An under-buyer who hates shopping tries to talk herself into buying ahead for next year

An under-buyer who hates shopping tries to talk herself into buying ahead for next year

When it comes to clothes shopping, I believe in buying ahead, and this is the time to do it. Fall fashions started hitting the stores in July (which always seems crazy) but the deep summer discounts don’t start till August. You can snag some incredible deals this month if you’re prepared to buy ahead for next year.

However, I have a really hard time buying ahead for myself.

First of all, I really hate shopping.

I’m also an under-buyer. I have a hard time pulling the trigger on stuff I need right now, let alone stuff I won’t need for months and months.

Finally, I’m wary of buying things that may or may not be in style next year. I’ve gotten lucky before: I still occasionally wear the dress I wore to our rehearsal dinner thirteen years ago. (An Ann Taylor slip dress in navy raw silk.) But that kind of staying power is rare: I’ve gotten rid of dozens of dresses in the interim that haven’t lasted more than a few seasons.

Despite my hang-ups, some things are absolutely worth buying ahead. Especially in August.

These are the things I’m trying to talk myself into buying now, for later:


1. Shoes

Good shoes are expensive, and the best brands rarely go on sale. I’m still kicking myself for not buying Born boots I stumbled upon on 6pm last spring. But they were $80, and I really didn’t want to spend $80 on boots in April, since I wouldn’t be able to wear them for 6 months. Even if they were marked down from $200 and would last for years.

Shoe shopping is always tough for me, because I have huge feet and very few brands work. But Born is one of them, and I should have snatched those boots when I add the chance. I spend to my weakness when it comes to shoes, but that’s a lot less expensive at end-of-season sale prices. Now it’s almost fall, my old boots are shot, and I won’t be able to find any new boots that cheap until next spring.

It’s too late for boots, But sandal prices are incredible right now, even on the higher-end brands. I adore Kork-Ease sandals but shudder at the price tag, but right now 6pm has them marked way down. I’ll be able to wear them for a couple of months and they’ll still be fresh for spring. That’s worth doing, even for me.

2. Swimwear


Swimsuit shopping is no fun (even if buying swimwear online is a little less paintful). But it’s less emotionally taxing when I’m paying clearance prices instead of full fare. I don’t need a swimsuit till spring, and buying swimwear ahead is low-risk because swim styles don’t change nearly as much from season to season as clothing styles do. And it’s a little gift to myself, to enter spring knowing I don’t need to embark upon the dreaded swimsuit shopping expedition. I’m also planning on snatching up one of these cute rash guards when the price is right.

3. Summer accessories.


A good panama hat, a cute cover-up, a nice pair of shades aren’t going out of style, and you’ll be glad you have them come spring. And don’t forget the flip-flops.

4. Staples.

For me, this means stocking up on basic tees and tanks, seriously marked down.

5. Anything you love.

If you stumble upon something you love and are excited about the prospect of wearing it next spring, buy it. Especially if you hate shopping, especially if you’re an under-buyer. (For those of you who tend to over-buy, nevermind.)

Do you buy ahead at the summer sales? Why or why not?

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22 comments | Comment


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  1. Kimberly says:

    I wouldn’t completely write off finding a discount on boots right now. 6PM had several Born boots on sale for around $80-$90 when I checked their site this morning!

  2. Angie says:

    I wish I was an under-buyer, but I’m not, especially with clothes. I looooove to shop for clothes, and try and control myself. I especially love shopping during the major sales, because after working in several clothing stores during college, I just can’t stomach paying full price. Do you have a Dillards in your area? They have fantastic sales at end of the season–swimsuits are 65% off right now, and a small amount of shoes are too. The last wedesday-sunday of every month they do an extra % off, usually 30%. August is the best time to grab shoes–there won’t be much selection by the end of sept. Have you ever tried Keens? I have really big wide feet, and I absolutely adore them. They’re not dressy, but walking/hiking with my boys outdoors, they are sooooo comfortable.

  3. I need to get better at shopping the seasonal sales. I tend to do a big shopping trip when my kids need new clothes each season and I end up either having to pay full price or only finding half of what I needed. I’m always anxious to buy kids clothes ahead of time because I never know what size my boys will be the next year. At least where we live it’s at least another two months before real fall weather sets in and we can still use the summer stuff that’s on sale now!

  4. Corrie Anne says:

    I’m not really an under-buyer, but I’m not great at stocking up either. I love to buy brand new stuff for the seasons. Bad!!!

    Also, I LOVE the Practice Perfect book! Got it from the library!! So thankful I read about it here. My students are going to love it too. A lot of them play sports as well! As I read it, it’s also been reminding me of my experiences learning new things in CrossFit lately.

  5. Tim says:

    At first I thought you said you were a troubled underwear buyer and I couldn’t understand why. I mean for me it’s a matter of going to Target or the Jockey outlet and getting boxers 3 to a pack.

    But then I thought, Why do they come 3 to a pack? After all, there’re 7 days to a week, so if you want a week’s worth of underwear you need to buy 3 packs and then you have too much underwear on your hands … or hips. And now I find that I am a troubled underwear buyer too.

    Troubled (but with plenty of underwear),

  6. I’m totally an underbuyer too. I just went on a time-filling Target run last night (my husband and sons were picking out fish at the pet store) and I only spent $37.69. I just didn’t want stuff.

  7. melyssa says:

    I’m mourning those Born boots with ya, sister! I lucked into two pairs of Born sandals at a Goodwill last year, and they are like clouds for my feet. Clouds with arch support!

    But, yes, I’m awful at buying ahead. I hate pulling the trigger on things I need now, as well, but spending money immediately for something I (or the kids) can’t wear for six months? So hard to justify even when my common sense is screaming, BUY THREE!

    Any deals on Ts and tanks right now? I have a hard time finding the perfect Ts.

  8. Sara says:

    I, too, am an underbuyer and can count on one hand the number of times I’ve purchased ahead for myself. Once it was a pair of knee-high black boots from Duo toward the end of winter. A few weeks ago I was shopping at Talbots for my Mom’s July birthday and happened to see a thick-but-fitted 3/4-length black sweater that will be in style for a long time. $30 instead of $90k–yes, please. Now that I think about it, all of my very few “buy aheads” have fallen into your Category #5. Definitely have to be better about this!

  9. Breanne says:

    I have just been thinking about this! Great timing and I agree with you especially in the shoe department. Cute, comfortable and well-fitting shoes are always in style and I will not pay top dollar for them. I scored some great boots in the spring this year and they will last for years.
    Great tips on summer accessories, I never thought of buying shades or hats now.

    • Anne says:

      Yep, the spring is a great time to buy boots. 🙂 I just wish I’d gotten mine!

      Btw I loved seeing you on Simple Bites yesterday! I was swooning over all the gorgeous photos–it’s so beautiful up there. Maybe one day I’ll get to see it in person. 🙂

      • Breanne says:

        I had watched the boots all winter and made do with my ancient ones so that I could score these ones. Hope you get some too, those $80 Born ones sound amazing.

        It was super fun meeting up with Aimee, if you do find yourself up here, it’d be great to meet you!!

  10. Jillian Kay says:

    I try to strike a nice balance between over buying and under buying. I love having things like water shoes and bathing suits all picked out before the next summer starts. But then there’s my mom who goes way overboard and will buy 5-10 of the same item just because it’s on clearance. There’s no nice way to tell her to stop buying clothes for my kids.

    I used to keep a spreadsheet with all of the kids clothes I bought ahead. I got it here:

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