Summer Sales Madness: Choose Wisely & Take It Into Fall

Erin and I are going nuts loving all the mega sales online this week (see “How To Buy Clothes Online“). Right now, I’m feeling these new peep-toe Miu Miu patent pumps on Net-A-Porter and ohmygod I want those shoes so badly that just thinking about them sort of makes me cry. But they’re $700 and I’m a writer who’s fairly keen on not being homeless and it’s just so not happening. Even my “but I could totally wear them now and in the fall” justification isn’t doing it.

But this tragic tale has a happy ending: peep toes and patent leather were also a big look for summer, so I just found an even more awesome pair of Balenciaga patent peep-toe pumps on sale for 70% off. They were still something of a splurge at $270, but I actually can wear them now and in the fall. They’re comparable to the Miu Mius, and putting them on gives me heart palpitations. They were the Holy Grail of sale purchases: deeply discounted, seasonally appropriate, and totally acceptable all through fall as well. This multi-seasonal usage is the key not only to regular buying, but also for Final Sale purchasing, the time of year when we can buy really nice things at prices that regular people can kind of afford.

Here’s how to tackle the sales and get a hell of a lot of mileage out of your finds…

  • Do Not Buy Sandals: You’ve got less than two months left to wear those strappy little numbers you’ve been gazing at wistfully. So they’re not a wise choice. Instead, go for something that’s not totally covered up and silly for summer (like a peep toe, sling back or cut-out bootie), but still make sense for the fall.

    This means that colors like black, brown and navy are your friends, while lighter shades will just screw you over in a few weeks. Leather, patent and suede have got your back, too, but canvas and most silks will only hurt you in the long run.

  • Pieces You Can Layer Are Ideal: A spaghetti strap dress in light pink has a short shelf life, a shift dress in medium gray does not. You can wear it now as is, in the fall over a silky bow-neck blouse, or under a cropped jacket with opaque tights and boots.

    Same goes for dark prints. You can totally buy a dark printed dress as long as it’s one that will make sense when paired with boots, tights and a little jacket and scarf in the fall.

  • Year-Round Colors Are Legit: As you may have noticed already, dark or neutral colors are a big part of smart shopping. But this doesn’t mean you have to avoid color entirely. If you want something purple, skip the lilac and go with a jewel tone. Looking for green? Hunter green will last you months longer than lime. You can even do pink accents as long as it’s a deep pink. And red, the gorgeous color that it is, works pretty much year-round.
  • When Buying A Bag, Pick A Classic Shape and Spend A Lot: Your purse is a foundational part of your outfit. It should be as nice as you can afford and final call is the time to buy a classic one at a great price. Personally, I wear black pretty much year-round and most of my shoes are black so that’s the color I’d buy. If you’re more of a brown lover, do that instead. But unless you’ve got a thousand nice bags in those colors already, your money is best spent on those colors, as you’ll be able to use them whenever. (Also stray away from this summer’s hot It bags. They’ll just look out of date in a few months.)
  • This Is the Time To Buy LBDs: Seriously, if you find a great little black dress on sale, grab that baby and hold on tight. Unless it’s somehow tropically styled or comes in a silly summer fabric like linen, you can’t go wrong.