The Best Times to Buy Clothing

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If you’re a clothes horse – or even if you’re not – you may have noticed that the shirts, pants, sweaters, and dresses you want probably cost more than they did a year ago.

In fact, the Consumer Price Index report released last month showed a 2.7% increase in apparel from last September to this one. With the Christmas shopping season right around the corner, that’s bad news — but  there are optimal times to buy clothing. Follow these guidelines and you can save a lot of money.

The best day of the week to buy clothing online

The answer depends on what you are looking for. ShopItToMe.com, a San Francisco company that analyzes more than 750,000 sales items a year from more than 200 online retailers. By running averages, the company found the following patterns:

■ Mondays: Shoppers can save nearly 50% on men’s and women’s dress pants, and about 55% on sunglasses.

■ Tuesdays: Expect to save more than 40% on men’s apparel.

■ Wednesdays: Shoppers save about 40% on shoes and children’s clothes.

■ Thursdays: Save 36% on handbags.

■ Fridays: Pay 42% less for jewelry, belts and scarves.

■ Saturdays: Lingerie (37% off) and jackets/outerwear (51% off).

■ Sundays: Swimsuits (52% off).

The best day of the year to buy clothing

Dec. 26. The day after Christmas is the first day of the best sales week of the year for clothes. If you’re willing to fight through the hoards of shoppers who are returning unwanted gifts, you can find the best deals and the best selection. Wait until Dec. 27 or Dec. 28, and the clothes will have been picked through.

(MORE: Time It Right: Sweet Spot Emerges for Snagging Best Holiday Gift Deals)

During other seasons, Thursday evenings are the best time and day of the week to buy clothing — especially about six weeks after items arrive in stores. If clothes haven’t sold about six weeks after they arrive in stores, managers start lowering the prices. These sales often occur as part of weekend sales, which often start on Thursdays.

The best month to buy a winter coat

January or February. The vast majority of people who need winter coats have them by then, so coats and other  winter clothes often go on sale starting in January. The longer you wait, the lower the prices — retailers will need to make room for spring clothing. But the longer you wait, the worse the selection will get.

The best month to buy sneakers

November and April. Check for November sales at big-box retailers, which need to make room for winter boots and shoes. Athletic shoe stores often offer great sales in April, when non-serious runners start hitting the pavement again.

The best month of the year to buy suits

Suits go on sale throughout the year, but January typically is a slow month for suit sales, so clothiers will lower prices to get you in their stores. When you’re shopping, consider all-weather wool suits and timeless styles, and remember that, to some extent, you get what you pay for. You probably won’t have a $100 suit in your closet four or five years from now, but you may have a $500 suit for as long as you’re able to fit into it.

How about swimsuits?

Swimsuit sales tend to start in the summer, but by September, department stores badly want to get rid of swimsuits.

Jeans?

October. Wait until after the post-back-to-school sales end in September, and you’ll see deep discounts, especially during fall seasons when denim is not expected to be a big part of fashion trends.

Long-time journalist Mark Di Vincenzo wrote The New York Times best-seller Buy Ketchup In May And Fly At Noon: A Guide To The Best Time To Buy This, Do That And Go There. This month he released an app based on that book called WHEN; and an all-new, second edition on the best time to buy things, called Buy Shoes On Wednesday And Tweet At 4:00: More Of The Best Times To Buy This, Do That And Go There, was released on Sept. 11.

10 comments
NatalieGrunberg
NatalieGrunberg

What is the best time to have a swimsuit pop up shop if you're in Vancouver BC Canada?

KimHuang
KimHuang

Is it applicable only in US? 

UrsulaWhite
UrsulaWhite

Great article! but many stores have been offering discounts whether the item is on-season or off-season. Regardless, it still makes sense to control your spending.

intheflowers
intheflowers

But if you're a women's size medium waiting for sales and clearances doesn't work so well. Unless you want all the ugly stuff that wasn't made right thus fits oddly on everyone. Very rarely will I find something in a medium on a clearance rack that is any way appealing.

CoolPenguin
CoolPenguin

Great tips! I didn't know the best days of the week to buy things online or that Thursday evening is the best time to buy clothes.  I also didn't know the best months to buy suits, sneakers and jeans.

JustMe222
JustMe222

The article boils down to:  WAIT, until everyone else has bought.

THAT is news?

Someone wasted time looking at 750,000 sales items to figure that out?

So much for quality of reporting on Time.com.  Article start talking about purchases online, but then strays to stores (like geography doesn't play into Brick & Mortar theories?)

SamuelSatter
SamuelSatter

OH wow now thats what I am talking about dude. Very cool indeed.

www.Anon-Yes.tk

fordlvr1
fordlvr1

@xavier.oneill Can't keep wearing the same work clothes for years until they fall apart - it affects your professional appearance.  This article is a good one for those with necessary clothing purchases to make the most from their financial situation. Everyone eventually needs to replace the clothing items above...Why so cynical about it?