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., 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.


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.