3. Bargains in real time-department stores
Can you walk out of Bloomingdales (or any other department store) with a DKNY dress that you spent $0.99 cents on? Yes, you can. I did. Here’s the secret for scoring serious deals in department stores. Only shop the sale and reduced racks. You’ll be surprised to find on-trend; cute things that people are wearing now living in the reduced racks. When you find something on the sale rack, ask the cashier or salesperson to check the price. A lot of times items miss a markdown. That blouse that marked down to $20 may only cost you $5 if you ask them to check the price.
4. Discount stores
You can find tons of bargains jammed in the racks of discount stores. Their clearance section is a treasure trove of goodies too. I once walked into Marshall’s and walked out with a high-end pair of yoga pants for only $10. Discount stores get new stuff practically every day. If you ask a discount store salesperson nicely when the new merchandise hits the floor, you could be the first one of your friends toting the hot Michael Kors bag that didn’t cost you major bucks.
5. Thrift stores
If you love to sprinkle vintage clothing or accessories a la Mad Men or quirky New Girl style, stay away from vintage stores unless they have a sale. Instead head on over to your local thrift store. Don’t know where one is near you? Do a Bing search, like this one. One click and you can find lots of thrift stores near you. You can find gently worn items from almost any decade for pennies, and sometimes brand new stuff (with the tags still on them) too. I’d rather spend a day digging in the racks at a thrift store and finding a new three piece outfit from Dolce & Gabbana, then paying for it retail and living on ramen for the next three months.
6. Bargains in real time-fast fashion stores
Fast fashion is what fashion industry people call clothing that’s produced quickly because a trend is hot. It’s fast, because the turnaround from trendsetter to shopping rack is incredibly quick. Here’s a perfect example: people were going bananas over Miu Miu’s glitter booties this past fall. However, who in their right mind is going to drop almost a $1000 on a pair of booties that might seem out of style when the first snow flake falls? Not me? A fast fashion pair of booties that look like the more expensive ones, those I’ll buy. When Charlotte Russe—a store that specializes in fast fashion came out with their version of the glitter bootie for under $50, I was in heaven. So, if you’re jonesing for the “It” item of the moment, don’t bemoan the fact that you’re wallet can’t do it. Head on over to Forever 21, H&M, Charlotte Russe, Charming Charlie or any of the fast fashion stores near you. You’ll definitely find a style twin for a lot less.
7. The tailor is your friend
If you find a great deal and it’s a smidge too big in the waist or the sleeve is too long, don’t put it back on the racks, buy it. Then bring it to a tailor if you can’t sew to fix it. If you’ve got a cute dress at home that would look more on-trend with shorter sleeves, bring it to a tailor and have them adjust the sleeves. Tailors can make anything look and fit better.
And that’s how I do it. I spend time rooting through sales racks, rummaging through discount stores and hunting in thrift stores. Every time I do, I walk out with an outfit that looks like it cost me a crazy amount of money and in reality, it might have cost me $50.
The last piece of advice I can give you is this: wear sneakers for comfort, you’ll be on your feet all day and you don’t want to miss out on a bargain because your feet hurt!
PJ Gach is Senior Editor: Style + Beauty at BettyConfidential.