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How to Get a Designer Wardrobe Without Breaking the Bank

Looking good can sometimes feel like a full time job. Trouble is, if you already have a full time job, sometimes having time and the money to pursue personal style can feel like a challenge. Certainly when there are bills to pay and financial obligations to meet, it feels like there is never quite enough left over to fund those designer luxuries you crave to make your look unique. Thinking about your budget and your style often feels like two distinct things, but with a little foresight and planning, there is a way to bring the two together. You can rock a designer wardrobe while on a budget. All the great garments you see on the catwalk or in magazines - the ones that make your heart beat faster until you spot the four figure price tag - can be yours, even if your budget is more beer than champagne. Those clothes aren't just for celebrities and the rich kids of Instagram - they can be within reach for someone on an ordinary budget, if you learn a few tricks along the way.

The Right Investment  

Cheap clothes are often a false economy. Constructed badly and made of cheaper materials, the cycle of fast fashion doesn't produce garments that are made to last. So whenever you buy something cheap, you are looking at a piece of clothing with a shorter shelf life. Over time, that means you end up buying a lot more, so although high end garments are more expensive in the first place, over time they are a much better bet.


Your Personal Style 

The first step is to figure out your personal style. It's no good spending more on your clothes if you end up not wearing them. A good place to start for inspiration is Pinterest, where you can follow boards of style you like and browse through clothing inspiration. Then, you have to ask yourself what is practical and required for your lifestyle - what do you need to wear to work? Is it a corporate suit and tie environment, or are you a creative that can be more relaxed in the office? Or do you have a physically demanding job? What are your interests and social activities outside of work? What situations do you need to dress for in everyday life? And where do you live - the climate, the city vs the countryside, all of these will affect what clothes you need. Once you've thought through that, create a list of pieces that you need and that will form your desired look. It could be anything from a classic trench coat to perfectly cut chinos. Taking the time to make this list and then shopping from that list ensures you focus on getting the right items that will fit your lifestyle and that you’ll wear time and again.


How To Buy Designer For Less 

If you have the right habits financially, ultimately you can afford the designer capsule wardrobe of your dreams without a six figure salary. And you can even afford to keep saving up while enjoying the finer things as well. 

Reduce What You Buy 

To be able to pull it off, you're going to have to get comfortable with the concept that less is more. We are all conditioned into buying much more than we really need. How many of your shoes or shirts do you realistically wear? If you can't work it out, try the hanger hack - turn everything in your wardrobe so the hangers are facing the wrong way. Every time you take something out and wear it, turn the hanger back the right way. Pretty quickly you’ll be seeing exactly what you do and don't wear frequently. If you buy, say, five items a month, that still adds up to a lot of clothes. Buying 5-10 items a year is more what you need to be aiming towards.


Never Pay Full Price  

Coupled with buying far fewer items, you should also strive never to pay the full list price for anything. Almost everything eventually goes on sale, and even if it doesn't there are other ways to get your hands on it in many instances, such as finding designer outlet stores, buying pre-loved or using a voucher.  

Learn To Be Patient 

Your days of impulse purchasing should be very much at an end - you have to learn the fine art of waiting for the right moment. Remember, we’re talking items you have carefully selected as being right for your style and that means not following every trend. Never buy something the first time you see it. Not only does this give you the space to decide if it's something you really want, but it gives the item a chance to go on sale or for pre-loved items to show up online.

McArthur Glen
McArthur Glen

Look Far And Wide 

The more channels you have, the more chances there are to get the items you want. Be prepared to put in a little research to find your items. You need to save money and compare, both online and in physical stores, to make sure you're getting the best deals. If one place doesn't have your item on sale, go to the next. It will take some legwork, but the feeling when you land that perfect item for less will be amazing. 

Learn To Love Pre-Loved 

Breaking the mindset of needing to own everything new is also important in your journey to a high quality designer wardrobe, because that's exactly where you’ll find some of the best deals. The idea is, almost everything brand new loses value over time. Retailers aid this process by constantly churning out new collections and driving trends to create sales. But if you've taken the steps above to figure out your own style and the pieces you need, you can rise above that cycle. Obviously you need to look only at items in great condition with minimal wear. There are many different platforms to hunt down the piece you want, but sites that specialise in luxury consignment pieces are one of the best avenues, as they employ experts to verify the authenticity of designer pieces. Narrow your search via specific pieces or by designer. Some sites won't allow returns on items such as swimwear or luggage so make sure you read the fine print before adding to basket.

Blitz London
Blitz London

Use Auction Site Platforms  

You can also use an auction listing site like eBay or Depop to find what you want, but there is a lot more in the way of items to search through so focus it down by using eBay save searches. Pair your desired designer name with a particular items and then save the search for customised email alerts. Then just sit back and wait for the alerts to come up on your phone.  

Outlets and Independents 

Many designer brands sell past season items through outlets - either their own or mass sites such as The Outnet. Even luxury retailers have a clearance page at sale times where you can pick up bargains. Equally, smaller independent boutiques also hold sales and as they are not as well known, there tends to be less competition to net those bargains. For a heads up, join their mailing list to be notified of sales and access coupon codes. Sample sales are also a great way to pick up the best deals.  


So, you really can have a designer wardrobe on a budget - with a little perseverance and some restraint, by understanding your personal style and not by falling for false ‘bargains’ that you don't want or need. Happy shopping!


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