How to make the most of the sales
The winter sales are on their way - and a little planning can work wonders, says Hilary Alexander.
Looking back to months of high-street windows plastered with signs and stickers reading "20 per cent off", "last few days" and "everything must go", it might seem as if the whole year has been one long, never-ending sale.
But don't be fooled: that was only a rehearsal. The December-January sale season is the big one.
This is the time when designer bargains are to be unearthed, when labels you could only have dreamt of buying are reduced by up to 50 per cent, and "It" bags have their prices cut by 70 per cent.
But the sales need to be planned like a military mission if you are to emerge with something that isn't just a bargain, but a good investment, too.
My seven steps to sales success
1. Visit your favourite stores beforehand, check the layout, and find out what's going into the sale. If you know the sales assistant and are a good customer, she may keep it aside for you.
2. On opening day, head straight to your favourite department. Don't indulge in pointless browsing.
3. Wear something loose that is easy to take off, with minimal accessories, so you don't waste time in the fitting rooms.
4. Set a budget - and stick to it. If it doesn't fit or flatter, it's not worth it, even if it's a quarter of the price.
5. Shop in flats, but have heels in your bag to check proportions when trying on.
6. If you find the perfect black T-shirt, trousers, or shift, buy two.
7. Check online sales dates for your favourite shops; they're often a day or two earlier.