I’ve been wearing the same winter coats for several seasons. Of course, I’m in Los Angeles, so there’s no snow or sleet and barely any rain to wear them down. If you need to replace your winter coats every few years, it’s tempting to do it at the start of the season when you’re looking at your coat and thinking, “Wow, this is ugly.” Instead, you should buy your coats in late winter/early spring when they’re on clearance. Here are a few tips for finding the best coats at a bargain.
Shop in Stores and Online
You can check the major websites for clearance sales for winter coats and other apparel, however you might find better deals by going into a store. While a warehouse can hold onto those coats longer, Macy’s only has so much room in the store. They need to move that merchandise out, which motivates them to make deeper cuts.
Look for Sales in Newspaper and Online
The best place to find winter coat sales is to check the ads in the Sunday paper. That’s where they announce the really big sales. If you join the stores e-newsletter, you’ll also receive advance notice and possibly a discount. If you have their credit card, more discounts and advance sales may be in the offing.
Visit the Outlet Stores for Deals on Winter Coats in May
Outlet stores were originally created as a place where manufacturers could send their unsold merchandise and factory seconds to move it at rock-bottom prices. Although some goods are created for outlet stores now, you can still find deals once products have moved out of the stores unsold. Winter coats may arrive at the start of spring or the start of summer, depending on the manufacturer.
Buy Classic Styles
If you plan to wear this coat for more than one season, or are buying it at the end of a season, look for classic cuts and colors. This year’s hot color may be out-of-date in nine months, but black, brown, and navy blue are always in style. Pea coats and similar classic styles will also hold up well.
With prices marked down, you can look for high-quality winter coats that are thick, warm, and made of durable fabrics like wool. Also look for a polyester lining with tight stitching along the seams.
Buy a Size Up for Kids
Children are tough to shop for ahead of time because they grow so fast. If your child has reached a stage where he or she is growing more slowly, then buy a size up so the coat will still fit the next winter. If you have a young child, shop for winter coats in season at places like Old Navy where kids clothes are cheap or look for hand-me-down from friends and consignment sales.
Store the Coats Properly
Once you get the coats home, hang them in the closet right away. You don’t want to leave them in plastic because that actually invites degradation. Instead, cover them in tissue or just let them hang freely. If you have air-tight storage, put them in the bin with a few cedar balls to ward off moths.
A good winter coat should last more than one season, so it’s worth paying a little more to get good quality. But that doesn’t mean you should pay full price – watch for sales and time your shopping to get the best deal on clothes that will last a long time if you want to save money over the long term. Visit my older post on discount clothes for even more money-saving tips.