10 steps to loving January sales shopping (we promise!)

Man in shopping centre

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Face the fear and shop anyway

How quickly do you get bored when you’re out shopping? Are you a die hard, all day bargain hunter, or a fly in, fly out kinda guy?

According to an article in Psychology Today you’re more likely to be the latter. A survey of 2,000 British people found that men become bored after only 26 minutes of shopping, while it takes women a full two hours to reach sales fatigue.

We’ve found 10 top tips for the January sales that’ll help take away the pain of sales shopping. So when you slip on your favourite classic brogues to hit the high street, you’ll be a sales supremo and not a shameful shopper.

1). Decide what you want

Most people head straight into the January Sales madness with no real idea of what they’re looking for. The result is a lot of impulse purchases that will never see the light of day. Go with a list in mind.

Take a look at the items you already have in your wardrobe. Is there anything that you love but is looking a little worn? Find a replacement. Or perhaps there’s an item you don’t wear because you’re not sure what to wear it with. Now’s the time to look for something to match.

2). Set a budget – and stick to it

Five pound note

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Only take with you what you can afford to spend

Ask yourself what you can really afford to spend and make sure you stick to it. Pool any vouchers you received at Christmas. And avoid using your credit card in the sales. It’s all too easy to get carried away!

Many fashionistas swear by the ‘cost per wear’ (CPW) equation when defining a budget. Denize Ashton, lifestyle blogger at lythamlifeandstyle.co.uk explains the concept:

“Buy something at £25 and wear it 5 times … and the cost per wear = £5.
Buy something at £100 pounds and wear it 100 times …and the cost per wear = £1”

So at the sale prices, you can get your CPW even lower than it would be for the rest of the year.

3). Get experimental

We’ve spoken about how lack of planning can lead to items that get consigned to the back of the wardrobe. But it would be a shame not to have a little fun along the way.

Keep 80% of your budget for items you actually need or want, and set aside 20% for some fun and experimentation. Accessories in colours you wouldn’t normally wear are a good place to start here, or a shirt with a collar style you’ve never tried before.

That 20% could also be used for some surprises that you hadn’t planned for – like a versatile smart casual jacket that you could wear to a number of different events.

4). Plan your attack

Business man looking at jumpers

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Hunt for bargains in quality fabrics that will last

Be prepared. It’s a motto that’s served the Boy Scouts well, and it’s highly apt in the January sales. Research the stores you want to go to so you don’t waste time. Get there early. Give yourself another advantage by familiarising yourself with the shops you’re visiting in advance. That way, you can make a beeline for the right department without getting lost.

Keep your focus, even in the madness of the sale racks. Style expert, Wenda James-Rowe has a couple of other tips on her style blog:

“There are fantastic bargains to be found, provided you are disciplined. Run your fingers along the racks – it’s the fastest way of picking out the odd bit of cashmere from the rows of polyester. Gather up anything that catches your eye as you go along and edit your choices later.”

You might find yourself with plenty to try on, but remember, that’s all part of the process.

5). Don’t be swayed

“Friendly” shop assistants and well-meaning friends could be your downfall when it comes to January sales shopping. Focus on your original objectives and try not to be swayed, or distracted.

In fact, NHJ Style Consultancy urges us to shop alone:

“If you go with family or friends you will not be able to focus and will be easily distracted. This is how people end up buying items they didn’t really want or need.”

But if you really can’t face the sales without moral support, make sure you take someone who’ll give you an honest opinion on your sales selections.

6). Think ahead

Man in shorts on beach

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It may be cold and rainy now, but plan ahead and stock up on summer wear

It may well be winter right now but don’t let that limit your choices. Think ahead to sunnier times and stock up on summer and spring items too. You could end up with your entire 2017 wardrobe sorted in one hit – for half the price.

This doesn’t just go for January sales either. Bang on Style Blog explains:

“Buy for the next Season. I.e., if it’s an end of summer sale don’t buy loads of summery pieces that you’ll only get a couple of weeks of wear out of. Buy items that will transition through to the next season.”

So, if you find yourself in front of a sale rack filled with t-shirts, shorts and sandals – don’t dismiss it out of hand. You could save a packet on your holiday outfits!

7). Ask – do you really love it?

It can be tempting to pick something up because it looks like a fantastic bargain. But if a sale offer is beyond incredible, there are a few questions you should ask yourself before you step out of the shop with that amazing yellow shirt:

Would you love it if you’d received it as a Christmas gift? Can you imagine your wardrobe without it? Would you buy it full price?

If the answer is no, take a step back. If it’s something you wouldn’t actually wear and care about, you’ll regret buying it. There’s a good chance that the shop just wants to get rid of it because they hate it too.

8). Compare prices online and off

Man browsing sales on laptop

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Do your research before hitting the shops

Getting a good deal is the aim of the game. Compare prices across different stores, particularly for branded items that are stocked in multiple outlets. Remember to hunt for bargains online too.

In fact, for Kyle Ingham at The Distilled Man, online is the best way to shop:

“… no stanky perfume counter to walk by, no other shoppers bumping into you, no sales people hounding you… and you can sit in your favourite chair (sans pants, if you like), sipping your favourite cocktail the entire time!”

And, as Kyle reminds us, familiarise yourself with the returns process in case the bargain of your online dreams doesn’t match your expectations.

9). Dress for the occasion

Think about what you’ll wear when you’re scouring the sales. Is it something that’s quick and easy to slip on and off when you’re trying clobber on in the shops? Is it something comfortable to spend a few hours walking from shop to shop in?

You might find yourself spending more time than you expect in the changing room, so stay comfortable. Self-confessed style and blogging nut Nicolas at Kinowear points out:

“This will make trying on a lot easier, because do not forget: you have to try on a lot of clothes to find one good thing.”

There’s no pleasure in trying on new clothes when you’re hot, sweaty and flustered. So keep it cool.

10). Make sure you eat

Plate with chicken salad on

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Fill up on a light but nutritious meal to give you shopping energy

You’re a man on a mission. You’ve got your plan, your list and your budget sorted out. You’ve done your homework and have an idea of what you want from where. You’re a sales ninja.

But even a ninja needs nourishment. Make sure you keep hydrated, and stop for lunch. If you’re hungry, you’ll be tired, and if you’re tired you’ll make bad decisions. And no-one wants to get home from the sales with items they don’t want and can’t wear.

What items will you be scouring the sales for? Remember- if in doubt, go online as all Samuel Windsor items are available to buy from the comfort of your own home. Let us know on Facebook. We’d love to see your photos too!

Posted in Men's Lifestyle.