Holiday Advice

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tips on Shopping Smart During Sale Season

Oh, Black Friday. To some, lining up at the crack of dawn to battle over two-for-one cashmere scarves is a surefire way to get into the holiday spirit. But before you get into a frenzied fight over reindeer-print socks, remember that shopping smart begins at home. Taking stock of what's in your closet can keep you from making impulsive mistakes. After all, a 50-percent-off winter coat is no bargain if you tire of its canary-yellow hue by February. Here is some advice on preparing to join the shopping masses:

First, pick out your favorites. These are the clothes that always make you look your best -- the pieces you can throw on at a moment's notice and still feel like Heidi Klum. Knowing the colors, fabrics and cuts of these sure bets will help you pull out gems as you dig through crowded, jumbled clothing racks.

Examine your fashion failures. Did you try the bubble-hem trend, only to have it burst -- in the tragic form of a pricey dress you never wore? Thinking about the clothes that didn't work can save you time and angst in the dressing room and beyond.

Now the fun part: Flip through fashion magazines and browse Web sites to get an idea of trends you'd like to try. Knowing what's fresh can help you figure out which on-sale items will have staying power next season.

And if you just can't face the crowds, there's always the Web. Plenty of e-tailers are getting in on the seasonal discounts, too. A few of our favorite well-stocked e-boutiques: Shopbop (, Revolve Clothing (, Chick Downtown (, Tobi ( and Active Endeavors (

-- Holly E. Thomas and Michelle Thomas

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