Most unassuming shoppers buy something when they need it—swimsuits in the spring, sweaters just weeks before fall proper, sandals two months after they’ve actually hit stores—because most assuming shoppers want to *wear* said things just after they’re bought. But if you’ve ever gone to a brick-and-mortar Victoria’s Secret for a bikini in the middle of January, or sorted through racks full of winter coats in the middle of July, you know that shopping out of season is possible—but not everywhere.
Fueled by the backwards fashion calendar (fall clothing is showing at Fashion Week, well, right now), and turned upside-down with the implementation of See Now Buy Now, many retail stores have been switching up the way they stock seasonal clothing. Still, even though buying summer clothes in the winter isn’t always easy—for one, you might feel suckered into spending a ton of money on things you won’t wear for at least a few months and therefore can’t return, or they might be totally out of style by then—sometimes, it’s a great way to get ahead of trends. NYC-based stylist Rachel Besser almost recommends it:
“The newest crop of clothes is a trend cheat sheet—you get to take note of the up-and-coming styles without feeling the pressure to buy something new immediately,” she told me. “After some research, you’ll notice trends that have short lifespans, and the trends that are here to stay.”
Think about when the off-the-shoulder trend started in the fall and bled into the summer of 2016; or all those O-ring pieces that slowly cropped up in every store last fall but has come back with a vengeance for the spring. If you need some extra help trend-spotting, Besser recommends searching through the “what’s new” tab at high-end department stores and boutiques like Barneys, Saks, Farfetch, or Net-A-Porter. “
“With all the brands available, you’re able to get a pulse on what trends are up and coming for spring, and what trends from last spring are here to stay,” Besser says. “After doing some research at your favorite department stores, take a peek at some of your other favorite stores and brands. Often times you can find similar styles that you like even better, sometimes at a lower price point.”
Now, that means looking forward to metallic detailing, updated oxford shirts, corsets, tie-up sleeves, and ruffled everything for the coming months. And sure, if you’re really in a pinch for out-of-season clothing—if you’re going on vacation, perhaps—you could head to a thrift store or vintage shop that won’t swap out their entire swath of inventory every three weeks. But unless you’re a person who loves the hunt, you’ll like end up frustrated or saddled with something you’ll wear once. Instead, look to brands that keep similar, all-season inventory year-round like Everlane, ADAY, or AYR.
The best advice for shopping out of season? “Buy things you’re obsessed with. Stay away from trendy pieces you think you should have, especially because of the on-sale price tag. If you’re already wondering how much you’ll wear it, there’s a high probability you won’t when it’s time to actually put it on.”
Ahead, 15 technically-out-of-season pieces to shop now.