Before I started The Styled Suburbian I followed many fashion bloggers with expensive taste. I loved their style but when I would click on a dress or blouse they were wearing, my jaw dropped. There was no way I was going to spend $300+ on a blouse or $600+ on a dress. I was envious of what they had but my budget was more in the Old Navy/Target range. I decided to take matters into my own hands and find a way to buy similar pieces, still high in quality, but for less. Just because your budget doesn’t allow for Prada or Club Monaco doesn’t mean you can’t have any designer brands in your closet. In fact, with these tips below, you can still nab some of your favorite designer brands – just without paying the ultra-high prices.
To start, let’s answer the most important question. Why do we as fashion lovers desire to splurge on designer brands? I remember my freshman year of college when I was so excited to go out one of the first nights. I dressed in what I thought was a cute outfit, until I saw many girls wearing Burberry jackets with Louis Vuitton bags over their shoulders. Suddenly I didn’t think my outfit was that cute anymore. I wanted that Burberry jacket and that Louis Vuitton bag. So why did I suddenly desire these products? For one, designer brands generally project an image of status (and wealth) among friends and coworkers. Second, most are of higher quality and tend to last longer than the less expensive brands.
Below are four tips to purchasing designer products and/or getting a discount (remember, I rarely buy full price!).
Buy Out of Season
If you have your heart set on a specific designer item and are not willing to find something similar for less, buy out of season. The truth is, most people don’t want to buy out of season. They want the latest and greatest jacket during the winter or the perfect designer maxi dress during summer, yet buying out of season can save you hundreds of dollars. One example: In the late summer or fall, one of the most sought after items are riding boots. They are a staple in almost everyone’s fall wardrobe (especially in New England). If your riding boots are worn and you’re ready for new ones (or think you will be by next fall), why not buy a pair now? Take a look at a few designer ones below that are currently on major sale:
Since I have a full time job, I rarely make it to the mall. I do 90% of my shopping online and always check RetailMeNot for coupon codes. You do not need an account or have to provide your e-mail address when using this site. You simply type in the store name and it will provide you with a list of current and expired coupon codes to use at checkout.
In this example, RetailMeNot provides a 15% off coupon code (no minimum). The same code is not advertised on the Express homepage.
Many designers also offer welcome coupon codes (usually 10-15% off your purchase) when you provide your information and sign up for their e-mails. Many times RetailMeNot provides you with these welcome codes without having to sign up on the site. Note: Some sites do have case sensitive codes which are unique to you/your e-mail. In that case, RetailMeNot would not provide the coupon code.
Polyvore is another one of my favorite sites. It’s perfect for finding a more general item (ex. camel coat). It’s not very useful if you’re looking for a specific ‘Ralph Lauren Wool Blend Reefer Coat’. If you’re looking for a camel coat but don’t know where to begin, just type ‘camel coat’ into the search bar and the site will provide you with a list of retailers currently selling camel coats. They will also show you which retailers have camel coats on sale. In the example below, Gap is selling a camel coat for $130 (originally $198).
You can also filter by price range, size, color, brand, etc.
Shop at The Outnet or Target
If you still have your heart set on a specific designer piece but it’s sold out in the sale section of the site, check out The Outnet. The Outnet carries designer pieces (mostly out of season) for less! I’m loving this Rachel Zoe wrap-effect maxi dress. Originally $525, now 55% off for $236.25.
This one may be obvious, but Target has a great selection of clothes. Just yesterday I was searching for these specific pajamas for our upcoming trip to Mexico. They are sold out at Nordstrom and available on amazon, but they’re over $130. I took a look at Target to see if they had anything similar and I was right!
Since we live close by to a Target I drove over there and found the same pajama set but in a lighter gray with a white trim – almost identical to the expensive version on the left.
A few out of season items to purchase now? Wedges, maxi dresses, bathing suits, fall coats and riding boots.
Do you have any tips for buying designer pieces but not at the designer price? As always, I love to hear from you!