Hello, I’m a day early but the Hush sale has started so I thought I’d bring you my Hush sale top ten. I warn you, the sale site is a pain to go through because when you click on an item it doesn’t usually remember where you left off so you have to scroll down to find your place again. Before I go into my top picks though I thought I’d give you an update on sales in general because discounts are probably not going to be dramatic as the headlines suggest.
Retail behind the scenes
It’s clear that retail is in crisis and so last month a group of 193 leading retailers (Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Liberty, Burberry, Nordstrom to name a few) joined together to put pressure on the apparel industry as a whole to change its ways. They published an open letter to the world of fashion suggesting a reset of the retail calendar. Their proposal is to re-establish the full price A/W selling season from August to January and set S/S from February to July – as it always used to be.
You see the problem is that over the last 20 years the selling season has gradually shifted away from the actual customers’ needs. The summer sales start in May when summer hasn’t even begun. This results in empty shelves by the end of June so just as the weather warms up, winter stock is being pulled out. The same thing happens for S/S with shorts and t-shirts being delivered to retailers in December and appearing in store in January just as the cold season starts to bite.
I know you’ll all be saying ‘hallelujah’ but it’s taken until now for the industry to really stand back and look at what’s happened. Since the last recession they’ve all been chasing marketshare and they’ve done that by being discount driven to try to get a lead over their competition. Of course their competition then follows suit and so it goes on. As one retailer admitted, “the problem is the way we get ourselves into a mess – everyone tries to get ahead of everyone else. A lot of product gets wasted and you don’t have time to sell product at full price.”
As it stands a lot of A/W deliveries are running late anyway this year because of the pandemic. The factory shutdowns and a late ordering season already mean that a lot of new season product won’t arrive until August / September. What does all of this mean to us? Well the unusually hot summer is proving to be a blessing for retailers. Even though a lot of people have cancelled holiday plans, they’re still buying summer clothes. Of course there’s still an expectation from consumers that summer sales will start now and they are but what you’ll find is that only a small part of the inventory is being discounted. Given that the doors are only just re-opening, retailers are holding far more stock back in the hope that they can retrieve some margin from full priced items and keep their rails stocked until the delayed deliveries start to arrive.
Will there be a big clearance later on? It depends on the cash position of the retailer. The brands that are strong enough not to need immediate funds will pull back as much stock as possible and store it until next year. And that brings me on to style over the next few seasons which is going to be far less fashion-led and much more classic. Every retailer I talk to is taking a risk averse stance. They’re buying lower volumes and that will be good for almost everyone (maybe not the manufacturers) and the environment too. Far less clothing will be produced over the next eighteen months and retailers are being more thoughtful about what they buy, putting a focus on core capsule pieces. All of the research is showing that the customer mindset has changed and there’s a much smaller appetite for novelty and frivolity.
It’s great that retailers are dropping their guard and working together on this new approach – it’s an alliance that I’ve certainly never seen in my 30 years of working in the retail industry. I feel hopeful that a reset might actually happen if only because so many external factors have aligned, forcing brands to rethink absolutely everything they do.
And so that brings me back to today’s new summer sale at Hush. As I said the website is a bit glitchy so I’ve picked out my Hush sale top ten – I hope they’re still available when you come to this because stock is disappearing fast.
Hush sale top ten
An ecru denim jacket is a wardrobe classic for summer, wear it in place of a cardigan on cooler days for effortless chic. I always like a slightly shrunken look for denim jackets and reviews are saying this already comes up big so I’d go down two sizes if I didn’t already have one.
Another summer classic – a broderie blouse, particularly lovely worn with jeans – or shorts on a hot day like today. It’s sleeveless but the lace hides the tops of the arms.
Cream t-shirts are better for some complexions than white but they’re hard to find. This is a good quality slogan tee – the lettering is flocked and it has a flattering neckline but size down unless you like a slouchy fit.
Nobody does a shirtdress as well as Hush. They’re easy to throw on, the fabrics don’t crease and the cut is slim and flattering. This one is great if you look good in black.
And you saw me in this one a few weeks ago, the colour is a lovely shade of olive.
It isn’t easy finding dresses that are comfortable enough for the garden but still good to wear when you pop to the shops. I mentioned this one with its luxe linen knit last week…
… and this is so pretty, it would work really well as a beach dress too, thrown over a bikini. It’s a bargain, size down though.
And while we’re on the subject of holidays, this boho style maxi-dress would cost a fortune at a chi-chi beachwear shop. It’s also available in yellow.
Back to British climes, I’ve been wearing this linen-blend jumper all through lockdown. It’s great with jeans and the vibrant colour gives you a lift. Size down for a neat fit.
And the last piece is another one from last week’s post, this lovely summer scarf, perfect for the evenings we’ll be spending outside this summer.
Don’t forget that from next week I’ll be reducing my posting frequency to once a week which will enable me to cut costs at a time when people tend to read less often anyway. From the beginning of September I’ll go back to twice weekly posts and I’ll pop up more regularly on Instagram in the meantime so we can stay in touch there @midlifechic. Please keep reading the blog though – I’ll do my best to make the weekly posts good ones and I’ll be grateful for comments. I’m a bit behind at the moment but I’ll be able to catch up next week and of course it will be far easier to keep up with everything over the next two months. Have a good weekend and I’ll be back with a longer post next Friday.
Disclosure: ‘Hush sale top ten & retail behind the scenes’ is not a sponsored post
Sales worth visiting
John Lewis & Partners Clearance Hub here
Cos sale – everything 50% off here
Jigsaw sale up to 50% off here
Recent lockdown posts you may have missed
What I’ve been wearing and learning the lessons of lockdown
Chic heatwave dresses and good sale buys
How midlifers are feeling as we come out of lockdown
The zeitgeist and what to wear for the weekend
How is it for you? – and a catch up
Midlife matters and the return to ‘normal’
The future of retail after Covid-19
How to celebrate under lockdown
Cornucopia – beauty, books and weekend ideas
Quarantine – as the days roll on what I’ve been wearing
Working from home chic – new ideas
Lockdown Diaries week 5 and a prize for kindness
Pandemic diaries, reflections and new retail drops
Trying on pieces for summer at home
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