Fashion fans are being lured to the shops with some of the best summer sales in years - from major discounts on designer goodies at Brown Thomas to purse-friendly lingerie at Arnotts - we give you the low down on how to bag the best bargains.

Reduction signs are springing up left, right and centre on every high street in Ireland as businesses try to persuade shoppers to part with their cash – and there’s never been a better time to shop because right now the shops are swimming in cut-price fashion. It seems a combination of the credit crunch and the changeable weather has got retailers consigning summer stock to the bargain bin faster than you can say hotpants.

High streets everywhere are beginning to teem but for the real treasure trove, head to Dublin's city centre, where 4,000 shops and ten department stores and shopping centers are all vying for your custom. All the favourites, including Arnotts, Brown Thomas, Clerys, the Ilac Centre, Jervis Centre and St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, are all offering extensive reductions and special offers across all lines in fashion, footwear and accessories. But for retail junkies looking for a quick fashion fix now can be a dangerous time.

Everyone is guilty of the odd "bad buy" bought in the sales. After all, it’s a tempting prospect: street after street of shops filled with discount clothes, shoes and handbags. There's that now-reduced Pucci print top that you've been coveting for two months, the Louboutins you couldn't afford to buy in April and that tempting skirt you've just noticed with a half-price sticker on it. It's easy to see why some people get carried away with it all.

But don’t fall into the trap of buying goods simply because they are reduced. Its only bargain if you're buying something you really want, after all, most of us wear the same 20% of our clothes all of the time. The remainder is worn occasionally or not at all.
So my advice is to stick to the classics, stock up on useful items and, even though it is being touted as the hottest colour of the season - don’t touch anything in orange. It may seem boring if your booty is an LBD, or one chic biker, but think of them as wardrobe investments. To make the sales a stress-free zone, we’ve come up with a few tips to help you bag the kind of bargains you’ll be thrilled to hang in your wardrobe.


1. Go for investment pieces rather than fashion fads. The sales are effectively the end of the season and however good the bargain is, if it is a high-fashion piece it will look terribly dated by the time the sales come round. So printed trousers, jumpsuits and neon dresses should be avoided at all costs.

2. Spend the same in the sales as you would out of the sales but upgrade the quality of what you buy. In other words, try to buy cashmere instead of lambswool, or a designer jacket at half-price instead of a high-street jacket. You will always feel stylish and special in quality, well-made clothes.

3. Accessories; Bags, jewellery and scarves are great investments and buying them in the sales allows you better quality for your money.

4. Don't buy anything you would not want at full price. Be wary of impulse buys, especially shoes. Impractical shoes are no fun at the end of an evening. If they hurt you, you’re far less likely to wear them.

5. Analyse the gaps in your wardrobe and make a list of what you need before you go. This may help you to avoid invariably disastrous impulse buys.

6. Don’t fall into the trap of buying anything that is ill-fitting, even if it seems like an incredible bargain. It is improbable that you will lose 5lb just to squeeze into a bandage dress, no matter how gorgeous it looks on the hanger.

Here’s our pick of the best sales around

A-WEAR: Grafton Street (01 671 7200) and stores nationwide. Sales now on, 50 per cent off.

ARNOTTS: Henry Street, Dublin 1 (01 805 0400). Up to 50 per cent off selected lines and great discounts on thousands of products.

BENETTON: Stephens Green Centre and branches nationwide (01 478 0258). Sale now on, 30 per cent reductions.

BROWN THOMAS: Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. Sale now on, up to 60 per cent off on selected lines in womenswear, menswear, lingerie and homeware.

BT2: Grafton Street, Dundrum and Blanchardstown. Sale now on, up to 60 per cent off.

CLERYS: O’Connell Street, Dublin 1 (01 878 6000). Sale now on, up to 50 per cent off fashion and 20% off handbags.

DEBENHAMS: Henry Street, Dublin 1 (01 814 7200) and stores nationwide. Sale now on, up to 5 0 per cent off.

HARVEY NICHOLS: Dundrum Town Centre (01 291 0488). Sale now on, up to 50 percent off.

HOUSE OF FRASER: Dundrum Town Centre, (01 299 1400). Sale now on, reductions of up to 50 per cent.