Most women will admit that designer brands have an air of luxury, sophistication, and style. What's more, we're constantly reminded of the empty space in our closets (and our wallets) by the tabloid magazines which display celebrities sporting the latest designer duds.
Fashionistas know all too well that these stylish threads can put a dent in your pocketbook. Luckily, there is hope for the savvy spenders out there. You can have it all, at a fraction of the cost, by visiting consignment shops, checking out online classifieds, and auctions, and purchasing seasonal clothing during clearance sales. The key to scoring designer clothing for less is knowing where to look!
Visit Consignment Shops
Consignment shops are often confused for "thrift" or "charity" shops but that's far from what they are. At a consignment shop a person brings in an item they wish to sell and presents it to a store associate. Once reviewed for stains, damages, and defects, the store will approve the item and place it on display. After the item is sold, the store owner will retain a portion of proceeds, and the remaining balance will be given to the owner as payment. Payment will not be made until and unless an item sells. This type of contingency creates an incentive for the storeowner to bring in as many quality items as possible. Designer brands are notorious for turning up in these types of stores, either because the owner doesn't know what they're giving away or because they think it's no longer à la mode.
Go online to locate consignment shops in your area. Here's a useful mapping tool.
You can also use social networking sites like Twitter to see what others are saying about local consignment stores. Just search #consignment and your state to read the latest buzz.
Roll Up Your Sleeves
If consignment stores are crawling with these designer labels people must be lining up to get in, right? Wrong. You're going to have to dig, and by dig we mean sifting through racks and racks of clothing, antiques, and any other inventory on hand.
A word to the wise, once you find a piece you're interested in make sure to inspect it for tears, rips, or loose buttons. Also, test the zippers and closures.
Browse Local Online Classifieds
The emergence of online clothing stores and classified sites like Craigslist.org has opened new doors to the world of buying and selling. Whatever you can think of, someone is probably trying to sell it, and you might not even have to pay for shipping! Check local classified ads for designer clothing and merchandise.
There are some advantages to purchasing an item in person:
- The seller is more likely to accept a low-balled offer, especially if they're anxious to liquidate the item.
- You might spot something else of interest while perusing their inventory.
- You can inspect the item for damages and stains firsthand.
Remember to come prepared with cash in hand and don't be afraid to negotiate or even barter if necessary. However, be weary of fake pieces. If it seems too good to be true, it might be. For items of excessive value, ask the seller to authenticate it with either a certificate of purchase or get it checked out by a professional.
When department stores make mistakes with shipment orders, it works in the fashionista's favor! Excess inventories usually end up on auction websites at extremely discounted prices. There are a few things to keep in mind when participating in online auctions.
- Read the rules and regulations before you hit "bid". The fine print may include unforeseen details that you, as a buyer, are not comfortable with. So knowing what you're getting yourself into ahead of time will help you avoid a case of buyer's remorse.
- Get a tracking number to keep taps on your delivery and consider investing in shipping insurance if the item comes with a high price tag.
- Never enter into an auction without settling on a maximum bid. Bidding wars can get very aggressive so to avoid any impulsive decisions make sure to have a maximum number present in your mind.
- Be wary of scam auction sites. Some reputable sites, according to our friends at The Budget Fashionista, include CQout, and ePier.
Overall, online auctions can be a great way to get your hands on designer clothes for cheap.
Shop Out of Season
If you're going to make the treacherous journey into a designer store, do it between seasons. Once stores roll out a new fashion line, the old stuff ends up on the clearance shelf. For example, around March, many stores try to liquidate their winter apparel to make room for their Spring products. Although it may not be the appropriate weather to wear that coat you were eyeing a few weeks ago, you'll be relieved to know that you didn't pay full price.
You don't have to pay top dollar to get expensive clothing and brand names. The designer deals are yours for the taking as long as you follow the aforementioned tips. Remember, visit consignment stores early and often, browse local classified ads, and shop out of season.