The best time to shop in Spring and Summer is earlier in the season. That’s when the best merchandise hits the floors and when the styles are dressier and more covered. 

Spring and Summer merchandise hits retail stores from February onwards in the Northern hemisphere. There’s a steady flow of new merchandise until about the beginning of May, and then things taper off quite drastically until Fall merchandise begins trickling in at the end of August. That’s because retailers want their merchandise to sell through before end-of-season sales. As a result, fashion buyers do NOT leave the best for last. On the contrary. They’ll put the best merchandise in at the beginning and in the middle of the season so that it’s on the shop floor or visible online for a longer length of time. 

The offerings in the first three to four months of a Spring and Summer retail season are dressier and more covered. Fabrications are substantial, tops and dresses have sleeves, and dresses and skirts are longer. You’ll find a much larger assortment of toppers across all sorts of weights and styles, and lots of dressier options for office settings and formal events. By the time June rolls around, the toppers are gone and things start looking very “beachy”. Merchandise is skimpy and fabrications are flimsy. It’s an ultra casual shorts and T-shirts fest, and you can kiss your best chances of acquiring business casual, smart casual, and covered clothing goodbye. And don’t think you can get great swimwear either. The best time to shop for swimwear is February and March. 

I know it’s hard to think of Spring and Summer wardrobe refreshers when it’s cold and possibly snowing in your neck of the woods. But chances are high that you won’t find what you’re looking for by the time you’re in the mood to go warm weather shopping in June and July. The pickings will be slim, and you’ll be left with the impression that the season’s fashion is awful, when it was actually your timing that was a little off. That’s why most of my clients shop with me for warm weather top-ups from February till the first week of May. And why I do the bulk of my seasonal shopping by April. 

It can be frustrating to purchase items that you can’t wear right away, but the upside is that you added the right pieces to your wardrobe, and aren’t settling for what’s left or on sale.