I love fashion.
There is no greater love for me than flipping through the Fall and Spring issue of Vogue and InStyle magazine and earmarking pages of dresses, shirts, handbags, or shoes that make my heart go pitter-patter.
But the reality is, I’m also on a budget. Luckily, I’ve figured out a way to buy all the fashion items I love without breaking the budget, because let’s be honest, buying designer brands can be expensive.
Frugal Clothing Tips | Buying Name Brands On A Budget
Buy out of season. Department stores have to clear last-season inventory for new inventory approximately twice per year. Buying at those times means a significant savings versus retail. I’ve purchased $250 dresses for $40, $200 shoes for $50, and $150 jackets for $30. If you have a favorite department store, ask them when the best sales happen. But as general rule they happen during longer weekends. (Think MLK, President’s Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, or New Year’s Day.)
Don’t wash it unless it needs it. When we find an item we love, we like to wear it all.the.time. But if we aren’t mindful, we can wash it all.the.time too. It’s not that I’m against washing clothes (because that would be gross if I were), but over washing an article of clothing can make it look worn out fast. If it is truly dirty, than wash it. Other wise think about airing it out or a quick fluff-dry to make it last one more time.
Check out second-season stores and websites. Second-season stores and websites are a great way to get quality brand-name clothes for less. In most cases, items at stores like Marshalls, TJ Maxx, or Nordstrom’s Rack are filled with items that were either overstock or last season, but are still on trend. Likewise, checking out websites like RueLaLa, Hautelook, MyHabit or 6pm give you the same kind of inventory, but from the comfort of your living room. Who knows, the shirt you were coveting last year could end up in your closet this year for 60% off!
Try to keep your weight the same. This is a land mine to talk about, but I speak the truth. Trying to keep your weight and measurements the same year-to-year allows you more use out of designer-name items. The goal is to wear out the item, not discard it because you’ve “grown out of it”. Also keeping your weight the same allows you spend more on quality items because you have the opportunity to wear them for several years.
Only buy items you love. This article on wearing the same clothes everyday sums up my feelings best…I’d rather have one shirt for $50 that I love and feel awesome wearing, then three shirts for $16 each that only fit okay. No one will remember what you wore last week…so who cares if you wear the same shirt again.
Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. This sale happens the end of July and is my go-to sale. New season items are up to 50% off retail prices. That means you can get Nordie’s quality items for Target regular prices. Choose wisely and those pieces will last you several seasons.
60/40 rule. Spend 60% of your money on classic pieces that can be worn year after year and 40% of your money on trendy pieces. While it is true that classic pieces have a longer life span (and therefore you should spend more dollars per piece), you also don’t want a wardrobe filled with black pants, grey cardigan sweaters, and white button down shirts. As time goes on, you will build up your wardrobe of classic pieces, and can spend more of your budget on trends.
Have a clothing swap party. Have several girlfriends about the same size as you? Do they like higher-end brands too? Have everyone get together and throw a clothing swap party. For every item brought to the party, one gets to be taken one home. Whatever is left gets donated to charity.
Make outfits. I love a good sale. And I love buying off the sale rack. The only problem…sometimes I end up with great pieces (at a fraction of the cost) that I have no idea what I will wear with them. A great dress with no heels or great pants with no shirt to match creates waste. I’ve learned to either buy with a plan or purchase a whole outfit at time to eliminate waste.
Check out thrift stores in high income areas. People with higher income tend to donate of higher-quality items. I have two thrift stores I stop into on a pretty regular basis and have found linen shorts, cashmere sweaters, and high-end jeans for a fraction of their retail cost. Also, don’t be afraid to try on items before you purchase….just because it says “Size 8” doesn’t mean it hasn’t been altered.
What about you? Do you have any other frugal clothing tips? How do you wear designer clothes on a budget?