Look to score major clothing bargains at the start and end of each fashion season – January, May, July, and November. Retailers slash prices by 70% off or more on out-of-season apparel to clear room for new inventory. Holiday weekends like Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day also boast great fashion deals. Sign up for store emails and apps to receive early access to the biggest sales promotions.
Shopping for clothes can get expensive, especially if you need to regularly update your wardrobe for work, seasons, or growing kids. However, with some planning and strategic shopping, you can save significantly on the clothes you need. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the optimal times to shop for clothes throughout the year in order to catch all the major sales and promotions. I’ll also provide tips to make the most of seasonal clearance events, early access opportunities, and more. Armed with the inside scoop, you’ll be able to revamp your closet on a budget!
Top Shopping Periods Throughout the Year
Certain times of year are better for scoring different types of clothing items on sale. Here is an overview of the peak discount seasons:
Immediately after the winter holidays is an excellent time for deals on cold weather apparel. Look for up to 50% – 75% off coats, sweaters, gloves, hats, boots, and other seasonal items as retailers clear out their inventory. Staple items like jeans also tend to go on sale in January as stores try to drive traffic and sales after the holiday shopping season ends. The discounts get deeper as the month goes on, with the best deals happening leading up to new merchandise releases in mid-February.
Some examples of January sales events:
– New Year Clearance Sales: Right after Christmas/New Year’s, usually starting Dec 26th
– Post-Holiday Sales: Deep seasonal discounts running for a few weeks in Jan
– White Sales: Specific sales on white clothing and linens
February mirrors December in terms of major fashion happenings. New spring merchandise starts hitting the shelves in mid-February. Retailers need to make room for the updated offerings, so February is the best time to score deals on winter accessories, sweaters, outerwear, cold weather athletic wear, fleece, linen, robes, and fringed items up to 80% off regular prices. Valentine’s Day sales also mean great deals on loungewear like slippers and pajamas. Look for discounts around President’s Day weekend too.
By March, winter clearance sales make way for spring deals. Look for 40% – 60% off or more on dresses, lightweight separates, spring jackets and coats, shorts, swimsuits, sandals, and Easter apparel. St. Patrick’s Day means great savings on green clothing. Later in the month, spring athletic apparel also starts going on sale as stores prepare for summer exercise wear.
April features Easter, Earth Day (April 22), and spring fever, which translates to continuing discounts on lightweight spring clothing. Look for 50% – 80% off spring sweaters, dresses, shorts and skirts. Plus, high-end retailers start offering more inclusive sizing as part of their April strategies, so you can find designer brands for less in extended sizes.
May is a big month for clothing deals. Summer is right around the corner, so retailers feature huge Memorial Day sales starting mid-month. Look for 60% to 80% off spring styles so stores can clear the way for summer inventory. Late May/Early June also has steep savings on athletic wear for summer sports leagues, training, etc. Swimsuits are massively marked down now for vacation season as well.
June may seem like an odd time for clothing deals with summer in full swing, but Father’s Day sales (mid June) actually drive excellent discounts, especially on men’s clothing. From sport coats to ties, dress shoes, casual wear and underwear, retailers offer 20% to 50% off regular prices. Graduation sales also happen in June, with markdowns on dress clothing around 50% off.
The height of summer provides excellent deals on out-of-season merchandise to make room for Back to School items. Look for clearance sales on winter coats, heavy sweaters, pants, cold weather accessories and outerwear at 60% to 80% off starting prices. Early Back to School sales also start in late July with discounts on kids’ clothing and uniforms around 5% to 40% off.
Back to School shopping hits high gear in August with continuing savings on kids’ styles as well as office-appropriate professional clothing. From T-shirts and jeans to dresses, blouses and suiting, retailers offer anywhere from 20% to 60% off regular prices from early to late August. Plus, lingering end of summer sales mean you can still catch deals on swimwear, sandals and seasonal athletic clothing like moisture wicking T-shirts.
As summer ends, September features both Back to School final clearance discounts as well as pre-fall specials. Kids clothing now goes for up to 70% to 80% off original prices. Expect anywhere from 40% to 60% off adult office wear as well to round out summer. At the same time, retailers start touting their new fall merchandise, including denim, cooler weather wear and business casual essentials at 10% to 25% off.
October features Columbus Day sales in addition to Halloween discounts. Shop sales around the Columbus Day three-day weekend for 30% to 50% off suits, dress wear, coats, jeans, shoes and boots. Halloween deals also offer 20% to 40% savings on costumes as well as fall sweaters, outerwear, and accessories as stores transition to holiday merchandise.
Veteran’s Day sales kick off pre-holiday deals in November, so you can save 30% to 50% on select regular-priced apparel purchases for the long weekend. Black Friday sales dominate late November with some of the biggest savings of the year at up to 60% to 80% off all types of clothing. Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday cap off November with more huge discounts both online and in-stores. Shop now for everything from party dresses to outerwear.
December features continuing seasonal savings alongside special discounts for Christmas and Hanukkah gift giving. Weekend deals and Green Monday sales mean up to 70% off coats, gloves, scarves and more cold weather gear. Last minute holiday deals late in the month offer final opportunities for 50% to 80% off sweaters, robes, pajamas, slippers and holiday casuals before new winter stock comes in starting January.
Leveraging Early Access Opportunities
In addition to hitting the major sale events detailed above, you can maximize clothing deals by leveraging early access opportunities. These offers provide first dibs on sales or exclusive promos so you can get newly marked down items before inventory sells out:
– Credit Card Offers: Many store credit cards provide extra discounts, like an additional 10% to 20% off sales prices or double loyalty rewards points to redeem later. You typically need to open an account first. Make sure to understand fees and terms before signing up.
– Loyalty Programs: Sign up for your favorite brand’s loyalty program either online or in store. Members often get advance notice of sales, special coupons and discount codes as well as free birthday gifts and exclusive member-only offers.
– Email/Text Signups: Browse a retailer’s website and sign up for their promotional emails and/or SMS text alerts. You’ll be first to know about all the sales plus get sent special subscriber promo codes.
– Friends & Family Events: Typically over the summer and during the winter holidays, retailers will offer pre-sale Friends & Family shopping days where you can access discounts early. Eligibility requirements vary, but signing up online for emails usually ensures an invite.
Tips for Maximizing Seasonal Clearance Events
Hitting a great sale still takes a bit of strategy to extract the best deals. Use these pro tips specifically when shopping seasonal clearance events:
– Shop Earlier: The most in-demand items in popular sizes go fastest, so shop clearance sales first thing in the morning or right when new markdowns begin online to beat the competition.
– Be Flexible: Avoid getting too fixated on one specific style or color. Keep an open mind across comparable options to score the best price on what’s left in stock.
– Compare Prices: Use price tracking tools or apps to double check if a clearance price is really the season’s best discount compared to previous sales.
– Stack Discounts: Check whether additional promo codes or in-store coupons can be applied on top of existing marked down prices for extra savings. Retail credit cards also usually provide additional discounts.
– Buy Ahead: Shop next season’s clearances to get the deepest discounts. Stock up on winter coats during the summer or shop swimsuits in the fall. Just store items until needed next year.
– Consider Resale: Vintage and secondhand stores also offer huge discounts on out-of-season apparel in excellent condition if you don’t need the newest looks.
Getting the Most Value Over Time
Building a versatile wardrobe that transitions across seasons and trends starts with making savvy purchases specifically during the sales detailed above. But clothing you love and actually wear often boils down to fit, fabric, construction and style. Focus on discovering cuts and textiles that flatter your body over chasing temporary trendy pieces no matter how deep the discount.
Invest in premium denim that molds perfectly to your shape. Seek out affordable cashmere that feels plush yet lightweight. Find that perfect leather moto jacket that complements any outfit. When the right staple piece goes on sale in your ideal size, jump on it. Then supplement with inexpensive trendy accents bought on a budget.
Curating a collection of beloved essentials mixed with some fast fashion experimentation ultimately keeps your closet current and stylish for years to come. Plus, caring properly for premium fabrics helps favorite pieces hold up over time so you spend less having to replace ill-fitting, poor quality substitutes.
In other words, let this guide steer you towards discounts so you can channel savings into building lasting looks you can’t wait to wear. Then count all the compliments you rack up as you exit the house in your latest outfit scored at a steal. Just don’t forget who tipped you off on the best deals in the first place!