The sales have started. But to buy wise, you can’t just dive into the reduced rails. A 75% off sticker does not a good deal make; you want value, not discount. “The sales require a cool head and planned list,” says Eric Down, style director at Men’s Health. “If something’s heavily reduced, it’s because no one wanted it and the retailer is desperate to shift it.” A hot pink Moschino biker might be half off. But that’s still £400 wasted when you never wear it.
The sales are a chance to save, not experiment, so focus on pieces you’d have bought at full price. “Put your cash into solid basics and buy the best you can afford,” says Down. If your budget normally means high street, markdowns let you get better-made designer takes for the same investment. But don’t compromise. “Don’t be tempted to buy something that doesn’t fit just because it’s cheap.” An baggy suit at 80% off is still a baggy suit.
For best returns, think long term. The sales come when next season hits stores and anything trendy will date before you’ve got it to the till. Leave that mesh tank top in the reduced pile. Pick up this sextet of pieces you’ll still be wearing when SS17 is red-stickered.
A Summer Suit You Can Wear All Year
Before air con and Uber, you’d switch your tailoring up every time the season changed. Now, a mid-weight, semi-lined suit will carry you from summer through to spring.
Look for wool, not warm weather-only fabrics like linen, says Down. “If you can, go into store before the sales and try on a mix of cuts so you know which suits you best. It will save you hours of sweaty rummaging. Stock up on classic blue and white shirts now too.”
Maison Margiela Single-Breasted Virgin Wool Suit (30% off). Slim cut and in a light grey that works from everywhere from weddings to work.
Reiss Kane Suit (30% off). The slim-fit drags the pinstripes out of the bank and onto the street.
Trousers That Leave Some Room For Movement
Compared to womenswear, men’s trends move like tectonic shift. But occasionally, there’s a quake. This season, that’s been a suddenly blooming silhouette; skinny trousers out, wide legs in.
“And it’s a trend that’s going nowhere,” says menswear stylist Daisy Deane. “Designers like Agi & Sam and even ASOS invested in a wider seam for AW16.” Follow suit to get years out of your new buy. “If you hunt down a cropped pair you can team them with sandals now and ribbed socks and trainers in the winter.”
Lanvin Straight-Leg Twill Trousers (30% off). Straight off the Parisian house’s SS16 runway, these loose-cut, lightweight trews come unfinished so you can choose just how cropped you want to go.
Topman Design Navy Neppy Trousers (50% off). Wide enough to make a statement. Not so billowing your legs get lost.
A Bomber That Flies Across Seasons
Outerwear is always a wise sale buy – it’s expensive, so even low percentages mean more money off. But resist anything too avant-garde.
A lightweight bomber works as summer’s last layer, or slots under your overcoat in winter. “Bombers have been huge for several seasons now,” says Down. “The MA1 style carries over to next season too. Military green or black will always be a good investment.”
Wooyoungmi Reversible Textured Bomber (40% off). There’s the discount, and because it’s reversible, you’re kind of getting two-for-one. Bargain.
Ted Baker Printed Linen Bomber Jacket (30% off). Lightweight linen gets a rain-repelling coating. So you can wear it whatever the weather.
A Forever Leather Jacket
The leather jacket is as trendless as menswear gets. But hides are expensive and they’re hard to make, which is why cheap takes fall apart.
The sales are your chance to snap up a premium version you’ll wear to death. “Less is more,” says Down. To ensure you’re still wearing it in a decade, “avoid anything heavily studded or detailed.”
Classic biker or military cuts work anywhere, with anything, forever.
Belstaff Archer Leather Jacket (30% off). Belstaff is the biker OG. Which is why its leathers never, ever date.
AllSaints Cargo Biker (30% off). The high-end high street brand nails that edgy, lived-in look. So you don’t need to beat yours up on a bike.
Sandals That Your Nan Would Never, Ever Wear
Remember what we said about not experimenting? Well, sometimes the sales offer a chance to dip a toe in a trend you’ve been skirting around.
Especially if, as with sport-inspired sandals, it’s sticking around. Like last year, the SS17 runways were all about bare toes and velcro, says Time Out style editor Miriam Bouteba. “Pick up a pair in the sale and your future self will thank you.” Just the second we actually see some sun.
Marc Jacobs Black Textured Leather Sliders (35% off). The definition of sports luxe, Marc Jacobs takes the humble pool slider and upgrades it in premium leather.
Dark Future Gladiator Sandals (25% off). Gladiator styles get a 21st century overhaul with foot-friendly neoprene.