I am asked a lot about where I shop and how I snag such good deals on much of my wardrobe! The answer to that is really simple, I am a savvy shopper! Below, I share my shopping secrets so you too can be a savvy fashion shopper and get more style for your dollar!
So what is a savvy shopper? To me, being savvy is about knowing how and when to get the best deals at each of the stores I shop! Does it require some work? Absolutely, but putting in a little bit of time and effort does lead to me landing some sweet deals at my favorite stores! The time and effort put into finding these sweet deals is worth it to me but I also like to shop! If you are not a fan of shopping (gasp! Just kidding) read below and see how you can get sweet deals without all the leg work because I’ve already done that for you!
When I talk about the research behind being a savvy shopper, I am speaking of a variety of things depending on the store! For some stores, it’s checking the email marketing they’ve sent with their coupons and additional discounts. For other stores, I make sure to keep a stack of their mailed coupons or rewards I’ve earned! I also only shop sales and very rarely pay retail price unless I have rewards or major coupons to apply to that price! I’ve found this to single handedly be the best way to shop as much as I do and how to build a pretty vast wardrobe! Don’t pay retail price, there’s so many ways not to!
Here’s a list of some of my favorite stores and how to not pay retail price at each of them!
Altar’d State: They do multiple sales every year typically about mid-season as they prepare for the next! They start with 25% of their sale then go to 50% about a week later! Subscribe to their email list to be in the know about the sales and additional discounts! Additionally, they advertise other sales on their website such as buy one, get one 50% off regularly priced items.
Athleta: Athleta is my absolute favorite place for workout gear especially yoga pants! Athleta is a store that has a bit of a higher price point for athletic gear as compared to other stores or discount places however, the product quality is on point and well worth the higher price tag! For example, yoga pants are typically upwards of $80 but they last! I still have pairs that I purchased years ago! Athleta is one of those stores where the splurge is worth it!
However, there are good ways to get a deal at Athleta! There is always a sale section to peruse with decent discounts then they also do a major online sale at least twice a year and I suggest that you sign up for their emails to see when the sale launches! I found the key to the really great deals is getting on that sale right when it launches which is often pretty early in the morning (think 6am) because if you wait, it sells out quickly!
One additional tip for getting the most bang for your buck on workout gear at Athleta is if you have an Old Navy/Banana Republic/Athleta card then you can earn decent rewards between $5-$15 that you can compile and use at one time to get a huge discount without stipulations!
New York & Company: NY&C has sales pretty much all the time and the biggest key is to read all of the signage in store as well pay attention to email and mailed coupons! They often do email and mailed coupons such as spend $100 get $25 off where the more you spend, the more you save! Additionally, they offer City Cash based off amount spent which you can then use during the City Cash spending time! An additional tip is to ask the sales associates a lot to questions because the signage can be confusing!
Nordstrom Rack: Obviously Nordstrom Rack is known as a discount store already but there are ways to get even deeper discounts on already reduced items! The Rack periodically does a red tag clearance sale where the items are discounted even further and at times, items are an additional percent off! I typically shop the red tag sale areas like the shoes and clothes racks first for the best deals then move to the designer sections for even more deals! During the clear the rack sales, I’ve found clothing as low as $10 for designer names! There are many deals to be found if you join their email list to stay in the know!
JCrew & JCrew Mercantile: If you are lucky enough to have a JCrew Mercantile store near you then you definitely should start there! They have amazing quality items for much less than the store! The Mercantile store is also not an outlet which a lot of people think-the outlet has deep discounts but often has past season’s styles or products that didn’t sell as much in stores while the Mercantile stores has an entirely different set of merchandise!
The difference between the regular storefront and the Mercantile is the material quality which allows it to be sold for a smaller price point as well as for there to be more of a discount! I find the quality to be every bit as good there as of the regular store pieces so this shouldn’t keep you away at all!
The Mercantile store offers a daily 30-50% off the retail price of the entire store with the sale items typically being at an additional discount sometimes as high as 50%! The JCrew store often found in the mall does a few good sales a year but nothing compared to the Mercantile stores! The regular store will offer sale items that are only discounted $20-$30 in my experience but will mark these down to an additional percentage off every now and then! At times, regular retail priced items will be on sale with a 20-30% discount and on rare occasions you may even see 50% which is definitely a good time to buy!
Anthropologie: I am a huge fan of Anthro but I don’t like their super high price points! My secrets for getting Anthro items at prices that don’t break the bank is to subscribe to their emails to learn about their big sales and make my way in store (online if you don’t have one close by) when their sale section is on sale! They typically do this when they are prepping for the next season so like now, summer into fall, their sale section is discounted 50% allowing shoppers to get multiple items priced less than $50 each which for Anthropologie is a sweet deal! One additional tip is for online only and that is the AfterPay option which allows you to split your purchase payment over four installments! So rather than drop $200 on a dress, you can split your payments into four installments that are charged every two weeks!
DSW: DSW isn’t necessarily my go to for shoes except when they are doing really great sales! Typically they have a large selection of shoes that are marked down ranging from 30-60% off! This section is usually in the far back of the store and uses a color coded system plus includes signage so you don’t have to do any of the math! The best sales happen when they do an additional 20% off the clearance which is already reduced! During these times, you can get some really awesome designer shoes for out of this world prices! My advice, start at the back of the store in the sale section before looking at the rest of the options!
Local & Online Boutiques: I love myself a local boutique but find them to be the hardest to get good deals at unless you really know what you are doing! For instance, when I travel, I always make it a point to check out at least one boutique in that area but I don’t always buy something because it depends on the value of the item for the price point it’s at!
Boutiques are less likely to have as good of sales especially on current retail merchandise and I get it as they are running a small business and trying to turn a profit! So how do you get a good deal at these shops that often have great pieces but higher price tags? You start by inventorying what you like and feel like you really don’t have! This will keep you from buying something that you could find elsewhere or something very similar to what you may already have!
Then you start checking the price points and comparing it to the quality of the item-is it a good quality item? Can you get multiple uses out of it? Do you already know where you can wear it and how to wear it? If you answered yes to those questions then it sounds like a decent buy! Lastly, determine the value to you! Is this dress worth the $75.00 price tag or would you rather spend that money on 2 or 3 items at another store? Only you can answer that!
I find that purchasing items at local boutiques and even online can be a great way to get pieces that you won’t find anywhere else and often make the perfect occasion dress or outfit therefore they are worth a little bit of a splurge! Blog post coming soon of my favorite online and in-person boutiques!
Discount Fashion Stores Best Buys
Here is what I find to be the best fashion items to buy at the “big” discount stores! Though I shop these less than other places, I do like to grab some items from these places that I know I will wear only once or twice for more casual functions or outings! The quality may be less but then again, so is the price point!
- Shoes from a variety of great designers (Sam Edelman, Ninewest, Chinese Laundry, Dolce Vita, Coach, Michael Kors)
- Casual yet stylish dresses from the juniors section-all no big name brands but on trend, stylish and cheap (typically less than $25)
- Sweaters also from less known brands but follow the current season’s trend and tons of variety for really great prices
- Peruse the sale section for deeper discounts often under $20
- Dresses for work and everyday use from brands such as Calvin Klein, Ninewest, Michael Kors, Catherine Malandrino, BCBG
- Shoe brands similar to TJ Maxx but often less expensive but also with less options
- Dresses from the juniors section are often a hit too coming in at prices less than $20 and of good style quality