Real choices: The ultimate guide to the millennium sales

Oh God, is it that time of year already? Yes it is, but fear not, we're here to make life easy for you. Below, Charlotte Packer rumbles London's best homeware bargains, while Zoe Brown, opposite, leads the way through the maze of the city's fashion houses district by district. Happy shopping!
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Unless you have a chauffeur to ferry you around, shopping in the London sales can be stressful, to say the least. But you can make it easier on yourself by doing some pre-planning. With this in mind, I've planned this sales guide geographically to help you to organise your attack, since you'll be more effective focusing on a particular area.

Remember the golden rules of sales shopping. Number one: start early. Number two: make a list - and stick to it. Aim for pieces that you would like to wear but can't afford. Otherwise you will end up with something monstrous that will never see the light of day again.

KNIGHTSBRIDGE, SLOANE SQUARE, KING'S ROAD

Harvey Nichols is a must if you want designer bargains - discounts are up to 50 per cent. You can expect to pick up treats like an Alexander McQueen cashmere corset coat, reduced from pounds 500 to pounds 300. Account holders receive an extra 10 per cent for the first four days of the sale.

Now wander 100 yards down Sloane Street and join the queue for Gucci. Discounts will be about 30 per cent. Avoid at any cost the obvious pieces that scream "Gucci". You don't want to look like Meg Mathews. If you are in any doubt stick to shoes and bags and their underwear.

Also on Sloane Street, the Giorgio and Emporio Armani sale starts on 27 December. Discounts vary. Chaps should look out for a three-quarter length shearling coat for pounds 1,250, reduced to pounds 875. For women, Armani's beaded lace skirt is down from pounds 395 to pounds 197.

Joseph is the best place for gorgeous knitwear. Own label knitwear will be reduced by 30 per cent. Unfortunately his signature skinny pants won't.

If cashmere is on your list, then Brora on the King's Road is definitely worth a visit. Ribbed funnel-neck sweaters will be discounted from pounds 195 to pounds 149 and cashmere/silk trousers down from pounds 169 to pounds 139 in a wide range of colours and designs.

If you want to wear luxury on your feet then hit Gina shoes. Their exquisite cashmere pumps are reduced from pounds 295 to pounds 155.

Don't expect any massive discounts from MaxMara on Sloane Street. Unfortunately they are offering a measly 10 per cent off coats and 30 per cent off knitwear. You'll do better to go to Selfridges on Oxford Street, where the price on MaxMara cashmere coats is halved.

Patrick Cox is the place for men's and women's shoes. Both the Wannabee and mainline ranges will be reduced by up to 40 per cent. With the money you save, visit Jo Malone's new shop opposite for scented candles and perfume.

WEST END

You scratch Selfridges' back, and it will rub yours. The Oxford Street store provides a selection of fit young men to carry your shopping for you, and a walk-in back rub service for when your body has had enough. Reductions include 50 per cent off designer labels such as Clements Ribeiro, whose multi-stripe cashmere V-neck tank is half price, from pounds 275 to pounds 137, while British institution Burberry has cut the price of its classic Burberry check wool coat from pounds 529 to pounds 370. In accessories, the best bargain is a Versace handbag down from pounds 625 to pounds 312.50, with Givenchy and YSL also reduced by half.

Next stop, Browns on South Molton Street to snap up designer bargains from the likes of Jil Sander, whose wool coat has 40 per cent off, from pounds 805 to pounds 485, and Michael Kors's black wool dress, pounds 400 down from pounds 800. Edgy tailoring from Ann Demeulemeester and delicate glamour from Dolce & Gabbana can be bought at up to 50 per cent off.

Still going? Then Joe's Cafe on Fenwick's second floor is the perfect place to stop before launching into the store proper. Nicole Farhi jackets in this season's tweed are reduced from pounds 399 to pounds 199, while knitwear is slashed by as much as pounds 150. Fenwick's is also offering an extra 10 per cent off sale prices before 1pm on the first day of the sale.

A few doors down, you will find yourself in the hallowed halls of Chanel, which will have reductions of up to 50 per cent on all ready-to-wear, including a rather beautiful caramel-coloured leather top (originally price was a whopping pounds 1,580).

Floral Street in Covent Garden is also worth the effort. Check out Paul Smith, which will have at least 30 per cent discount on all lines, including menswear and accessories. Look out for hand-stitched shirts and hologram cufflinks.

Just round the corner is Karen Millen's flagship store, with shoes down by a third, in time for NYE. If it's longevity you're after, go for a pair of high-heeled tan leather boots. Discounts start at 20 per cent.

Agent Provocateur, tucked away in Soho, is great for stylish, sexy lingerie. A selection of their underwear is reduced by up to 50 per cent, including lilac tulle knickers with a mint-coloured trim, and their trademark leopard- print scanties in brown or girly pink.

NOTTING HILL

Bill Amberg in London's Notting Hill is a must-see for leather goods. With up to 50 per cent off, it's worth bagging one of his faux pony totes priced at pounds 100 from pounds 135.

Meanwhile The Cross is reducing its goods by up to 50 per cent - keep an eye out for Cashmere Studio's cardigans.

REGIONAL

House of Fraser, with stores nationwide, has reductions across the board with designers such as Amanda Wakeley, Ghost and D&G up to 40 per cent off, and half price on selected Versace, Betty Jackson and Amaya Arzuaga.

Additional research by Gwyneth Holland

WHERE TO GO FOR CLOTHES BARGAINS

Agent Provocateur

6 Broadwick Street, London W1 (tel: 0171 439 0229). From mid-January.

Bill Amberg

10 Chepstow Road, London W2 (tel: 0171 727 3560). From 14 January.

Brora

344 Kings Road, London SW3 (tel: 0171 352 3697). From 6 January.

Emporio Armani

191 Brompton Road, London SW3 (tel: 0171 823 8818). From 27 December.

Fenwick

63 New Bond Street, London W1 (tel: 0171 629 9161). From 27 December.

Gina

189 Sloane Street, London SW1 (tel: 0171 235 2932). From 27 December.

Giorgio Armani

37 Sloane Street, London SW1 (tel: 0171 235 6232). From 27 December.

Karen Millen

22-23 James Street, London WC2 (tel: 01622 664032). From 27 December.

MaxMara

32 Sloane Street, London SW1 (tel: 0171 287 3434). From 4-30 January.

Patrick Cox

129 Sloane Street, London SW1 (tel: 0171 730 8886). From 27 December.

Paul Smith

40-44 Floral Street, London WC2 (tel: 0171 240 0009). From 7 January.

Selfridges

400 Oxford Street, London W1 (tel: 0171 629 1234) From 27 December.Trafford Centre Park, Manchester (tel: 0161 629 1234). From 26 December, 12-6pm.

The Cross

141 Portland Road, London W11 (tel: 0171 727 6760). From 14 January.

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