Don’t fear the bargain buys

Christina Nugent

With a little patience and a logical approach to spending, paying full price for clothes this time of year should never cross your mind.

The receding economy combined with many retailers in the red is now resulting in huge clearance selection. With numbers down, many stores are trying to make their quota after a lackluster holiday spending season. What does this mean for the savvy shopper? A chance to embark on some serious fashion steals.

After the holidays, stores kick their winter clothing to the clearance rack in order to make room for the new spring line. Last month’s duds are now a steal at 50 to 75 percent off. This is not new. Like clockwork, it happens every year. Long-sleeve shirts, sweaters, fleece, flannel and boots are replaced with pastels, sandals, shorts and lightweight cotton. Who desires to wear shorts and pastels in the dead of winter is a mystery. However, this is good news for the penny-wise shopper.

While most are swept up in the excitement of the beach and summer in the coming months, the smart shopper heads to the clearance rack in the rear of the store, and weeds through the mass of clothing, finding long sleeve tops for $5.99, such as those at Forever 21, or sweaters and boots for $19.95 like those at American Eagle Outfitters.

The saying, “You get what you paid for,” is the mindset you should have when shopping for a few staple items, though. You can never go wrong with a sturdy, yet comfortable and stylish pair of boots, a soft, warm cardigan in a neutral color such as black, gray, or brown and a pair of medium wash straight leg jeans. These three items are ones to splurge on. They’ll last you a while, and can be worn in more than one season. A pair of boots can be worn with a sundress or skirt in the spring, and the cardigan as well. The jeans, of course, can be worn anytime with anything.

Shopping Tips:
Don’t be quick to buy. See something you like in a store but dislike the price? Shop around. Chances are another store will have something similar for a different price.
Stores place their newest, most up-to-date fashion pieces in the windows and front of their stores. As you walk in, keep your eyes on the back, head straight for the clearance rack, and don’t let anything distract you along the way.
To decide whether or not an article of clothing or a pair of shoes is worth the number on the price tag, divide the price by the approximated number of wears. For example, you see a pair of gold sequined flats for $100 and a pair of medium-wash, straight-leg jeans for the same price. Let’s say you think you can wear the flats about ten times before they start to fall apart. That means you’re spending about $10 per wear. The jeans, however, you argue you can wear about a hundred times before they fall apart. That’s one dollar a wear. Which is the more practical buy? The jeans.
Never splurge on a fashion item that is uncomfortable. Chances are you won’t wear it. It will only sit in your closet, and you’ll look at it every day as you get dressed and kick yourself for spending so much on something that deep down, you knew you really wouldn’t wear.