These five categories are best purchased now.
January isn’t typically a huge month for shopping — at least when it comes to buying new things. Fall merchandise is already out the door, and it’s still a few months until spring stuff trickles in (unless you are someone who actually shops for “resort”). But! The stuff that is in stores is very much on sale, including time-sensitive items like winter jackets and boots.
Below, a few experts weigh in on the best things to buy in January at a discount, plus our suggestions on where to shop them.
As expected, exercise apparel is at the top of the list. “To coincide with New Year’s resolutions, consumers can absolutely expect discounts on athletic apparel. So many of us use the New Year to get serious about our fitness routines, so we often see discounts on anything fitness-related, like apparel, footwear, equipment, and gym memberships,” says Splender.com smart shopping expert Trae Bodge. “Athletic footwear is also a good sale category in January.”
Where to shop: Athleta’s sale section is particularly deep right now — the Finesse 2 Leggings are on sale for just $29.99, and the Polartec Electra Powerlift Tight 2.0 (which are great for cold weather) are $78. Old Navy has also discounted a lot of its fitness apparel; the Go-Dry Cool Mid-Rise Fitted Running Tights — which are pretty exceptional for the price — are just $22, and the Go-Warm Performance Fleece Full-Zip Jacket is only $14. These leggings from Vie Active are also great for $54.
Winter Coats and Boots
Thanks to the retail industry’s topsy-turvy, three-months-in-advance schedule, you can find a lot of cold-weather gear — like coats and boots — on sale in January, the month when you actually need them. “Winter apparel is deeply discounted because retailers are preparing to clear space for incoming spring merchandise,” explains Bodge.
Victoria Perry at eBay Fashion adds that “customers will still be able to find a great selection, since many areas of the country only started experiencing colder weather in December.” If you live somewhere that has been cold for a bit already, your best bet is to shop online, where everything will be less picked over.
Where to shop: Uniqlo has a great selection of down coats in its sale section. The Women U Lightweight Down Jacket is only $29.90 right now (its regular price is a full $100 more); the longer version is $99. On the men’s side, this puffer is $79.90. Over at Patagonia, the classic Women's R2 Fleece Jacket is $118, and the Women's Stormdrift 3-In-1 Parka is $239.
Need duck boots? Several styles are on sale over at Sorel, as well as less-intense cold-weather boots, like the Addington Tall Boot for $213. And at REI, the men’s Merrell Turku Trek Waterproof Winter Boots are marked down to $97.93.
According to data pulled by ShopStyle, January is the best month for cashmere, as part of stores’ annual winter clean-outs. ShopStyle “saw key discounts falling in the 50% to 70% range,” and “by February, an ‘interest’ in cashmere will drop by 50%.”
Where to shop: Not where you think. A lot of the big and small brands known for their cashmere (like Everlane and Naadam) aren’t having sales because they stock cashmere year-round. Instead, head to department stores that have to get rid of inventory from multiple brands. Barneys Warehouse has pages of cashmere, starting at $169 for sweaters from the in-house line. At Nordstrom, these Halogen Cashmere V-Neck Crews are marked down to $69 for women and $73 for men.
Of course, there’s also Uniqlo, where women’s cashmere turtlenecks, crewnecks, and ribbed crewnecks are on promotion for $59.90. Why the huge variety in pricing? Read up on why cashmere costs what it does here.
One thing stores definitely can’t hold on to are holiday gift sets. For that reason, January’s a great time to snatch them up. As Coupons.com savings and consumer trends expert Jeanette Pavini explains, “Beauty stores and cosmetic brands package together gift sets with a variety of their products — often deluxe sample sizes. They make great gifts, but most of us aren’t going to buy them for ourselves unless the price is right. Fortunately, right after the holiday it is, so snag up travel-sized containers from your favorite cosmetic brands.”
Where to shop: Make a beeline to Sephora and Ulta. This Tarte Kiss Bliss Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint & Crayon Set is $25, this Marc Jacobs Beauty Up All Night Five-Piece Lip Set is $35 (for five lip colors), and this Smashbox Master Class Palette: Lighting Theory is $45. At Ulta, the Laura Geller 6-Piece Full Size Beauty Collection is $39, and the Urban Decay Blackmail Vice Lipstick Palette is $25.