Online shopping can be a crap shoot. There few websites that tells you that the blouse you are buying will be n sell (cheaper) in a couple days. If you are like me, you always see that very item for less after your 30 day price guarantee. Shopping can be scary, especially for The "Curvier" shopper because some of the size sell quickly. But, not if you know how to do it right. Here's how a fashion girl can catch a break:
January: Go ahead, buy it. The merchandise left over from the fall/winter sales and pre-fall hangers-on get marked down by 70%. Sounds amazing, right? Well, here comes the downside: the sizes (18 - 22) are almost always sold out. Waiting to get something on clearance is only really helpful if you wear a size 12 pant or a 6 shoe. However, it can be a great source for getting a great deal on things you never knew you wanted.
February/March: Visualize it. Even though there's a strong chance that it is colder, this is when spring deliveries start rolling into stores. All of this merchandise is still full priced, however, and will remain so until after Memorial Day. Since the fall/winter runway collections are just being sent down the catwalk, this is a good time to start imagining your wardrobe for next September (maybe even start a Pinterest board?). If you are good at managing your money (I, for one, am not, but that doesn't stop me) you can simultaneously shop for your spring wardrobe and pre-order your fall clothes. Thinking ahead and careful planning are the best ways to ensure you always get what you want.
April: Get a tax break—seriously. By this time of year, all of the seasonal merchandise is in stores, so it's time to start building your spring wardrobe. If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of paying full retail, consider this: April is also sample sale season. There is no promise of what season plus size designers will be unloading in terms of samples, but stock is typically from the previous season and discounts can go up to 90%. It's best to stay on top of when and where your favorite designers are practically giving you clothing. Plus, if you do your taxes right, you get a big refund which you can use to wisely invest in your closet.
May: BUY. Right after Memorial Day, spring merchandise gets marked down by 40%. This is your first opportunity to score anything and everything spring before it starts selling out. And things do sell out very fast.
June/July: Stock up on essentials. Pre-fall is the short commercial season between spring and fall. And pre-fall merchandise is usually the most wearable: black coats, leather pants, and sensible sweaters. It's basically all of the things you need to make sure that you seamlessly get through the fall season. It's also an aperitif for the fall runway collections, which hit stores next month.
August: Buy swim. Spring merchandise is now on clearance at 70% off. Warm-weather fabrics are generally lighter and, therefore, less expensive than their cold-weather cousins. But beware of buying in bulk; you might overspend on swimsuits, t-shirts, and denim that you don't love.
September/October: This is gonna hurt. Right now, all of the runway looks from the February shows are slowly making their way into stores. This is a hard time to shop because fall merchandise tends to be more expensive than spring. (It's also the time of year when you want to reinvent for the next season. It's the New Year of clothing!) There are skins, furs, coats, boots, etc. Not only is this hard on your wallet, but it's also hard for designers to produce these things in bulk so quantities will be low. My advice for peace of mind during this season? Pre-order.
November/December: Make sure you need it. The holiday season yields the first markdowns for fall. The day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, is your first chance to buy fall at 40% off. If you can hold out until December, and want to be a daredevil in the waiting game, almost all of the major retailers mark down merchandise by 50%-70%.
Also, resort hits stores early November, but unless you vacation in St. Barts, I'd suggest waiting for these flimsier (and often more ornate) styles to go on sale—which they will next August. Resort tends to be the most commercially viable merchandise and therefore represents the longest retail season of all. You will be exposed to resort for longer than any other merchandise from any other season so it typically sells out. The more you see it, the more you want it. So with resort, keep your wish list concise and to the point.
NOW LET'S GO SHOPPING!