There are always sure signs that Summer is here aren’t there? The build up to Wimbledon, strawberries starting to taste as they should, pea pods in the shops… and the start of the sales. This year they should be interesting because the world of retail has continued to be turned upside down by Covid; some categories such as garden furniture and packable jackets have sold out whereas others have a surplus of stock so it’s going to  be a bit of an Aladdin’s cave when you venture in. As such, it’s worth having a plan before you start so that you don’t end up dreading the deliveries of things you neither need nor want – even though they seemed like such a good idea when you were caught up in the hunt for a bargain.

This year I’m going to try to be laser sharp in the way I approach the sales because there will be so many offers that I know I’ll quickly lose steam if I don’t have a plan. I’m looking for the following:

  • Gap fillers. Pieces that I know are missing from my wardrobe such as another pair of low heeled sandals – I’m wearing my orange ones constantly and I’d like to have a pair that I could alternate them with, ideally in a neutral colour. I’ll also be reviewing my holiday bag because if Autumn/Winter getaways do happen, it’ll be very difficult to shop for them off season. Swimwear in particular has been a slow seller for a lot of retailers this Summer so there should be some really good offers, it’s a great time to stock up on high quality, supportive bikinis and one pieces.
  • Small treats. I’ll be keeping an eye open for things I wouldn’t usually buy for myself – I’d like a new magnifying mirror for my make-up bag and I need some new glasses cases. Little thing like that will be on my radar.
  • Christmas gifts… I’m afraid so. I’ve never been an early Christmas shopper but I’ve had a preview of some of the sales and seen that things like fragrance giftsets left over from last year are now being marked down significantly so I’ll be buying them for the boys and other members of the family.

So, I’ll be looking around selectively and as as I’ve said many times before, I always try to apply this three pronged sense-check to my basket whenever I shop and particularly during the sales:

  • Do I need it?
  • Can I afford it?
  • And if it’s an item of clothing – can I instantly think of at least five outfits that I can pull together from this piece?

With all of that in mind, today I’m working specifically with John Lewis & Partners, bringing you an edit of the things I think you might like from their Summer sale which is now live. Some of you will be thinking ‘but surely JL&P don’t have a sale – they just do a quiet clearance?’ And yes this is a change of direction, as their new strategy rolls out they’re now running proper seasonal sales which, in my opinion, is great. They’ve always been my starting point at this time of year because their sale hub has always been a good place to go to see which brands have kicked off their markdowns without having to trawl the whole high street. And this in itself is set to get better as JL have announced that they’ll be adding over a hundred new brands over the next year that will appear online only so it will become an even better resource. They’re using it as a way to build on areas that many of you have been crying out for such as plus sizes for women and men and I can imagine that it will be an insightful testbed for them as they decide how to plan their stores over the next few years.

Shopping the Summer Sales – What To Look Out For

Back to the sale though, it’s just gone live and I’ve pulled out some of the most interesting offers. I haven’t had a preview of them all though so obviously there will be lots more on the website for you to browse through – the best place to start is the sale hub here. So let’s go through a few different departments and I’ll show you what I’ve found.

Shopping the Summer Sales – Womenswear


The sale that has me particularly excited is the one in the handbag department. As you know I love good quality bags and I’m always more interested in the leather than the label but I do really like Coach. The reason for this is the leather that they use – it’s pebbled which means it wears and lasts particularly well. The bags are always well constructed with lots of pockets at the size you need them so you don’t end up fumbling around and ‘knitting string vests’ (as my grandma used to say when she saw women rummaging in their bags). As a thank you for writing this post I was invited to choose one thing and this is what I went for, I’ve needed a navy bag for meetings for ages and this is just a pleasure to use. I love the structure, it has great pockets including a large central one for my iPad along with smaller ones that are big enough for my oversized phone and the structure of it makes me feel very ‘New York.’

We were heading to a meeting with our accountant to go through the tax returns that he’s just completed for y/e March 21 when we took this photo. I always wear sartorial armour when I’m going to be dealing with numbers and this bag felt like my shield (which I needed to face the reality of a year of lockdown trading!) It’s exactly the sort of bargain that falls into my categories – both treats and wardrobe gaps, plus it will work with endless outfits. By the way the black or oxblood versions are even better value.

Carryall tote bag (gifted SS21); Broderie blouse; Me&Em Trousers (SS18); Boden slingbacks SS19

Carryall tote bag (gifted SS21)

If you don’t need a bag as big as this one, smaller handbags are included in the sale too. This is more of a relaxed style and again the oxblood is even better value than the navy. Never forget how useful oxblood is for lifting strong navy, grey or black outfits in Winter, it provides a small pop of colour and yet is subtle enough to work as a neutral.

Best sale buys summer 2021

Coach soft shoulder bag

If you prefer a bag with more structure there’s this one in black which has 50% off for as long as stocks last.

best sale bargains summer 2021

Small tote bag

And there are lots of other amazing offers on Coach here.

If you’re looking for something more low key and casual in the sale, this is great for Summer. The leather straps help it to feel more premium than your average straw basket and make it more comfortable to carry too.

best designer handbag sale 2021

Straw shopper with leather handles

On a smaller scale there’s this crossbody for a spot of casual Summer chic.

Shopping the Summer Sales

Straw crossbody

Shoes and boots

Moving onto footwear, this is where you can be smart and find off season bargains such as these classic riding boots which are available in all sizes and reduced to clear, they’re the same price in tan too.

Shopping the Summer Sales

Classic riding boots

For a more trend led option these are half price with all sizes available as I type.

Shopping the Summer Sales

Square toed boots

My favourite party boots are reduced to clear although there are only a few sizes left

best sale buys 2021

Gold party boots

There are all sizes in these shoe boots and they’re less than half price

best sale bargains 2021

Silver shoe boots

If casual’s more your thing there are Converse…

Shopping the Summer Sales

Converse high tops

… or these fabulous Golas that have been re-worked from the archives in a Liberty print.

Shopping the Summer Sales

Liberty print Gola classics

Sandals now and these would work with everything, nodding to the 70s vibe without being too retro.

Shopping the Summer Sales

Tan suede wedges

Bang on trend now, these flatforms come in black, natural or a khaki mix…

john lewis sale summer 2021

Flatform sandals

… or you could go for minimal, pared down loafers like these.

best shoe sale summer 2021

Minimal leather loafers

Find all footwear offers here.


There are so many good offers in general clothing that we’d be here all day if I took you through them, you can find them all here though. I do want to pull out this lingerie though because it’s something I always look for in the sale and Modern Rarity has some of the prettiest for special occasions:

best lingerie sale summer 2021

Modern Rarity lingerie

If you’re looking for something more everyday, this is a great option for a nude t-shirt bra and it’s reduced to clear, available in all sizes along with the lace backed, no VPL knickers. In fact all of the John Lewis & Partners own brand lingerie is absolutely excellent, I’m surprised more noise isn’t made about it.

best lingerie offers summer 2021

Nude t-shirt bra, knickers (also available in black or white)

You can see all womenswear offers here

Shopping the Summer Sales – Menswear

Moving on to menswear quickly, a great suit here, I’d be snapping this up if I still had a sixth former to buy for (or a husband who ever wore suits).

best menswear sale summer 2021

Wool Check Slim Fit Jacket; Trousers

T-shirts with simple graphics like this are in the sale

Shopping the Summer Sales

Graphic white tee

And this men’s mac is a good, chic buy

best menswear offers 2021

Water resistant mac

You can see all menswear offers here

Shopping the Summer Sales – Home

There are some great offers on simple, stylish glassware. These are crystal but they’re still dishwasher safe and they’re available in red or white wine size

best sale bargains summer 2021

Red wine glasses, white wine glasses

If you’re more of a gin fan there are offers on balloon glasses too, a classic shape here:

Shopping the Summer Sales

Classic gin glasses (set of six)

Or more contemporary here:

john lewis sale best bargains summer 2021

Modern gin copas (set of four)

There are crystal tumblers too which I’d probably use for water at the dinner table more than whisky

john lewis sale best buys summer 2021

Crystal tumblers

Some of the pieces we bought for the apartment are reduced to clear (she says through gritted teeth)

Shopping the Summer Sales

Arc lamp

john lewis best furniture offers 2021

Conic floor lamp

And the ladder shelves – life’s not fair is it?

best furniture offers john lewis summer sale

Slim ladder shelves

And this smaller version of the media unit we have, great for a tighter space, is also being cleared.

john lewis sale furniture bargains

Media unit, also available in grey

You can see all of the home and garden offers here.

Shopping the Summer Sales – Christmas shopping ideas?

I’m sorry to do this but I do think it’s worth looking ahead a little this year and taking advantage of some of these opportunities. There are lots of childrenswear offers – my boys would have loved this dinosaur dressing gown:

Shopping the Summer Sales

Dinosaur robe

And how about the cat’s pyjamas…

Shopping the Summer Sales

Cat’s pyjamas – pair

See all childrenswear offers here

And finishing with some of the fragrance gift ideas I mentioned, Acqua di Parma always goes down well (now reduced to clear)

Shopping the Summer Sales

Acqua di Parma fig giftset

See all giftset offers here

If you’re quick, other areas that are worth looking at with Christmas gifting in mind include the home fragrance sale, the food and alcohol gift sale (including gin and chocolate!) and the games and puzzles sale – I can imagine these are going to disappear fast though.

So with that I’ll leave you to peruse the site, you’ll find everything in the sale hub here.  I’ll be back next Friday, probably with more outfits and a catch up, until then have a lovely weekend and happy shopping.

Disclosure: ‘Shopping the Summer Sales’ was commissioned by John Lewis & Partners but all sale picks are my own

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