I used to live in Australia and worked for a US clothing brand who imported stock to be sold at the various franchise stores throughout NSW. Pretty normal retail practice, however the fact that the seasons were the wrong way around caused some difficulty, not least because the winter marketing materials and signage were all festive-themed and featured snow and jingle bells – not ideal for the height of a mild aussie winter in July.
The fact that we shop in line with the weather has traditionally made a lot of sense. However it’s beginning to feel dated, if you decide to book a winter sun holiday in January it’ll be a struggle to find a matching bikini in the mis-matched, last-season offerings in high street stores. Similarly, gym gear such as swimmers, goggles and flip flops are hard to track down in colder months. It doesn’t seem to mirror changing consumer needs and modern lifestyles. Retailers are hugely dependent on weather and a warmer winter or rainy summer can severely impact sales, yet who has ever gone a whole winter without a coat? I snapped mine up in the Net-a-porter summer sale as coats are expensive and I could only afford this little beaut at 50% off. I was pretty sure I’d need it sooner or later. With a rigid seasonal calendar, markdowns are huge during the off-season months and this is when to buy your timeless wardrobe investments such as a classic coat, knee boots or cashmere knits. Similarly, try and pretend it isn’t zero degrees and get stocked up on sandals, maxi dresses and swimmers now. Agreed, choice is limited and sizes might be an issue but if you have a few favourite haunts, keep an eye on off-season sales, just don’t buy super-current pieces or items that will look dated next season (i.e. think ahead to all the candy-pink coats that will be on sale come January….)
Her are some places to browse for off-season sales:
Whistles Maxi Dress 40% off
J.Crew Oxford Stripe Bikini 50% off
REISS Eleanor Blouse 30% off