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Brand and shopping advice

Our stylists’ sale essentials

Our stylists’ sale essentials

The winter sales are not as simple as they first seem. Just because something is discounted, that does not necessarily make it a great deal. After all, a pair of jeans that you never wear are always expensive, even if they’re 80% off.

“Try not to focus on how big the savings are,” says Thread stylist Brooke Philips. “You should sanity check the reason you want something before you actually buy it. Is it the color? The style? And what else that you own will it go with?” That way, you can honestly appraise whether your potential deal will add to your wardrobe, or just take up space inside it.

The biggest mistake is considering sales finds as by themselves. “Even if you fall in love with something, you shouldn’t buy things that don’t work with anything else you own,” says Brooke. If you get a deal on a pair of trousers but then have to buy a jacket and shoes to wear it with, that money in your pocket quickly disappears. “There’s a line between something that’s a bit out of your comfort zone and pieces that you won’t really be able to wear. Make sure whatever you want to buy sits on the right side of it. And if you’re unsure, message your stylist.”

But that careful consideration needs to happen within a fairly short window. Sales stock is, by definition, limited. If you sleep on a decision, odds are by the time you wake up, someone else will have snaffled the only one in your size. “But you can always return stuff,” says Brooke. “And with pieces that feel a bit experimental, it’s often not until you’ve tried it on that you can decide whether they work.” To help make sure you grab things you’ll actually want to wear, these are our stylists’ four must-buys.

Classics you can wear forever

Sales staples

Photographed: MVP overcoat (£110); MVP jumper (£38); Esprit shirt (£29); MVP chinos (£30); YMC trainers (£150)

There are certain things that you could buy at any time of the year. Pieces like dark jeans, Oxford shirts, textured blazers and t-shirts are any-season staples, which makes the sales the best time to stock up. “It’s stuff that you would have bought at full price,” says Brooke. Why wait until your old jeans wear out, when you can save by buying a new pair now?

“Because these things are less seasonal, they’re often a bit harder to find,” says Brooke. The discounts don’t tend to be as deep and they tend to disappear quite quickly, as everyone wants them. So it’s worth snapping them up as soon as you spot them. “But it doesn’t have to be 50% off to be worth it. After all, this is stuff that you need, rather than stuff you just want.”

A brand a step above your usual budget

Sales premium brands

Photographed: Belstaff jacket (£595); Timothy Everest rollneck (£195); Levi’s jeans (£85); Red Wing boots (£229)

At Thread, we’re very much of the mindset that investing a little bit extra tends to pay dividends in materials and build quality. If you spend more now, you won’t have to replace your clothes as often, so will save money in the long run. But it can be tough to know what’s worth the price tag. “The sales are a great time to try out new things to see if they’re up to scratch,” says Brooke.

Look for more premium versions of wardrobe staples, so that you can compare and contrast. If you get a pair of shoes that would normally cost twice as much as you usually spend, but they lasts twice as long, then you know that next time you can justify the extra outlay, even at full price. And if they don’t, then you haven’t lost out, says Brooke. “It’s a risk-free way to approach shopping slightly differently.”

Transitional pieces, so you’re prepared for spring

Sales spring pieces

Photographed: Native Youth jacket (£70); Armor Lux t-shirt (£35); Carhartt chinos (£85); Novesta trainers (£55)

It’s freezing now, but the warmer weather is only eight or nine weeks away. “Dressing for spring is a lot like dressing for autumn,” says Brooke. “You need lightweight layers, many of which will be in the sale if they weren’t popular in September and October.”

Because everyone else will still be in a winter mindset, you can grab great deals on things like overshirts, rain jackets, suede shoes and lightweight knitwear. “You might not be able to wear them immediately, but have some patience,” says Brooke. “The weather will change and you’ll be prepared.”

Something out your comfort zone

Sales risky pieces

Photographed: Rains coat (£75); Maison Kitsune jumper (£135); MVP shirt (£22); Paul Smith jeans (£135); Saucony trainers (£70)

Great style is about taking a few risks. And the best time to experiment is when your risky pieces are available at a discount. “It’s a nice way to dip a toe into things like different patterns, colours or even just a new fit or shade of denim,” says Brooke.

Less ordinary pieces also tend to offer the biggest savings. “They’re less popular, so they often have the most off,” says Brooke. “Just be careful of anything that’s too peculiar and take extra care to look at all the pictures. With jeans, for example, super-skinny fits were a big trend recently, so you might pick up a pair by mistake.” Also look out for unexpected prints or logos on the backs of shirts and tees. After all, there’s probably a reason if something is discounted by 90%.