It’s the most wonderful time of the year, that time when women everywhere shove with all their might to make a bit more room in their bra and panty drawers, where they add to an already teetering stack of pajamas with full confidence that they won’t spark a pajamalanche with just a few more nighties or long johns. Yes, it’s the Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale.
The in-store sale started Thursday — for the first time in memory, before the online sale, which began early this morning. Although a lot of the good stuff gets grabbed early — known because I was there at 6 a.m. when the sale went online — there are bargains to be had through the next few weeks.
If you ever want to feel like you’re ruining someone’s day, go to a VS right after an employee has rearranged the stacks of sale bras and start rummaging. It’s hard to keep those stacks looking neat, especially if you’re hunting one-handed while juggling an armload of sale finds. But remember that there are usually even more sale bras lurking about below the bramageddon piles. If the bra bins are on a skirted table, check under the skirt for overflow boxes of bras, usually labeled by size. If the bra bins are on tables with drawers underneath, check in the drawers for even more bargains. A store associate will sometimes bring more boxes of bras out from the back, if they have them, if you’re looking for a particular style (this request works better when the store is relatively slow, and toward the end of the sale when they’re trying to get rid of bras). Remember that about a week or two into the sale there should be extra markdowns on the bras. So the best strategy if you really want to stock up is to get what you want most at the beginning of the sale, then hold out until later in the sale to buy what’s left.
If you have the patience to dig through an undie mountain, good values can be had in-store. And patience means digging through all of the bins, regardless of the size indicator on the side, because customers rooting through the panty piles are going to be shifting sizes into non-corresponding bins and salespeople aren’t going to be recategorizing them at the end of the night. If you want to find matching bra and panty sets, you’ll likely have better luck online — where undies tend to sell faster than in store, so grab what you want quickly if you see it.
The winter semi-annual sale is great if you’re a jammie lover — it’s PJ, so we know PJs. VS has been deeply discounting the PJs before Christmas, though, so there’s not a lot left online by this point. My local store, however, had a surplus of pajama sets packed in the drawers, so even though the thermal “Long Jane” PJs were almost gone online I was able to pick up three sale pairs in store. You’ll need to stay online, though, for some of the best styles that aren’t sold in stores, such as the thermal shorts and henley tees, thermal nightshirts and the thermal sleep romper (I’m a Southern Californian; I get cold). Grab sleep tees when you see them, as they tend to go fast during the sale — except the ones with Christmas sayings, which linger forever.
It seems that whenever the sale has dwindled to its last days, the racks are still packed with tangled messes of lacy babydolls and teddies. This can mean some pretty drastic markdowns. This also means that guys should hit the sale for Valentine’s Day gifts, rather than paying pre-holiday markups in the first two weeks of February.
Over the course of 2016, evil Victoria’s Secret execs decided to discontinue nearly all of the comfy sexy clothing line that had consisted of tees, hoodies, sweaters, dresses, sweats and more. Stores continue to sell a few sweatshirts and pants, and I saw a lot of them on the clearance racks at my local store. A few new pieces of clearance clothing usually get added to the lounge section online early each morning. Grab ’em while they last.
There’s legitimate debate over whether the pants and hoodies offered through the VS Sport line now are good enough to compensate for the loss of the clothing line, but when the markdowns are steep they’re worth a try. Stockpiles of VS sports bras also seem to last a long time throughout the sale, so you may want to hold out for extra markdowns.
The VS PINK line geared toward teens and college students isn’t all hi-lo tanks and boyshorts. The fleece pants and v-neck T-shirts are some great items in the line that get nicely discounted. This time of year, though, they’re also trying to clear out the collegiate line with exclusive clothing for more than 70 schools, so you can pick up some sweet gear to rep your alma mater.