How To: Score a Designer Closet on a College Budget

A jacket, ruffled shirt, belt, and pair of jeans hanging on a clothes rack for shopping.

This is an updated article from 2014, which I feel is still relevant today. You can find the original here.

In fashion, there are two ways to buy clothes, in a store or online. In my book, paying the retail price is a rookie mistake. For example, I wouldn’t buy a $300 designer top at a department store when I could buy it for $70 at a discount or outlet store. Here my top 3 ways to shop till you drop (without emptying your wallet):

Discount Stores

I mostly go to discount stores to find a great deal. Sometimes, I don’t even know what I’m looking for, but then I somehow find exactly what I wanted. For example, this week, I went to Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH (their retail outlet) for a pair of flats, and they didn’t have my size. Then, I walked around the store and saw an awesome leather & tweed jacket that I had wanted weeks back. Now it was on clearance plus an extra 60% off! Patience pays off with discount shopping.

Woman in active wear shopping through clothes on a rack.

Mark Zamora / Unsplash


Then there are the department store sales. “Annual Sale!” “Holiday Sale!” It’s all a plan to get people to buy something, usually more than what they actually came to buy. As a smart shopper, I don’t just buy anything. I have a plan. When I go to a department store, it’s either window shopping, researching trends, or a sale is going on and I want to check it out. Either way, I’m glad I went, even if I didn’t buy anything!

Store window design with 70% written on the glass for shopping.

Daniel von Appen / Unsplash

Consignment Stores

Another way to find a great score is through consignment shopping. Sometimes the word “consignment” can have a negative stigma. It’s not as simple as used clothes. You can find a really cool vintage or designer items. I love going to these stores because the merchandise is diverse and interesting! My favorite consignment shop is Poshmark, an online market place where users buy and sell clothes that are either new or gently used. I’ve personally seen items up for more than 70% off the retail price!

Woman shopping and looking through a rack of clothes.

Becca McHaffie / Unsplash

Shopping isn’t just a hobby. For some, it’s a way of exploring your creativity through fashion. Leave your best shopping tips in the comments below!

Until my next post, fashionistas! As always, I love my lovely readers!



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A jacket, ruffled shirt, belt, and pair of jeans hanging on a clothes rack.


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