Although the financial picture in the United States is improving, many fashionable working women face the same problem: making their dollars stretch so they can buy the things they need, like food and shelter, and still have enough to afford the fashion they want.
Sure, you can buy cheap fashion at discount big-box retailers, but what you gain in quantity you could lose in quality. One of the reasons designer fashions are so expensive is that the quality of materials and workmanship are usually higher than what you find at many of the cheaper stores. This means that although you’ll pay more up front, the clothing will last longer and you’ll end up paying less in the long run.
Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to drop $800 on a dress, or $500 on a handbag. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have these designer items. You just need to know where to look.
Thrift stores, consignment shops, garage sales, and other second-hand options are nothing new to the savvy fashionista. However, you might not be aware of other avenues like luxury good buyers and online trading communities like Freecycle.
Luxury goods buyers purchase gently-used handbags, gold and jewelry. They appraise their value, and make sure they are in good condition, and then resell these items to the public or to stores that carry second-hand goods. You can find high-quality luxury goods for a fraction of what you would pay for them new. You can also sell handbags for cash, as well as other items, and spend the profit on newer items.
Online trading communities can often be touch and go. You could find someone offering women’s clothing but it may only be in one size and not all of it in designer or good quality. The advantage is that you can sometimes find some amazing stuff for nothing more than the cost of the time and gas needed to pick up the items. To get the best deal, you need to subscribe to the announcement emails for your target area, pay close attention to the announcements, and reply as soon as possible.
Online Outlet and Factory Stores
Some major designers, like Tommy Hilfiger and J. Crew, have online outlet stores where you can buy their clothing for far less than you would pay in store. Major retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom also have online outlet stores. There are also online outlet malls, like Overstock, The Outnet, and Amazon Outlet. Some of these sites also have promotional coupons and clearance sections that provide even deeper discounts.
The advantage to these sites is that you can shop from the comfort of your home. One of the downsides is that supply can be limited – especially in popular colors and sizes. However, if you check often and act fast, you can get some great deals.
Affordable Plus-Size Fashions
Plus-size women often have trouble shopping at secondhand stores and designer outlets because many of the fashions are only available in smaller sizes. Even if plus sizes are available, supplies could be severely limited. Luckily, there are several designers and retailers offering affordable, and even discounted, fashion online.
Lane Bryant has been a leader in plus-size clothing for decades, and they always offer discount codes, coupons, and specials both online and in-store. The Lane Bryant site also has a clearance section for even deeper savings.
Modcloth is an online retailer that offers unique, and often vintage-inspired, clothing for the women of all sizes – and they have a large plus-size section. Like Lane Bryant, they also have discount codes, promotions, and sale items to make things more affordable.