Who, What, Wear? Looking Chic While Shopping Cheap!

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

I was inspired to write this Blog after sharing some retail therapy I experienced on Black Friday. Saks off Fifth was having a “Buy one, get one for 50% off” deal on Sunglasses. Yes, I only have one face but there are several days in a week, and I had to keep the total an even number to get the “deal”, so I selected 8 pairs of sunglasses. Thanks to the many friends that commented and provided feedback I was able to narrow it down to 6 pair. I appreciate all your help! Fashion bargain hunting was always second nature for me. Sometimes I share when I get a fabulous deal because I am so damn proud of myself. I am often surprised when friends look at me in disbelief when I tell them what I paid for something, so I figured I would share some of my tips. Bear in mind, 50% off IS NOT a deal to me and if a sale at Express, Gap, or H&M is exciting for you, you will probably want to skip this one.

First, allow me to share a little background. I grew up as a “wannabe JAP” (Jewish American Princess), who always loved Designer clothes and shoes. I wanted everything. Unfortunately, my parents were not on board with my aspirations. While this may have made me angry at the time, I am thankful I was “set straight” at a young age. Raising an entitled brat, was not on my parents’ list of things to do and they taught me and my siblings the value of money. My mom was always a great shopper. She took us shopping for school clothes at Loehmann’s, Aarons and Foxes. These stores used to have huge selections of designer clothing, shoes, and accessories at deeply discounted prices. Yes, I know many of the items may be from previous seasons but who really cares? They were stylish, fashionable items that anyone would enjoy wearing.

Over time it became a game to me. I would window shop some of my favorite stores and wait for the end of season sales. I will never forget the Leather Kenneth Cole pants I stalked. They had several in stock in my size so I felt confident I would be able to secure them once they went on sale. I took my chances and got them at 60% off. I think I may still have them!

My shopping mantra has become "Deal or No Deal"!

Then came the rise of Outlets.

All my favorite brands in one place at discounted prices. My dream come true!

My first outlet experience was truly overwhelming but I quickly learned how to navigate them in a timely fashion. Outlets are HUGE, so you really must know where the deals are. Research is key unless you plan to spend a week at an outlet. Not all stores in outlets created equal. The best deals are usually found in January and July. During these months they add additional markdowns to already low prices. Who does not love stacking discounts! My favorite outlets are the Orlando Premium Outlets on Vineland, since they have many of the better designer stores, but I have gotten lucky at the Orlando Premium Outlets on I-Drive as well. Be cognizant of the fact that just because you are buying from an Outlet, you are not always getting a deal. Many times, items are produced at a lower quality specifically for the Outlet. If you familiarize yourself with brands at their non-outlet locations, you will be able to spot the difference. Many states across the country have outlets so “seek and ye shall find”! If you are traveling you may need to purchase a suitcase at the outlet, because if you are even close to how insane I am, your purchases will not fit in your existing suitcase.

My personal favs are:

1. Tory Burch-My two-favorite pair of boots, 70-80% off retail

2. True Religion-Best fitting, most comfy jeans, deepest discounts. For example, Jeans at a $279 retail for $49

3. 7 for all Mankind-Same as above, discount not as deep but still over 50% off.

4. Coach (I do believe items are made specifically for the outlets, but the quality is nice and these bags last forever)

1. Ted Baker- Dresses under $100, 70% off retail

2. Karl Lagerfeld-Dresses and tops under $100, 70% off retail

3. Desigual-Jeans, Denim skirts and jackets, handbags, and accessories-70% off retail

4. Asics and New Balance-all types of sneakers from $20 to $50

5. Lululemon- Leggings, bike shorts, sports bras under $40

Oddly enough, I have never gotten lucky at Prada, Gucci, Burberry, and other high-end designers but I have not given up hope!

Do not waste your time at Express, The Loft, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Guess, and other such stores. If you need to shop at these stores, trust me, you are better off online. Occasionally, I will online shop these places for basic fill-ins like tees and tanks. The same goes for Sunglass Hut and Solstice. I have gotten much better deals online.

This brings me to Online shopping.

It did not take me too long to figure out my favorite designers in every category. I was able to decipher which brands fit me the best and which designers I could afford. Being a realist, I know that I must limit my purchases of certain very high-end designers even at deep discounts. Thanks to stores like Saks Off Fifth and Neiman Marcus Last call, I found that many of the Designers that were out of my league were now within my reach. I know we all hate incessant promotional emails, but I make sure to subscribe to my favorite designers’ emails because they all have promotions throughout the year, especially around holiday time. Imagine getting a $495 Tory Burch rain jacket for $105. Yup, that happened and it is only one example. Look for the subject line “flash sale” or “Extra X% off”. These are legit. There have been times when I dragged my feet and days later the prices were 20-50% higher. Live and learn.

I can go on and on since bargain hunting is one of my passions, but I will leave you with these few tips. Now more than ever we all need some retail therapy! Especially since we are not spending money on going out and traveling! You can check out some of my acquisitions on my Instagram @followthetoes!

Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!!!

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