Smart Sale-Shopping Strategies

Can you hear it?  The siren song of major season-end markdowns is blaring full force.  And the continued disruption of supply chains has caused many cold-weather item to hit the stores late in the season – just in time for price reductions.

That can be a great way to update your closet.  Or a temptation to ill-advised purchases that will still have the tags on them in 2023.  How can you decide which is which?

Here are a few tips, with my personal picks shown at the end of the post:

  • Look for basic pieces – especially duplicates of current closet faves that will eventually start to look worn. This year I’ve reached at least once a week for a black legging embossed with a subtle animal skin pattern.  The Spandex content and the wide elastic waist finish smoothed out my lower half and still felt totally comfy. I’m sure they’ll be showing their age by next Fall, so now is a great time to grab a similar pair at the all-time low price (A – Soft Surroundings).  And when I found the same thing in navy  (B – Chico’s) – oh my goodness yes!
  • What go-to item in your closet could use a back-up? 


  • Add a new color – from your best color range, of coursein a style you’ve recently come to love. Personally I’ve grown almost addicted to duster-length cardigans that add a bit of drama to my typical conservative look and a bit of height to my 5’3” frame.  So when I saw one in a deep berry color  (C – Ann Taylor) – that works with all my gray and navy pieces – I knew it belonged in my closet
  • Is there a new-to-you style winner you’d like to have more of? 


  • Stock up on separates in your “new neutral”. If you’ve decided to embrace your natural hair color, it’s likely that your Key Neutral has changed to be softer (and less warm if you have warm coloring) than before.  Transitioning your basic pieces can come with a significant price tag, so getting a head start during sale season is a smart strategy. I’m moving toward more gray, and a twist-front tee (D – White House Black Market) shapes to my curvy body and elongates my short torso.  
  • What neutral might you add to your wardrobe?


  • Add a new style in a color you love. I enjoy wearing chocolate brown as a refreshing change from black/gray.  But my current brown bottom garments all trend in a dressier direction, so brown pull-on jeans (E – Chico’s) will give me a more relaxed way to wear my brown-coordinate tops.
  • What style gap do you have in one of your base colors?


  • Tiptoe out of your comfort zone in the accessory category. It’s amazing how a bolder (but not over-the-top) necklace or earring can modernize an otherwise run of the mill outfit – even a very casual one.  Keep the trend tip (below) in mind, though.   Chico’s and Jjill offer a good selection n this category, although some Chico’s pieces are quite over-sized.  A shorter necklace anchors attention up near your face.  A long-ish one creates a vertical design element to elongate and narrow your torso.
  • Which style would you like to try?


  • Stock up on basics. You’re going to need new bras and panties eventually.  Why delay and pay full price?  And chances are your loungewear/sleepwear category has been getting more use during the pandemic and could use a refresh.  Chico’s has a couple of cute tee+drawstring pant sets (F) on sale that aren’t Christmas motifs.
  • What basics will need replacing soon? 


  • AVOID anything very trendy. Jumping on even the hottest trend at the end of a season virtually guarantees it will have cooled off before you get your money’s worth of wear.  The exception is a “warm” trend (not the hot-hot one that EVERYBODY jumped on; think the cut-out shoulder thing) that overlaps your personal best colors and favorite styling.  And even then, be willing to put it away and skip wearing it nest year when it will look so very “last year”.  Put it into rotation the following year and nobody is likely to remember.
  • AVOID prints. Okay, maybe not all prints. But we are in a fashion phase when the majority of prints in the market are either juvenile/preppy (Talbot’s) or jarringly bright, bold and oversized (everybody else).  Get your print fix with a great new scarf or two instead.

Here are my personal additions from the markdown mania — what should yours be???

About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Pam Newman on January 18, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Nancy. Could you show us some clothing combinations with these items you bought please? I like the brown jeans but they are a little pricey for me.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on January 20, 2022 at 2:10 pm

      I’ll work on that for next week. Thanks for the idea to follow up in that way. Hope you’ll find it helpful.

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