Let the sales pull you
Follow The JC on Twitter
Tulip dress by Olivia Rubin, now £50, www.oli.co.uk
Our fashion desk - in common with most of the fashion media - has been in denial about the sales. There are sound reasons for this: once we cross the threshold into a "sales" period, we are tacitly acknowledging that the current season is over. So, if we write about sales in June, we are compelled - just at the point when most of us wish to stock up on bikinis, filmy frocks and summery sandals - to stop writing about them and start showcasing autumn trends instead.
This year, as we hover between credit crunch and double-dip recession, most sales began so early that virtually every fashion page maintained the pretence that sales were not taking place. Now, however, it is mid-August, so we can stop pretending we can't see those big red sale signs. And while lots of sales have ended, many haven't - notably some independents and websites.
So, for the savvy shopper, this is the perfect time to scoop up late-summer wardrobe top-ups, pieces for winter-sun holidays and some gems for next summer.
Some of the best buys are on the sites such as Matches, Browns and Net-a-Porter's the Outnet. At Browns, a cream Bottega Veneta skirt (down to £225) and top with knot sleeve (now £155), will be wearable forever.
A knee-length silk draped skirt by Lanvin (was £960 now £580 at Browns) in hazy grey is the kind of garment that will work summer and winter, while a wrap jersey top by Norma Kamali (was £190 now £135 at Browns) is equally versatile - wear it alone in summer or under tailoring for winter.
If you are looking for great pieces to wear right now, Matches.com has lots of Diane von Furstenberg frocks in plains and prints heavily reduced, while a Dries Van Noten print tunic dress (was £955, now £575 at Browns) is a summer classic. Another pretty, wear-forever holiday frock is a Day Birger et Mikkelsen silk dress in nude and pale blue, now £98 from £238 at Matches.com.
And if you fancy yourself in a Mad Men-inspired big skirt, don't miss a red print dress at Dorothy Perkins (was £32, now £20), to which you can add a belt, a round-neck cardi, sheer stockings and petit stilettos for autumn, and wear next summer when the 1950s trend returns.
If you have dithered over peg-top trousers, Wild Swans has a gorgeous silk pair, now £76, reduced from £190.
This is also the moment to snap up some of the more fabulous summery wedges and sandals that are holiday perennials, including Louboutins at Browns and Lanvin and Camilla Skovgaard at Matches.com.