To Buy Or Not To Buy

December 26, 1991|By Susanne Trowbridge

Sometimes, being a savvy shopper means knowing when to pay full price for an item.

If you see a great blazer in your size, should you buy it now or wait for a markdown? Obviously, if it's way out of your price range, you may not have a choice. But if you can afford it, you might be better off buying it right away.

It used to be that when sale time rolled around, the size 8's and 10's would be long gone and the racks would be filled with lots of tiny and larger-sized items. Today, that's probably not the case, according to Glamour senior editor Joanne Mattera.

"Store buyers are simply not buying as large a range of sizes," says Ms. Mattera. "They have a curve that they buy on based on the percentage of women who are twos, fours, sixes, eights and so forth. They're likely to still continue buying for that middle range of sizes, but the size twos may end up suffering, the size 14's or 16's may end up suffering, because they may only buy one of each ofthose styles, if at all. So for people who are hard to fit sizes, or if your proportions make shopping difficult for you, you're better off not waiting for the sales. A limited choice for you will become even more limited."

The season's hottest styles -- stirrup pants, poorboy sweaters, pleated skirts -- may also be difficult to find on sale, particularly if you're shopping in a specialty store or boutique. If these popular items sell out, they may not be reordered, so there won't be any left to put on the sale racks.

And, yes, some basic things hardly ever go on sale. "We have certain things that we consider basics," says Tony Barbato, Hamburgers' vice president of merchandising for menswear, citing white pinpoint oxfords, classic belts and blue blazers that the store stocks year-round.

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