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After the festive period, it's unlikely that you'll want to go shopping for a while. But you might want to rethink a full New Year's ban as the January sales are currently on.

The sales can be a good opportunity to nab a bargain, particularly when it comes to clothes. This is because high street retailers slash their prices to get rid of old stock, meaning that you can pick up good quality items for a fraction of the price.

To help you find the best fashion buys on a budget, we're taking you through our top picks.

Think before you act

Before you go shopping, it's important to make a plan.

Do I need anything? – the January sales can be overwhelming so it's important to have an idea of what you actually need to get before you go out. You might need a new work blazer or pair of jeans to replace your old ones – whatever it is, write a list and take it with you.

Check your budget – after the festive season, you might be a little strapped for cash (aren't we all!). So take a look at your household budget (or make a budget if you haven't already) and see what you have to play with. If you don't have much, it might be worth waiting until the January payday

Look at the returns policy – depending on the type of sale item you're interested in, you might not be able to return it if you change your mind, so make sure you check this at the till.   

Our picks for 2017

To help you see what's out there, here are our top five fashion picks:

Jacket – one great jacket that can take you through the seasons is a bomber. It's cool, sophisticated and can be dressed up or down. This embroidered bomber jacket from Tesco is a bargain at just £13.50.

Brown Long Boots

Boots – let’s face it, winter isn't going anywhere anytime soon so it might be worth investing in some stylish winter boots. These long boots from H&M are only £19.99 and they come in brown and black.

Dress – heading to a special occasion this year? This pink satin dress from H&M could be ideal for a summer wedding or family party. It's only £17.49 – a bargain in comparison to prices you could pay later on in the year.

Trousers – while workwear isn't the most exciting thing to buy, it is essential. This pair of wide leg trousers from Matalan is only £10 and would be the perfect pair to wear on a day-to-day basis.

Swimwear – OK, we know that it's a little too soon to think about summer but there are some great swimwear bargains in the sales. Take this textured bikini from H&M – it's reduced from £29.99 to £20.99. Unsure whether this will suit your shape? Find out what the best swimsuit for your body type is.

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