I have never been one to call myself a label snob. To me, fashion is less about the logos that encompass your pieces or the store they came from and more about how you style what you have to work with.
That being said, because my style tends to lean more towards flashy and bold, I have always shied away from designer clothing and accessories as I couldn’t justify the price tag for pieces that felt more trendy or temporary.
But as I have continued leveling up my shopping skills over the years I have truly come to discover the benefits of designer and high-end clothing.
There is something about the elevated quality of fabric that makes even the most simple piece feel posh and high quality. Those pieces from fast fast fashion that are always flimsy, see-through, and cheap-feeling pale in comparison. The craftsmanship of designer accessories make you feel connected to what you are wearing, and I find myself truly admiring every small detail, from the impeccable texture of the leather on a bag to the sheen of gold on a pair of earrings. If clothing is an art, designer pieces are the freaking Met.
But let’s be real here, if it was an option, all of us would be rocking designer duds. After all, for many of us self-proclaimed fashionistas, our decision not to procure designer clothing is less based on moral grounds and more on financial. I mean, sure, I would LOVE that Chanel blazer, but I would much rather pay my mortgage this month. Amirite?
For those of us who are looking to extend their designer wardrobe on a fast fashion budget, I am sharing four foolproof ways to access designer clothing more affordably.
Keep Up With Flash Sales
My first manager in the advertising industry taught me many things – she taught me marketing techniques, she taught me leadership, and most important of all, she was the first person to introduce me to a little gem called HauteLook.
HauteLook (and other flash sale sites like Beyond The Rack, Gilt, and Rue La La) are online shops offering steep discounts on brand new designer clothing for quite literally a fraction of the original price. I’m talking a brand new Oscar De La Renta dress originally priced at $1,500 for $200 huge.
So what’s the catch here? Flash sale sites are just as the name implies – posted offers are given a strict time limit as you shop – meaning that deals can come and go as quickly as within an hour before they are gone forever. This can make it easy to make more impulse decisions and not think your purchases through, as you are feeling pressure to buy before the deal goes “bye”.
When you are shopping on flash sale sites, I’ve found that it is best to go in with a level head and a specific product in mind. Maybe I am looking for a new winter coat or a few pairs of shoes. Stick to the subject you are looking for to help you compete with the clock, while still ensuring you can’t make too many spontaneous impulse decisions.
Want to access those flash sale level deals without the pressure of time limits? Check out designer consignment stores. Consignment stores sell thousands and thousands of certified authentic pre-loved designer pieces to fit every designer, item, or style.
Have you ever wanted a monogrammed Louis Vuitton or a quilted Chanel bag? I guarantee you can find what you are looking for. I find these stores are great for people who have a certain piece that they have been dreaming of in mind. The cost of many of these items is still enough to make your heart drop a little when you first see the price tag, BUT their steep discount in comparison to the brand new product makes it a great option for a goal gift or an investment purchase.
Because the prices can still feel a little steep, I suggest checking out these consignment options for classic designer staple pieces, rather than trendier items, but hey, you do you!
Here are a few of my very favorite designer consignment store options:
Thanks, It’s Rented
As a fashion addict and new-ish blogger, Rent The Runway Unlimited is my pride and joy. Listen, I know admitting to renting your clothes in today’s world can be seen as taboo. Too many people look down on sharing clothes or not owning your designer pieces and to that mindset both I and my wallet laugh.
Rental services can be a game-changer for girls who find themselves obsessively perusing fashion sites each and every month. With RTR Unlimited you have access to a nearly endless array of designer clothes and accessories ranging from everyday pieces to ballgowns.
Each shipment comes with four pieces that you get to choose yourself from a massive catalog (rather than relying on a faceless stylist to guess what you would like). And the best part of it all is that it is truly unlimited every month, meaning if you wore all four of your items on Monday and shipped them back on Tuesday you could get a brand new set of four pieces before Friday for the same price. RTR even has storefronts throughout the country, so if you are lucky enough to have one you could hand-deliver your shipment and walk out with new pieces on the same day.
Now, is this the most affordable option? Absolutely not. My monthly subscription usually runs me a little over $170/m. But when I did the math, things really made sense for me personally. I was a compulsive shopper, spending even more than the subscription fee each and every month on fast fashion pieces. By investing those funds into my clothing rental service, I am not only receiving beautiful, well-made, unique designer pieces, I am also keeping myself disciplined and avoiding feeding my unhealthy shopping habits. Even better, I find that this method of getting my designer items is much more sustainable than exclusively supporting fast fashion.
Finally (and a personal favorite perk) those items you rent are available for sale at a notable discount. I love this because it gives me the opportunity to wear and experience a piece and truly decide if I really like it or not before I buy. In fact, just the other week I was able to purchase a $500 dress from my shipment for $85.
And no this isn’t sponsored (I wish!) – but I am happy to be RTR’s hype girl any day of the week!
Be The Highest Bidder
My friend Deasy always has the best style and most gorgeous designer pieces. I truly envy her wardrobe and was always so curious to know where she was finding so many of her beautiful yet unique designer items. Then one day she let me in on her secret – estate sales. And let me tell you, this opened up a brand new world for me.
After she shared this information, I began looking up estate sales in my area and was dumbfounded over the sheer number of options out there. Valentino bags, Chanel shoes, and Cartier jewelry all for sale to the highest bidder. Keeping up with the auctions there are times that things can get a bit competitive, however, there are other times where you would be surprised to find just how affordably you can nab some pieces.
Now, don’t go into this thinking that every estate sale is going to be jam-packed with designer closets – in fact, oftentimes it is the opposite. Sometimes it will feel like finding a diamond amongst the coal, but that is part of the fun. It is a real-life treasure hunt – and in this case, the treasure is an authentic Prada bag for $60.
There are several ways to locate estate sales. EstateSales.Net is a great resource to help find sales happening near you. I am also a fan of Everything But The House – an eBay style sales site that lets you bid on items without requiring you to physically attend. Past the internet, sometimes your next great find can be as simple as keeping your eyes open while you are driving as oftentimes, nearby estate sales will have signs posted.
What was the best designer steal you ever found? Am I missing any suggestions? Do you think designer clothing is overrated as a whole? Share your thoughts in the comments!