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When it comes to your look, you want to combine comfort and practicality with expressing your personal style. Clothes are a way to express ourselves to the world and shape how it sees us. Many of us covet the latest designer fashions, but affording them is a different matter. You may follow the catwalk reports and flip wistfully through the pages of Vogue for inspiration, but can you actually afford any of those items for your own wardrobe? Even if you could, there are other priorities in life and other bills to pay. Not many of us would feel comfortable buying a top that cost the same as our mortgage payment! Designer fashion is nothing if not pricey, especially when it comes to those key items like shoes, handbags and coats. Saving up for a designer piece is an investment for many and a lifetime dream for others. But there are still ways to get what you want without going into debt – either by finding ways to purchase designer items for less or by getting an expensive look without the matching price tag! With a few tricks and tips and a little resourcefulness, you can get the look you want.
Buying Designer Items For Less
Considering the high cost, why would anyone want to purchase designer items? Well, there are several reason why people deem designer to be better than the high street alternative. For once, the craftsmanship that goes into the construction is often intense, with hand sewn finishes ensuring that items are well constructed and made to last. The most popular items are also very well designed in classic styles which prove enduringly popular through the decades- think of a Chanel Classic Flap Bag or a Louis Vuitton suitcase or even a well tailored Paul Smith suit – they are loved for a reason. The quality of materials is also likely to be superior. It’s undeniable that certain brands also project an image of wealth and discernment which a lot of people like. Being able to appear a certain way in the eyes of business contacts, for example, may be seen as an advantage in image conscious circles. Certain items also hold their value extremely well if cared for. Some offer a high resale value due to consistent demand and with certain limited edition items you may even find that they increase in value over time. There are many reasons to drool over that Gucci scarf or Balenciaga – but the trick is to secure the item of your dreams without paying the premium price they usually command.
Finding The Best Details
With your wishlist in place, you can begin to think strategically about acquiring the item. Shoppers who have discerning tastes but also love a bargain have several tricks up their designer sleeves to get what they want.
If it’s a style and a look that you love, it could be worth looking into a brands diffusion lines. Many large luxury goods brands run lines that are typically at a slightly lower price point than their main line, but still hold the same design values and looks. For example, if you’re mad about Marc Jacobs, it’s worth searching out Marc By Marc Jacobs, the cheaper sister line. Many brands are also now running capsule collections, in collaboration with another store or designer. They comprise a few staple pieces selected to showcase the aesthetic of that designer at a more accessible price point. Due to the fact the line only has a few pieces, they can be manufactured on a much larger scale, therefore reducing the cost. Capsule collections tend to be a limited run though and can sell out pretty fast – they then tend to be re-sold for even more than the original price! Retailers such as Target and H&M are renowned for their edgy collaborations with brands such as Mulberry, Victoria Beckham, Balmain and Maison Margiela, so look into what’s coming year by signing for their online newsletters. Most large brands have either experimented with a capsule collection, a bridge line with lower price points or a diffusion range, so this can be a great way of getting your hands on a slice of the style you like for less.
Shop Flash Sales
The internet revolution has seen the rise of flash sale sites, who buy up past season stock from designer labels and resell it at lower prices with limited deals on a handful of specific designer items. Items are typically only offered for a very short time period like 24 hours and you’ll be alerted when an item drops via email. It can be hard to obtain specific items this way, as they are likely to be things that are left over from the designers’ stock. And there may not be much choice of sizes. But it’s still worth signing up to be notified and see what comes up if you can wait for that special piece that you want to add to your stash. Sites like The Outnet, Haute Look and Gilt can be great, plus you can usually get credit by referring family and friends to the site as well.
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Shop Out Of Season
When any store is trying to clear out their past season stock to make way for something new, there are bound to be deep discounts on offer. You simply have to flip the season you shop to take advantage of these deals, hunting for swimsuits and tees in winter and warm woollen coats and boots in the summer. You may have to wait a while to wear your bargain purchases, but it’s definitely a great way to save on quality items. Try to go for classic styles that aren’t too on trend, so they won’t be carbon dated by the time you can enjoy them. Another great sneaky tip is to find a large department store or a boutique which does price adjustments- this is a guarantee that should an item go on sale a certain amount of time after your purchase, they will refund the difference. This is a great sneaky way to have your pick of the items before they are discounted and then get the money back! It pays to make friends with the sales associates to secure the best price.
If there’s a certain item you’ve really set your heart on, why not think about purchasing it pre-loved? This can be a fantastic way to secure an item for up to half of the original cost – you just have to be careful to find a version in great condition. Avoid the big auction sites in favour of verified second hand designer retailers who authenticate your purchase or consignment stores who specialise in labelled goods. These places will often have repaired and laundered items before putting them up for sale, so while a thrift store may turn up the occasional gem, they tend to be in worse condition. If you’re patient, it’s possible to find amazing items. If it’s a smaller store, speak to them about certain pieces you’re seeking, and they may even be able to source them for you or tip you off if the item comes in.
Shop Lending Sites
If you change your mind and your style quite often, or you have a specific event coming up that you really want a special outfit for, you could try one of the sites that let you purchase designer items on loan. It’s a great way to get the look if you only need it for one night!