The Best Time to Buy Summer Clothes

Save Money Shopping One Season Behind

Women carrying shopping bags
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If you want to update your summer wardrobe without spending a lot of money, the best time to buy is in August and after. Stores need space to display all the new fall and winter fashions, so those summer clothes need to go. That means big discounts for savvy shoppers.

If You Can Wait, You'll Find Better Deals on Summer Clothes

Clothing stores are constantly rotating stock. Each season has signature fashions and the stores need to get rid of last season's merchandise before the new stock comes in. This means that you can find great discounts if you shop at the end of the season.

Shopping one season behind is very easy for adult clothing. We are done growing and unless we have a dramatic change in weight, we know what size of clothes we wear. Even if your diet is working, your weight loss is probably gradual enough so you can hold out for new clothes if the price is right.

Kids are a different story because they can grow rapidly. This makes it hard to predict what size they'll wear next summer. However, summer t-shirts can always be layered throughout the winter so it's not a bad idea to grab a few bargains.

That is the real trick to buying summer clothes at the end of the season: they can be more versatile than winter wear. Shirts can be layered. Running shoes don't have a season. Summer socks work just as well in fall, and many styles of pants can be worn in all seasons.

Swimwear is the exception. Swimming suits hit store shelves in late winter so they're available for spring break. Many stores will begin to mark down swimwear in early summer and very rarely does a good selection make it to clearance racks at the end of the season.

However, if it's not a swimsuit emergency, you may find a super deal on a great suit later in summer. Your size may not be available and you may need to mix and match tops and bottoms. Don't get your hopes up, but it is possible.

Where to Find the Best Deals

  • Watch the ads: As soon as you see the first back-to-school sales in the weekly flyers, head to the store to stock up on summer deals. This is your signal that clearance racks are filled with tank tops and shorts.
  • Shop the clearance racks: Some stores have a better clearance selection than others and some of the best will fill half of the sales floor with clearance clothes as the seasons change. Learn which of your local stores has the best clearance selection and frequent them at key times of the year.
  • The longer you wait, the cheaper it gets: This is the gamble you take on season-end clearance. Stores will try to make the most money they can on clearance clothing so that means you will pay more right after the markdowns. However, if you can wait just a little longer, you will find items marked down even more! Selection does become limited, but it's worth checking back after a few weeks.