New Year Discounts

Between buying presents for others and, if you are like me, buying a few for yourself along the way, the holidays have left us strapped for cash. But, hopefully, like any smart, thrifty shopper would do, you've put some extra dollars away in anticipation of the January bargains.

That's right, this is a great time of year to go shopping. Retailers coax shoppers back from the holiday blitz by slashing prices. Just like the end-of-summer sales, seeing all of the red lines can be dizzying, and may blur your usually savvy shopping eye.

Here are a few tips to help keep you on track as you trek through the aisles:

1. Stock up on items that will have longevity in your wardrobe: The best articles to buy are, of course, those seasonal pieces that you won't be able to find until next winter.

2. Look for classic coats in wool and cashmere, down-filled parkas and leather jackets, all of which will likely be up to 75 percent off.

3. Stock up on winter hats, gloves and scarves, also in wool and cashmere.

4. It's the perfect time to break down and buy that designer pair of heels you've been eyeing all season: Department and boutique shoe stores will drastically reduce their entire stock of boots and a good portion of their fall/winter shoes. With prices up to 80 percent off, how can you resist?

5. Sweaters are a fantastic value during the end of season sales. Cashmere won't get any cheaper than this.

6. Didn't find the perfect New Year's dress to ring in 2004? Find the deal of the year on cocktail and formal wear.

Finally, if you're an extremely overeager shopper and can't bear to give up some of these unbelievable bargains, end of season sales are a great opportunity to get a jumpstart on next Christmas.

If you have a tip or have noticed a trend you think our resident fashionista should know about, e-mail your comments to product@creativeloafing.com.