It's January and Madames Jane and Beryl are taking a day off from picking embedded pine-needles out of the carpet and have hit John Lewis in Southampton to see what their lovely sales have to offer. Beryl is like a child on the Sunday school outing, hopelessly overexcited and therefore prone to gorge on cut-price clothing. Jane may need to reign her in: mindful shopping, perhaps? We'll see. Here are Jane and Beryl's Sales Dos and Don'ts... 

Do make grown-up investment buys

If one thing emerged from 2018 it was that as a nation we need to buy less and buy better. Up to 300,000 tons of fashion waste goes into landfill each year. With this firmly in mind Beryl and Jane are looking for figure-flattering quality items which have a good chance at some longevity in their respective wardrobes. Coats, boots and handbags spring to mind.  

Coat Alice Temperley £85 reduced from £220
First Beryl tries on a coat from Somerset by Alice Temperley, which was reduced to a bargainous £85 from £220. Beautifully cut, with tuxedo-like reveres, it was discarded on the grounds that it was black and the tux thing makes our shoppers think of evening wear. 'Are you needing a new funeral coat?' Jane asked which, let's face it, is the death-knell for any garment.

Do serial buy

Seasalt brogues marked down from £75 to £29

Yes, do use the sales to top up on things you absolutely know work for you. This is Beryl's third pair of Seasalt brogues or her 'going up to town shoes' as she likes to call them. Leather with rubber soles, they are super comfy on her tiny webbed, gnarled flippers and spookily really fashionable to boot.

Don't rush in where angels fear etc etc...

Max Studio coat, £115 reduced from £230  
Hardly through the door and Jane espies this Max Studio coat at half price down from £230 to £115, and flings it on her back. She likes it a lot, but puts it back on the grounds that it's only 10.30am and she may not still love it by lunch: besides, there are two in her size, so time to consider...
(PS she bought it).

Do shop for pieces you have had 
your (glad) eye on

Jaeger coat £220, reduced from £320
Beryl had previously ogled this Jaeger coat but balked at it's £320  price tag. It is a fantastic colour and has great proportions on our height challenged little friend. Its lack of extraneous detail and its good quality fabric suggest that it should have some wardrobe staying power.

Don't buy it just because it's cheap (usually)

Jumpsuit, Alice Temperley, £36 reduced from £120 

Jane and Beryl have always had a soft spot for Somerset by Alice Temperley and have had some notable successes with her kit, so no wonder they were pleased to find that on the day they got to the sales it had all gone down by 70 per cent. Readers will also know that Jane has been searching for a jumpsuit to accommodate her long - and expanding - waist for many moons. So the deep joy of finding a good fit almost persuaded her to purchase this item. However, she screeched to a halt at the sales desk and flung it back, because although it was now £36, did she really want to to look like her great aunt Phyllis's bedroom curtains?

Top, Alice Temperley, £23 reduced from £82,
Boden Sherborne trousers £60 reduced£120 (all this season 

Jane just couldn't resist the frilled floral top, however, and bought it despite Beryl's comment that she looked like Coco the Clown rather than Coco Chanel. 

Do buy conjunction items

Top Mint Velvet £25 reduced from £69 (This season)
Preloved Ghost trousers £18, Shoes £19 Zara Sale (last season)

Blazer last year's sale £119 reduced from £225, 

What is a conjunction item? they hear you cry. Well, it's that useful top or scarf that makes sense of other things you have bought, and pulls together the outfit. Beryl has loved this blazer which she bought in last year's East sale, but ended up wearing it with a black top that deadened its rich tones. This silk fronted Mint Velvet top picks up the jewel colours of the blazer and can be worn with her burgeoning collection of wide velvet trousers. She has purple, black and even brown and gold. 

Do look for styles for which you have long-lusted

Flares, And/Or £49.50, reduced from £99, jumper Whistles £69 reduced from £99

The sales are the moment to search out those items you have been yearning for, sometimes for years, especially if they are a tad eccentric. Jane has wanted the full 70s flares for some considerable time and suddenly here they were and at half price (£49.50) the answer to her prayers. Not only that, but they are from a make new to Jane's repertoire: And/Or (highly recommended).
PS Beryl bought the jumper.

Do shop for brands you love but which are normally too pricey...

Blouse Whistles £49.50 reduced from £99, New Look skirt £22 (this season)
 Both Jane and Beryl have had many lovely things from Whistles and Beryl in particular likes to keep a weather eye on the sale. She had tried on this little cream shirt with its neckline frill before, but again like a pony at Horse of The Year Show, had 4 points for a refusal on the grounds that £99 is an indecent amount of money for a sleeveless blouse. It is not exciting exactly, but Beryl who in the past has been prone to a 'fur coat and no knickers' approach to her wardrobe, is making an effort to grow up (well, a little). 

Do buy wardrobe staples

Shirt, And/Or £34 reduced from £68

Jane is a glutton for a white shirt: she has so many she could open a shop called The White Shirt Company (or has that been done already?) However, she is very fussy about her white shirts, and only lets the very best past her strict requirements. This one has balloon shaped sleeves with very beautiful cut out detailing as well as hanging well over her jutting bosom: it will see her through many a white shirt crisis, she perceives.   

Jane and Beryl returned home confident that they had bought carefully and with restraint (is that mindfulness?): that's a first, and may never happen again...
Next Week: Jane and Beryl get to grips with dressing their chubby bits 

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