My daughter has been my shopping protégé for years and she has slowly learned the tricks of the trade. But, she’s had to learn some valuable lessons along the way. She used to stop me on the way into a store to admire a fashionably dressed mannequin. She would then hear my familiar line, “We don’t shop in the front of the store.”
Why don’t we shop in the front of the store? Because… store fronts are filled with the latest and greatest full-priced items and any frugal fashion hunter knows that a bargain hunter seldom, if ever, pays full price for anything!
A frugal fashion hunter heads straight to the back of any store or scans the horizon for the sale racks in a larger department store. I do the same whether the store is a regular retail store or an outlet.
Sometimes the word outlet lures one into thinking everything will be cheaper than in the mainline store; however, I’ve discovered that many brands often manufacture clothing to be sold in their outlets. So, just because it’s an outlet, does not mean that the clothes are necessarily cheaper than in the mainline retail stores.
Typically, I don’t pay attention to any sale until it is at least 50% off and then that percentage depends largely on the type of store. The higher the original prices of a particular shop, the higher the percentage off must be to get my attention. For example, if the original price of a dress was $250.00, then I will not be enticed by a 50% off sale because I don’t pay $125.00 for my dresses.
Here’s an important rule of thumb…don’t try on anything that costs more than you are willing to pay. It is much easier to keep your resolve if you are not tempted by items that are priced outside of your budget.
A lot of my clothes are picked up here and there as I find things on sale. When it comes to shopping, I have predetermined thresholds…in other words, a clear idea of exactly how much I am willing to pay. Naturally, your thresholds will depend largely on your dispensable income.
I can usually tell at a glance if I am interested in a rack of clothes because I have clear guidelines in mind. Of course, there are times I pay more depending on the quality of the piece; especially if I am searching for a particular piece for a special occasion. But, most of my wardrobe is purchased within these guidelines.
The saying, “you get what you pay for” is true. Quality items cost more and are generally better constructed. My budget does not lessen my love of quality clothes. Consequently, my wardrobe is filled with designer brands that I’ve purchased at deep discounts.
In order to shop for quality clothing, you must understand the flow of clearance pricing. I typically shop in nicer shops and boutiques or department stores, but I don’t even look until the clothing is marked down at least 65%. Stores start to slash prices dramatically in anticipation of the new season’s line, so you can expect to find huge discounts in February/March for winter clothing and July/August for summer clothing.
The day of the week is also important. Most high-end department stores give an extra percentage off on the weekends. Also, make sure to make the most of holiday discounts. Remember, that weekend markdowns often start with a preview day on Thursday or Friday…the earlier you arrive, the better the selection will be.
Styles do evolve; however, major style changes seldom occur in a single season. Try shopping off-season to get pricey items at a fraction of the cost. Winter boots and coats are typically pricey items, so consider purchasing them a season ahead.
Even frugal fashion hunters will splurge on certain items. For example, I will pay more for leather accessories and quality jewelry pieces. I expect the prices of these items to be higher because the raw materials are more expensive.
Try mixing higher end items with cheaper items. A good mix-and-match pulls an outfit together and makes everything look like a cohesive whole.
A little patience goes a long way. Always keep a short list of staple items you would like to add to your wardrobe. Then, when you enter a store, you can sort through long racks of clearance clothing with a purpose in mind.
So, do you qualify as a frugal fashion hunter? For me, frugal fashion hunting is not merely a financial necessity, it makes shopping an exciting adventure!
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Just discovered your blog and love it, i am also in my 50’s and blog, its great to know you!Your advice is so helpful!
I’m so glad you found me! It is really encouraging to know that something I’ve written meets a need for you. I hope you’ll be back many times in the future!
Great to see you!
You make it clear people can have nice fashion and save money.
Thanks for bringing this to Pit Stop.
Janice, Pit Stop Crew
Thanks Janice. It’s important to me that women understand that fashionable doesn’t have to mean expensive.
Great advice that we should all adhere to, Shellie. Good to co-host #WW with you.
Thanks Donna! I enjoy sharing #OMHGWW with you too.
Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style. Great advices in this post.
brilliant tips! thanks so much for sharing on Passion4Fashion xx
great tips, SHellie :). And I really need to pay attention to that..don’t even try it if it’s beyond our budget ..
Hi Indah, it really does help to focus your search on items that fit into your budget!
This is great shopping advice for us fashion gals!! I am very much a budget shopper, and most of the time only buy sale items!
Great great advice here!!
Chic Fashion and Travel for the Mid Aged gal
Thanks Valerie, I appreciate the encouragement!
I just keep reminding myself that I currently have plenty enough nice clothes to wear.
That is important to realize; especially if you get to the place where you really don’t need to spend ANY money for a stretch!
Great suggestions. Thank you. I like to shop with cash. That way I can’t splurge and go way over because I’m using a card. Unless it’s an expensive item I’m looking for, I leave the card at home. Oh, and whenever my kids ask what I want for a birthday or Christmas gift, my husband is trained to suggest a clothing voucher. LOVE those!
That is an excellent way to keep from overspending, Shirley!
Great tips, Shellie! I am all about shopping sale racks and not trying things on I know are beyond my price point. I need to do better about seeking out designer items at deep discounts.
Great tips for all of us frugal fashionistas!
This is such a great list of advice. It can be tough to be frugal, especially when you find something expensive that you LOVE! I’m always careful to abide by your “don’t try on anything that costs more than you’re willing to pay” rule. So key!
Hi Alecz, it does take some discipline to be frugal. But I find that following a few guidelines allows me the freedom to shop anytime I want to because I never overspend.
I always shop the back of the store first and have also taught my daughter the same thing. She’s only 11 so there’s much training still ahead, but I’m always so proud when she looks at something and says, “This is still way too much money…I’ll wait.”
Good for you, Debbie. One thing I noticed from my daughter is that she really didn’t have a good idea of the spending thresholds that I listed in this post. I am actually going to write them all down for her before she goes to college.
You are so right about the outlets. I have a huge one near me & some of “my stores” carry lines made just for outlet shopping & the quality is poor. I shop sales at the outlets just like anywhere else. Good post, & as always, love your looks!
Thanks Cathy…I appreciate your encouragement!