Maybe you are just out of college, or hunting for your first professional job and don’t have a ton of money to spend. Either way, spending money you don’t have on clothes sometimes just isn’t an option.
But there are ways to dress sharp and not blow your life savings. Take into consideration a few of these tips and you will be on the fast track to saving money and dressing sharper.
Find an outlet. These are also called factory stores in some places. The stores are designed to sell products from major retailers at a fraction of the retail cost. You may see a sweater at a high street Banana Republic for £60 and yet find one similar at a Banana Republic outlet store for a fourth of the price. Word of caution: sometimes these stores sell poorly constructed tat that was never actually sold on the high street. Use your nous whilst shopping.
Stick with what you know. If you know that h&m produce white tees that fit you like a glove, it’s likely most of their other tees will fit well too. Go into the different shops and take the time to try on items. There’s nothing worse than wasting money on an item of clothing you bought online that you couldn’t be bothered to send back (we’ve all done it).
Play the long game. In your quest for ‘good deals’ you might choose to buy something just because it’s reasonably priced. That is a poor way to buy. Clothes are a long-term investment, so save up for quality items that you really want, and they will pay themselves off with all the years wear you get from them.
Be patient. Have some discretion when you are out shopping. You don’t have to buy every item that is a supposed ‘deal’. Wait until the big sales in summer, on Black Friday and after Boxing Day.
Sign up for newsletters. Go onto the website for your favourite brands and sign up to their weekly newsletter. They will often send out an email to all subscribers before they’re about to start a sale, giving you the time to beat the rush before all the decent clothes are gone. Also, next time you’re in a store and they ask for your email, don’t just groan and say no. Give it to them, because you will receive exclusive deals.
Check the clearance/faulty goods rack. Once you have located a store that you like shopping at, you need to find the deal within the deal. Sort of like a shopping Inception. You may see signs all around you that say 50% off – but 50% off what, exactly? Half price on a £100 shirt isn’t going to really save you money. Most shops will have clearance and/or faulty goods sections, usually marked with orange or red signs. Just because an item is clearance, does not mean the quality is less than that of the item that is full price in the same store. Often, items are marked clearance just because seasons are changing and the stores need to make room for new merchandise.
Find a brand’s online outlet. As well as a physical outlet shop, most big brands also now have an online has outlet. If you buy some trousers in store for a great price, go on that store’s factory website and try to find them in other colours.
Be thrifty. A lot of people look at thrift shopping in a very dim light. Buying gently used clothes or pre-owned clothes is perfectly okay, as long as you stay within the realm of ‘gently’. You want the clothes to not have an obvious look of pre-owned. Head straight to a local consignment/secondhand shop. These types of establishments generally have rules and standards for the pre-owned clothes they sell.
Look for deals on eBay. There’s a TNG guide on eBay coming soon. But some general rules include:
- Looking out for NWT (new with tags) or NIB (new in box) when filtering by ‘condition’.
- Looking for items where the auction finishes at an unsociable hour, as there will be less people bidding.
- Having a top price you won’t go over at any costs. Don’t get into bidding wars.
Increase your budget. Sell the items of clothing you don’t wear anymore on eBay. It’s a great way to create a bit more cash for those special items you want.
Any other hints we’ve missed?
Words by: Christopher Roy