12 tips from one fashionista to the next


When was the last time you saw a great pair of shoes only to gasp at the price tag? However, don’t panic and don’t fret. From one fashionista to the next, I’ve got you covered. You don’t need to have a million dollars to look great!  In today’s economy and with so many fabulous stores, online discount sites and coupons, no one should pay full price for fashionable clothing. For the fashionista on a budget, I have some tips.

1.      Discount, Discount, Discount! Fashion sites offer great discounts on clothing. Many of these sites have the latest designer labels at less expensive prices. Check out sites like Ruelala, Shopbop, Ideeli, Gilt, Hautelook, and Groupon.

2. Department stores: Macy’s clearance, online and sales events are great for snagging a great bargain! Ann Taylor Loft, Marshall’s, DSW, and TJ Maxx are good examples of discount department stores that have great deals. Look for upcoming sales and coupons in newspapers, magazines and/or online. Retailer sites may also offer coupon codes.

3. Consignment Shops: One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure. You can find great brands at a lower cost. With a little sifting, you may even find your favorite designer brands! Mix old with new.

4. Outlet Malls: Outlets have wholesale prices and a wider range of items. If you can’t find last season’s beige icon trench coat from J. Crew, you may have better luck at an outlet mall.

5. Sign up for a mailing list: Have any favorite stores? Sign up for their mailing lists to find out early about sales and exclusive bargains for those on their mailing list.

6. Save on shipping: Shipping can be costly. If you are at a store and it doesn’t have your size, speak to a sales associate.  She can check their inventory at other stores and see if they have your size. At no cost to you, stores will often ship the item to a store close to you or to your house.

7. Bring cash, no credit cards! Bringing cash is an easier way to budget how much you want to spend before you go shopping. In some cases, you can even use the cash to bargain prices. While the sound of your credit card swipe can be thrilling, credit card bills are no fun at the end of the month.

8. Clothing Swap: Need an opportunity to clean out your closet? Call your closest girlfriends and host a clothing swap. Invite them to bring any clothing they no longer wear or want. It’s like shopping for free.

 9. DIY (Do It Yourself): Need a short dress for the summer? No need to go shopping. If you have a long dress in your closet, grab a pair of scissors and cut it shorter. Nobody will have what you create and it’s cheaper than buying a new dress. You can also update your old clothing to keep up with the latest trends. You can decorate or embellish your clothing. Add lace, ribbon, sequins…there is not limit to what you can create when you DIY.

10. Tailoring: If you don’t quite trust yourself with a DIY or your clothes need adjusting, take it to your local cleaners for tailoring.

11. Recycle: Before you dump those old shoes, look for a cobbler. Believe it or not, there are still shoe repairers around. They can make your old pair of shoes look as good as new.

12. Christmas in July: July 4th is a great time to shop. There are fabulous sales! In fact, I do some of my Christmas shopping at this time of year. If you need gifts for friends or family who live in warm climates year round, the clothes on sale right now can be great presents.

I hope you found some of these tips useful. Happy shopping!

Colette Phillips was named one of the 25 most stylish Bostonians (2008) and one of the 100 most fashionable Bostonians (2008, 2009, 2010) by  the Boston Globe.

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