For the past year, I’ve been working on shopping smarter. I learned that quality > quantity, and you don’t have to necessarily settle for less while building your wardrobe. It’s pretty clear that I have expensive taste, but as I’m still a student, I don’t have the budget to match. I wanted to share with you all how I’ve been able to get (nearly) everything I want at the best prices!
Take these Quay ‘My Girl Cat-Eye Shades’ in Black. They’re super trendy and super flattering, but they retail for $48. While they’re not as expensive as designer sunglasses, they’re not as good of a value as Sunglass Spot shades. I waited until they were on sale for $33.60, and then jumped at the chance to buy them when Nasty Gal had a promotion going on for 40% off all sale items. That means I paid $20.16 (before shipping) for them.
Get to know your favorite stores!
Follow them on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Snapchat and sign up for those pesky newsletters. You’ll know about coupon codes and sales as soon as they’re posted. I almost never shop without a coupon code or special promotion. Brands are into social media giveaways nowadays, so there’s an extra incentive to follow them! The newsletter tip works for stores you don’t frequent as well; just unsubscribe later on if you no longer want to receive their e-mails.
Keep track of sale trends
I started a list of sales sorted by holiday/occasion and monitored it for a full year. It helps to know how the stores you frequent host their sales. Some stores such as Zara, Lilly Pulitzer, and Victoria’s Secret have semi-annual sales twice a year. Other stores have holiday sales and/or friends & family sales. It’s also important to know how your favorite fast fashion stores restock their items online, especially during sale periods.
Bookmark your must-have items
I create a wishlist each season and bookmark the specific items I’m interested in them. I check them roughly once a week to see if they’ve gone on sale, or if a promotion comes up. Once they’re on sale, I check more frequently, so I can grab it once I have the funds.
Don’t be afraid of resale
It can be scary to buy clothes/shoes from a complete stranger, but sometimes you can get a great deal on designer items from Poshmark and Ebay (I say this because we now live in an age where people buy out the in-store stock only to mark up the prices and sell them on Ebay). Make sure you do your research on the seller and what the item is supposed to look like. I was able to score a few other pieces from the Balmain x H&M collection for decent prices on Ebay this holiday season!
Analyze your “data”
Once you know how your stores work, come up with a game plan. With the items that are all over Instagram, you almost always have to buy them when you get a chance, especially if they’re from smaller companies that don’t produce enough stock of those items. It’s sometimes true with fast fashion places – you just have to keep an eye on the items you want. Prioritize your wishlist based on product demand, and prepare yourself to spend x amount of money on a couple of full-priced items. Then, challenge yourself to find everything else on your wishlist on sale/promotion.
I was able to score all of this from Lush for $24 (shipping included). I took advantage of their post-Christmas sale on 12/26; all of their holiday items are buy one, get one free.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned
Eight times out of ten, impulse shopping ends up just aggravating me. I get stuck with pieces I only wear/use once in a blue moon, and have lost money I could’ve saved for things of better quality that I could really use. I now try to stick to purposeful purchases, and if I get tempted to buy anything on a whim, I try to think of three different times I’ll be able to wear/use that item. If I can’t think of three different combinations, I put the item back down. The only exceptions I make are for my birthday!
I hope this post helps you all build your dream wardrobes this year. Let me know what you think, or if you have any other shopping tips and tricks!