December may have felt like one long shopping spree but fabulous
post-festive discounts can do funny things to people.
Even if you'd sworn off shopping until at least the new year, the lure of seeing all your favourite things reduced in price is enough to propel you back into the fray.
While the focus was on others before Christmas, the sales are the perfect time to treat yourself. So how do you plan to navigate those rails? Experts agree a measured approach is the key to success.
Take stock of your wardrobe first, advises Eve Robertson, Debenhams' PR manager Scotland: "When was the last time you did an inventory of your wardrobe? Think about what you definitely don't need. There's no point in buying another pair of skinny jeans if you don't wear the 10 pairs you already own.
"And what do you wear again and again? If it's a great black blazer, look for an updated version with a more interesting cut.
"Great coats, cashmere, evening dresses, handbags and seasonal items in classic styles are key pieces that are often heavily marked down in sales."
Look for the gaps and use the sales to stock up on essentials - not one-hit wonders that will soon lose their shine.
"Go through your wardrobe to see if you're missing any key pieces, such as a tailored blazer or a pair of boots," says Anna Eastdale, fashion adviser at John Lewis Glasgow, which is offering complimentary Survive the Sale appointments.
"Make a list of things you feel you need, so you don't splurge on impulse buys. If you've been dreaming of a great leather biker jacket, now is the time to buy one.
"Women should approach the sales with a wish list of investment pieces such as a wool-blend coat, tuxedo jacket or a pair of brogues."
It's all too easy to be seduced by the slash in price but remember - it's not a bargain if it's destined to languish, unloved, at the back of a cupboard.
Working to a list will ensure you stay on track, says Catherine Riccomini, regional PR and marketing manager for House of Fraser: "Buying items you don't need just because of a discount is false economy."
"Do your homework beforehand: swot up on new trends and pinpoint your favourite pieces online," says Lynne Butler, marketing manager at Silverburn.
"Browse retailers' websites to get an idea of what's on offer and you'll be able to head straight for what you want," says USC PR and marketing assistant, Lauren Garland.
"Before you hand over your hard-earned cash, ask yourself: if the sale price was the full price, would you still buy it? If the answer is yes, then shop 'til you drop."
MELISSA COLLINS, River Island: "When it comes to the sales, I don't think anything beats shopping online in the comfort of your own home.
"It's the only way to avoid the crowds, messy rails, queues and of course the cold weather."
EVE ROBERTSON, Debenhams: "Personal shoppers aren't just for the rich and famous. You can liaise with them in advance and get them to pre-select items based your wish list and try everything on in the comfort of the personal shopping suite."
ANNA EASTDALE, John Lewis: "Arrive early to get the best sale buys and look out for price matching offers online. Sales also offer the perfect opportunity to invest in some really great jewellery or a leather tote bag."
l Survive the Sale: Personal adviser appointments are available in John Lewis Glasgow from December 27 until January 10.
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