When it comes to my wardrobe one of the questions I often get asked is “where did you get that?” which is usually followed by, “how did you get such a great deal?” It got me thinking about how I’ve procured things over the years, so I thought I’d share some tips for how I find the best items at great prices.
1) Window shop often.
By far and away, the reason I find unique pieces at great prices is because I’m always window shopping. It’s really that simple. Always be on the lookout. Get to the point where you know your favorite store’s merchandise as well as the sales associates. When your radar’s always up, you can hone in on the diamonds in the rough.
Think of it this way. Ever wonder why interior designers have such stunning homes? Sure, they have great taste. But they’re constantly sourcing items for clients, giving them access to hundreds of pieces each week to choose from. Knowledge is power.
What if you hate to shop or can’t shop often? Recruit a friend who does like to shop (we all have one). I know the shoe and dress sizes of all my close friends and family members. Anytime I come across something I think they’d like, I text them a picture.
Or, embrace the beauty of online shopping and flash sale sites. Gilt, Hautelook, MyHabit, Rue La La and Ideeli are your friends. I recommend setting up alerts when your favorite brands or items go on sale for even more of a leg up.
2) Shop without agenda.
I used to get annoyed when I walked into a store and an associate asked me, “what are you shopping for” until a friend told me it was a perfectly acceptable question to ask. The only time I’ve ever been able to answer that question is while searching for my wedding dress. Case in point? To find the best deals you have to shop without a specific agenda. It is 1000 times easier to find an amazing dress at a great price when you aren’t even looking for it. Ignore the little voice that says “but I don’t have anything to wear this to”. Trust me, that moment will present itself. Studies have shown that when you’re searching for something specific, you won’t find that perfect item or you will vastly overpay for it.
3) Shop girls/boys.
Like many things in life, it all comes back to who you know. By building relationships with sales associates at your favorite stores, you gain insider access to the best information so you can pounce on it first. Ask when they get fresh trucks each week so you know when new merchandise hits. The awesome ladies and gents of Nordstrom’s shoe and handbag departments send me a text anytime something comes in that they think I’d like. This also applies to sales, or if there’s a return of a hard-to-get item in my size. Sales associates love helping people find items they covet and they want to build their book of business, so it’s a win-win relationship.
4) Know your sizes.
A lot of the best deals are found online, especially in the flash sale sites noted above. Also check out Matches Fashion and Farfetch (free shipping on your first purchase by signing up through the link), two of my favorite online shops for finding unique pieces. When it comes to online shopping, the biggest obstacle preventing us from clicking “Purchase” is the worry that it won’t fit, coupled with a cumbersome return process.
If there is a particular brand you’re interested in owning, go into their store and try the line on. By knowing what size you are in say, Rag & Bone jeans, you can take advantage of online sales much easier by eliminating any sizing and fit uncertainty. Again, knowledge is power.