Austerity, quality, style and the sales… how to bag a the right kind of bargain

The press – and last week’s UK budget announcement – are full of warnings about how tough things are going to get financially in the coming years.  Economists are making comparisons with post-war austerity as we need to pay back huge debts incurred over the past few years.

I’m not – as you’re probably aware – an economist.

But if we’re drawing parallels with a previous era when people worried about the cost of things, then there are some lessons for building your wardrobe too.

The first is that, when people spend they will seek out quality and value for money.  They look for clothes that will last.


 This means both that the clothes are well made and won’t fall apart after a season; and that they will not date quickly.

As a result brand labels and fashion become less important in purchase decisions and style becomes more important.

In this environment the trick is to find clothes that look modern now, but keep their modernity for years as part of your own personal style rather than slavishly following fashions.

Usually that means understanding what quality looks like and then buying, in smaller amounts, the best you can afford.


I hope, if you’ve been reading this blog, you will already be doing this. The right response to the current economic climate, even if your budget is smaller, is to continue doing it.  Buying the best quality you can afford is still the best value for money.

The second impact of the economic situation is that there is much greater competition for jobs, so it’s even more important for women to recognise that they need to look good and feel confident at all times.

With the Summer sales coming up, now is a good time to start shopping wisely and pick up the wardrobe basics.  Make sure you use same criteria as if you were buying full price. Don’t just buy something because it’s reduced.  And remember when sale shopping that shops are under pressure to make space for the new season, so don’t allow yourself to be sold clothes that don’t suit or don’t fit. You should expect the same services in sale time as in non-sale time.


This is especially important for the coming sales as good quality clothes have sold extremely well this season.  To get quality bargains it’s worth trying to get there on the first day, so give your favourite shop(s) a call to see when their sales start.

The Wardrobe sale starts this Thursday at 8am. Early bird and all that.