Lilliana Vazquez, author of "The Cheap Chica's Guide to Style," shared her tips on shopping smart. Credit: Lilliana Vazquez
There is a right time and a wrong time to buy those shoes you've been eyeing, and even if you made a New Year's resolution to save money in 2014, that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style. Lilliana Vazquez, style expert and author of "The Cheap Chica's Guide to Style," shared her tips on planning a shopping schedule for the year and how you can save money on hot wardrobe staples with just a bit of good timing.
Winter coats and accessories: This frosty month is the perfect time to buy warm winter goods. "Whether it's a brand new coat, hats, scarves, globes, boots or ski stuff, items get really marked down in January but in a city like New York, we'll probably still be wearing these until April," said Vazquez.
Formalwear: "Anyone who was selling New Year's and holiday party stuff still has a lot of merchandise, so this is the best time of the year to buy a cocktail dress," said Vazquez. She added that it's an especially great time to save on anything sparkly or beaded. Vazquez said to ask yourself if you have three events where you'll be able to wear the dress. You can also get more use out of party dresses by pairing them with casual sweaters or jackets.
Spring items: Believe it or not, February is a great month to buy spring items. Vazquez said though this is when stores get their first shipments of spring clothes, retailers will mark them down if no one is buying. "You can get new stuff marked down if it's really cold out," said Vazquez.
Winter clearance: If you still need winter clothes, this is when winter gear is on final mark down. The merchandise will already be picked over, but it will be at its cheapest.
March and April
Shoes: Get a head start on summer shoe shopping in March and April, when the selection is the largest. Stores will offer some early markdowns, and those sandals you've had your eye on may be gone by May.
Fitness gear: "A lot of [sneakers and fitness items] come in for the New Year's resolution people who say they're going to work out and then never do, so if you're a runner or gearing up for the summer, it's a great time to buy sneakers and fitness fashion items," said Vazquez. She added that this is when Lululemon fans can buy their favorite brand on deep discount.
Spring splurges: "You're going to get the most selection if you're willing to pay near full price or 20 percent off," explained Vazquez. That means if you're willing to splurge on a few investment pieces like a practical and pretty spring coat, this is the best time to do it.
Secondhand items: May is a big month for spring cleaning, which means that lots of people are getting rid of their clothes and accessories, and one man's trash is another man's treasure. "A lot of people are cleaning out, so it's a good time to deal hunt in your neighborhood," said Vazquez. "you can get vintage stuff and great shoes because they're making room in their closets for all new things." Vazquez suggested heading to stores like Buffalo Exchange and Housing Works in New York for trendy second-hand merchandise.
June and July
Summer items: Fall items will be trickling into stores by now, which means you can find great deals on summer clothes and accessories. "You can get stuff you can get a lot of use out of, like shorts, rompers and sundresses — things that feel seasonal," said Vazquez.
Swimsuits: Stores will still carry plenty of swimsuits, but they'll be marked down by June and July. "You'll still wear them for another two or three months," pointed out Vazquez.
August and September
Summer clearance: Vazquez called this "back-to-school summer leftover time." Inventory will be a mixed bag of summer odds and ends without much size availability, but this is when you can get the best deals on summer clearance items.
New fall items: You'll find discounts on new inventory during back-to-school and Labor Day promotions.
Basics: This is a good time for basics, like jeans, leggings and layered sweaters. Vazquez said to hit up stores like Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdales for friends and family sales.
Big purchases: November is a big shopping month with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Vazquez said this is when she saves up for her big, pricey purchases like cashmere sweaters. "These deals I only splurge on once a year because I can wear them for a long time, so it's a great value proposition for my closet," she said.
No size items: Vazquez said this is the last chance for retailers to grab customers for their year-end earnings reports, which means holiday sales abound. This is an especially good time to get "no size" gifts like hats, bags, gloves and scarves for friends and family.