot more of the satin trend that came on strong starting in the late summer last year. And a beautiful silk blouse will last and look elegant for a very long time.
Real silk blouses on sale will likely start around $100 US and shouldn’t go beyond about $150. But as with wools and cashmeres, check the textile. The heavier the weight, the longer it will last. When you see the word “silky” in the description that tells you it’s made of polyester. (As in, “What is Victoria’s Secret? Polyester.”)
Cashmere lined leather gloves, typically around $100 US are going for about $58 on sites like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. And target has them for around $63. But they all sell out really fast. So, if you see something you like, don’t hesitate.
Another thing to keep an eye out for are “sets” – gloves and hats and hats and scarves, and of course, jewelry sets. For fine jewelry you’re not going to see a lot of big markdowns. But you can still pick up some nice things – and some great gifts – now.
Winter boots and leather booties are a great bargain item that are also a great investment. Unless you go for something extremely trendy (like stiletto pink metallic over-the-knee boots in flashy colors or weird shaped heels) ankle boots, knee-high boots, and booties are items that will be in fashion next winter and for several winters to come.
But if you are planning a winter vacation to a warmer climate, keep your eye out for some amazing finds in sandals. On higher end sites, like Saks, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdale’s, they are getting ready to fill the shelves with trendier summer flats and sandals and still have inventory in last summer’s styles that they really want to move. This includes everything from high heeled strappy sandals for dressier outfits to platform/flatform sandals, slides, plus Birkenstock-type styles.
If you have the storage space and the idea isn’t abhorrent to you, yeah, buy Christmas cards and decorations now!
And for all of you smarties, who bought your raffia and bamboo handled summer bags on sale last October, you’ll thank yourself come spring!
What have you bought on sale recently? Was it hard to find in your size? Are you happy with the quality?