A Cheat Guide to Making Every Outfit Killer On a Budget
If we are being completely honest, some of the top insults, low blows or “not so nice” things people tell me all the time are:
- You spend too much money on clothes
- Wow, you have a new outfit again
- I could never spend money like you do on clothes
- [Insert line about all the better ways to spend/invest money rather than clothes]
Expensive taste is something that I was blessed and cursed with. I always saw that if identifying the most expensive item in any store was an olympic sport I would win gold every time. It doesn’t matter where I am, the optometrist, Saks 5th Avenue, Nordstrom, Michael Kors, you take me, give me a couple of minutes and I will find you the thing I like the most, AKA the most expensive thing in the store.
When I was younger, I craved pretty things and was reckless about getting what I wanted. I worked hard, went through hard times and needed some form of reward, preferably something shiny.
Now that I am in my mid-twenties, things are a little bit different. I am still fashion obsessed, but at the same time I have the little voice in the back of my head telling me “Hey, you have to pay for your very expensive car, your downtown apartment, your phone bill.. and weren’t you saving money to go to Paris?”, so I have learned to compromise.. on price. NOT what I like.
Below you will find a quick cheat sheet that helps me not to you know, break the bank, but still keep me happy and feeling like a bag of glitter.
1.Know your seasons: As good as it feels to be retail price for clothes, every designer goes through different collections in a similar way that seasons operate – if you can get good at predicting these and knowing the weather to expect where you live year-round, you can score designer steals at up to 80% off at any time.
Think: stock up on summer clothes in the winter. Winter in the summer.
I personally live in California, so this one is a little easier for me, but what I usually do is scout for CUTE, evergreen, pieces when I know they will go on sale and save them for the next year or the next couple of months. To be honest, most designers and stores will recycle their signature pieces year over year with somewhat of a small change, the only difference being that you might pay $200 more to get the same jacket that now has a couple of studs on it or a slightly different pattern. The perfect example of me crushing it at this one is my FAVORITE black, faux fur coat with genuine leather. I bought the coat Mid-December knowing that I had a couple of more months ahead of cold weather and that I could always wear it on a night out in the town on top of a very small and not-so-warm outfit. I bought the coat for about $98 dollars at Nordstrom Rack and have worn the coat probably every night since. I recently was browsing Saks 5th Avenue, and saw the SAME coat, minus the waist belt mine has for $699 – almost 5 months later!! And guess what – the regular price is worth every penny. I get compliments on that coat almost daily
2. Cheap, isn’t necessary the cheapest option.
Many girls I know live for stores like Forever 21 that offer a solid way to get a cute outfit for a somewhat cheap price, and although this might be true, those clothes never last. They are cheap, so the fabric and production of them are CHEAP TOO.
I’d be lying if I told you I had ever bought a pair of shoes at Forever 21 that lasted me more than a night, or a dress that I bought that was actually long enough to wear outside of the club because of how see-through the fabric was
If you really have an eye set on something, shop around online and figure out what words they use to describe the item you are looking, pull up a mid-range to somewhat pricey store, sort your pricing from lowest to highest and see what the price difference is. You don’t have to go with the most expensive option at Neiman Marcus, but you are guaranteed to get a way better entry-level version of whatever it is you are looking for at a different store for a couple more bucks and feel like a million more.
3. But go cheap if you are being a trendy item you will likely only wear once
I go to a lot of weird theme events, and this rule definitely applies to those – because why would you invest a whole ton of money on something you are going to wear once, everyone will compliment and remember AND you will end up with thousands of pictures with??!
Halloween, 80’s, prom parties, New Years – the list goes on
Do not spend more than $100 bucks on a funky glitter fur vest that you will only be able to wear once. Find what you are looking for on the google machine. Forever 21, Amazon, Walmart – you name it. the Google Shopping tab is your jungle.
4. Invest on signature, recognizable expensive pieces
Designer accessories and clothes can be expensive, but sprinkling one in any outfit can make your whole wardrobe look and feel chic. Because who would ever think the girl with Gucci glasses is wearing a 5 dollar dress? And besides, true, high-end designer pieces do not go on sale and actually gain value over time.
I learned this one the hard way when trying to find a “cheap and old” Chanel clutch, only to find out the vintage bags are actually worth more than the new ones!!
5. Explore the mall for unknown boutiques with cheap finds
Keyword: THE MALL. Do not try this one online and DO NOT try to buy clothes from boutiques that make you wait 3-8 business weeks to receive your package and then delay the delivery even more because of Chinese New Year!
Odds are that the “Everything $5-15” stores at the mall have done their homework, have qualified buyers and know what will freaking sell. That means you will not be messing with clothes that don’t zip, are see-through and probably were not assembled using a pattern that was based on a human body. Find your nearest version of this store and be prepared to try a lot of clothes on. Find the styles that work for you and get as many as you want. these cheap finds will look amazing with your expensive stuff ;)
6. Never Pay For Shipping/Shop SMART
Get technical. Every store has a free shipping minimum, and you better be prepared to meet it. And use Google to find discount codes!! My favorite search terms are: [Insert Store Name] Retailmenot, [Insert Store Name] [Insert Month and Year] Discount Code.
Would you rather pay for shipping or get a shirt for that money?
If you have any extra tips or topics you would like to see here. Feel free to send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, I promise to take a break of online shopping and get back to you ;) – Giselle