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!