- The easiest trick is to put your items on hold instead of buying them immediately. If you are on the fence about something this gives you the space to think about it without the worry about it being sold while you ponder. While you do the rest of your shopping you'll realize fairly quickly if it is something you really do want; if you are thinking about it throughout the day then you go for it, but if you have to remind yourself what it is, then leave it.
- If you go in looking for something specific, you will likely be disappointed. Summer specific pieces that defy trends (such as seersucker shorts or white denim) often sell through earlier in the season so if it is your mission to find a pair, be prepared to do your research online. Most stores have a "find in store" option on their website and many even allow you to hold an item via the website. Since these items are out of season now, if they are still available be prepared to pick through the sale racks to find your size.
- Use the low prices to stock on basics like tees and tanks or for transitional pieces such as short sleeve oxfords and pencil skirts. If you are trying to stock up on summer pieces for 2014, skip the trendy pieces since you don't know what will be in style next year. I would avoid peplum tops, high-low skirts, and printed denim.
- If you wouldn't normally wear it, then no matter how low the price is, it is not a good deal. If it's not your size, then don't try to "make it work" just because it is cheap. It's not a competition to get the most clothes at the cheapest price. It is better to spend more money on fewer items that make you look and feel great than to clog up your closet with pieces you don't wear.
- If you were happy with your summer wardrobe this year then avoid the sales altogether. Fall clothes are generally more expensive since the fabrics are heavier so there is no point on blowing your clothing budget on pieces for next year. There will be more clothes for sale next summer (I promise!) and you might like them even better than the leftovers in the sale section now.
Summer is pretty much over in the retail world although most places have at least another month of warm weather. It can be tempting to go wild in the sale section but since summer pieces are often the least versatile and transitional, it is important to be a discerning shopper.