If you’re strategic, shopping in the sales can be brilliant. But there is a big ‘if’ here. My advice is to have a clear target in mind before you start browsing. Better still use it as an opportunity to identify and update the kinds of clothes that you wear all the time (that trusty jumpsuit, your go-with-everything knit, those trousers that always look good with every top you own).
Because if you know what to look for and most importantly what suits your shape and height, you can actually future-proof your wardrobe for winter at a fraction of the cost.
It helps to identify the building blocks of your next-season fashion arsenal. Some things, like a classic wool longline coat, will never date, but you’re unlikely to find that in the summer sales. The bomber jacket, on the other hand, was big news on the autumn/winter 2022 catwalks and some high street stores are already selling them.
Choose carefully though, you may be shopping with the season ahead in mind, but a good purchase should have the potential to last much longer than that. Seek out clothes made from good quality fabrics, and check the seams for durable construction. The care label is important too - you don’t want your clothes spending more time at the dry cleaner than on your back.
But before you start shopping, these are the bargainous items that the fashion set will be coveting come September and beyond…
The bomber jacket
You won’t be able to move for cool young things in bomber jackets come autumn, but this look isn’t just for millennials. The clean lines and relaxed fit is one that can work for every age, size and style. Try a cropped version with high-waisted trousers for a smart take on the trend, or a slightly oversized, hip-length version for a borrowed-from-the-husband weekend aesthetic. It won’t date too quickly either, we predict the bomber will still be chic for spring 2023 and beyond.
Head to toe knits
This looks like it would be challenging to wear if you’re not a size zero and 7ft tall, but hear us out, because done right, it’s very elegant, and seriously cosy when the temperature drops. The key is to size up if you don’t want it too clingy. Vertical ribs and a long, column skirt will help create the illusion of a lean silhouette. Wear all winter long with your favourite stompy boots (see below).
L-R: Ribbed knit sweater, was £49.99 now £29.99, and skirt, was £49.99 now £29.99, Mango; Wool cashmere blend jumper, was £430 now £215, and skirt, was £260 now £155, Anine Bing; Cotton knitted dress, was £135 now £81, Jigsaw
The oversized blazer (hard shoulder)
“It’s extremely flattering to have big shoulders,” Joan Collins told her goddaughter Cara Delevingne in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar in 2019. “It makes your hips look smaller and your waist tinier.” Collins would know, she spearheaded the bold shoulder trend as Alexis Colby in Dynasty in the early Eighties, and it’s very much back for autumn/winter 2022.
Too-broad shoulders can drown a petite frame though, so avoid anything comically large (we’re looking at you Justin Bieber) and choose sharply tailored blazers with structure instead.
Carry on thinking pink
When Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli dedicates an entire collection to one colour, you can be sure that it’s going to be a big trend - and according to the designer, pink is one that suits everybody. “Pink can be delicate, sensual, hedonistic and irreverent,” he told British Vogue in May. “Anyone looks great in the colour. That is why I have always had some pink pieces in all my collections.”
To wear pink the Valentino way, you’ll need every single item in your outfit to be vivid fuchsia, but more muted dressers may prefer to dip a toe in the pink waters with one hero piece, such as this shirt or trousers, which would look wonderful with neutrals like beige and navy.
The chunky boot
Who doesn’t love a stompy boot in winter? At this point it’s a modern classic, and if you don’t have a pair that you love, this is the time to invest in a forever pair. Go for something on the chunky side with a track sole - not only does it make for a more robust boot, it also looks more modern with midi dresses and jeans. Those larger of calf may be more comfortable in an ankle-high Chelsea boot, although both John Lewis and DuoBoots have some really lovely knee-high stompy boots with a wider leg in the sale right now.
The look at me bag
Good handbags can be expensive, so it’s sensible to choose a neutral shade like black or brown, right? Wrong. When the rest of your wardrobe is muted, a bright bag can bring your outfits to life. Red, for instance, can be just as versatile as black - just think of it as the accessory equivalent of red lipstick. If primary shades are too bold for you, consider a soft pastel instead.
Bangles are back
If you spend your days tapping away at a keyboard, look away now, because the jangly arm party is about to make a big comeback. Office environments aside, it’s a fabulous way to add drama to your look, whether you’re wearing a holiday sundress next week or a sleek evening look in the autumn. Make it your own with a mishmash of old favourites, sale buys and heirloom treasures - the more the merrier.