Top things to snap up in the January sales
Put down that sequinned dress. I know it's only £15, but when are you going to wear it? Unless you're snapping up a last-minute New Year's Eve outfit, resist the temptation to buy half a dozen party dresses and nab yourself something a bit more useful in the January sales this year! It's a great time to invest in beautiful basics, stock up on the things you wear a lot and finally buy the bits you've been eying up since October. But it's not a time for frivolous purchases that you'll never actually wear. Think about it - it's only cheap if you were going to buy it anyway...
A beautiful bag
This is the one time of year that the handbag of your dreams might just come into your price range, so take advantage and rather than buying lots of tat in the sales, consider one investment piece. There's nothing like a gorgeous handbag for dressing up an otherwise basic outfit, and don't underestimate the power of toting a little bit of Marc Jacobs with your Primark dress - there's something very cool about mixing designer and high street, and a good bag will never go out of style.
A great pair of boots
We still have a good three months of cold weather to get through, so if you still don't have a pair of boots to see you through, now is the time to grab a pair. Whether you're a bit of a fashionista who loves a pair of heeled ankle boots to more of a classic dresser who can't live without some timeless knee-high boots, you'll have no trouble finding what you want. Try to consider practicality a little bit to get the most for your money; look for good quality soles with decent grip, go for a classic colour (black, brown, tan or grey) that goes with a lot, buy the best leather you can afford, and pick a heel height you can wear all day without crippling yourself!
Ridiculously cheap 'wardrobe glue'
(Beige strip ponti tube skirt £12 (was £22) River Island, Grey skinny jeans £20 (was £38) Oasis, Contrast edge vest top £7 (was £14.99) New Look, Raspberry oversize v-neck jumper £5 (was £10) Matalan)
'Wardrobe glue' is a term coined by a former editor, and refers to all the little bits and bobs that make outfits work. These are the little gems you'll buy because they're cheap, but end up wearing all the time. Former finds of mine include a chocolate brown pinstripe boyfriend blazer from River Island (£5), a stretchy aztec print mini skirt from Forever 21 (£6) and a black shrug from Walis (£8). Above are a few finds from the sales this season - these items don't necessarily have to be boring basics, they just fit perfectly into your current wardrobe, helping to make new looks with old favourites.
A sewing machine
Ok, so it's hardly the most glamourous purchase, but invest in one of these and not only will you make your clothes go further (you can fix, customise and recreate them) but you'll also be preserving a skill that's quickly being lost thanks to fast fashion and the feeling that sewing is somehow 'outdated'. As far as I'm concerned that's a load of rubbish. Find the right patterns and you can make some amazing stuff. Being able to sew is a brilliant skill to have and it's a lot easier than you think (the hardest bit is learning how to thread the needle and load the bobbin). If you don't sew already, make a new year's resultion to start in 2012 and you'll be amazed how quickly you'll be knocking up amazing frocks.