The words “affordable designer fashion” sound too good to be true. However, an enviable couture wardrobe is 5 simple steps away.
1. The £100 Rule
Do not spend more than £100 on a single item – and yes that includes P+P. This is my personal rule of thumb when it comes to affordable designer fashion and it hasn’t failed me yet. While this may seem like a measly sum when shopping upmarket, don’t be fooled. Considering triple figures the maximum, will help you find a healthy balance between your wardrobe and your wallet. In exceptional circumstances (like when Balenciaga is on sale), don’t be afraid to be a little flexible. Just the other day, I broke this rule to by a stunning pair of Frye Engineer 8R Boots. I’d be lusting after them for years, and I found them at Revolve for a little over £100. You can check out how I styled them here.
2. eBay is Your Friend
While the ideal scenario would be dropping a few thousand pounds at Harrods every week, unfortunately we’re not all billionaires. For British buyers, using the American counterpart at eBay.com offers you better prices. There is greater competition between sellers, therefore buying from the US is easier on your wallet. On the other hand, prepare to face some possible import charges for your troubles. Do a little maths and determine whether it’s cheaper to buy overseas or domestically. If you lust over pieces from ShopBop and Revolve, you’re also more likely to find brands that aren’t as popular in the UK (such as J.Crew and Camilla Franks). IRO boucle jackets can be found for under £100, as can Frye Boots. You want it, they’ve got it. Be brand specific in your searches and try not to impulsively buy just because the price tag is practically a steal.
3. Secondhand Is Also Your Friend
I feel like I’m betraying my most guarded secret in sharing this one, but we’re friends, right? There are a number of websites that sell secondhand designer clothes for incredible prices. Just between us, my go-to is always Hardly Ever Worn It. It has a handy filter tool where you can choose your maximum price, which cuts down those heartbreaking moments where you see that outstanding dress before you realise it costs more than your car. Hardly Ever Worn It (or HEWI) highlights certain products that have never been worn. So if you’re uncomfortable wearing preloved clothes, there’s still plenty on there for you to browse. Similar to eBay, show caution in your buying.
4. Estate Sales Are More Like A Creepy Uncle
I stole this incredibly morbid trick for affordable designer fashion from Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS. Sites such as Everything But The House host estate auctions of practically everything, but they do have a pretty amazing array of designer clothes too, often in bulk. Not everything listed is haute couture, but you will find some great staple pieces from brands such as Prada, Chanel and Burberry. This could be also be a thrifty way to make a little money on the side. Buy products and bulk and sell them individually – but you didn’t hear that from me. However, estate sales are undoubtedly a bit of bummer, so you’re worried about bad karma, try tips 2 and 3.
5. Outlet Shopping Should Be Done Sparingly
Outlet shopping is hit and miss, especially in shops such as TKMaxx. I bought my killer IRO tuxedo power jacket from TKMaxx for only £99 but I had to wade through mountains of unwearables to find it. Huge retail parks, like Bicester Village, attract fashionistas from across the UK. Unfortunately, outlet shopping is best saved for when you have a little chunk of disposable income you want to invest into your style. Often places such as Bicester Village and the Burberry Factory Outlet in Hackney (also, online stores like The Outnet and Saks Off Fifth) are great for splurging on statement pieces. If you’re looking for wardrobe staples and big savings, it’s best to steer clear of outlet shopping.
Although they may seem glaringly obvious, things like changing shopping regions and finding the perfect secondhand store honestly makes a huge difference to your bank balance.
What is your best piece of advice for finding affordable designer fashion? Leave me a comment below and let me know!