I still have the first designer piece I ever purchased. I had saved up a little money from modeling and bought this Missoni dress I'm wearing in the picture above. At the time, it was a small fortune. But Missoni is timeless--and guess what? I still wear it. Yes, it's a little tight. But that point is--it still almost fits!
With that said, I believe in spending money on your core wardrobe (aka core'drobe) and investing in forever fashion that you'll wear over and over again. But I also love a good deal and sale as much as anybody. Luckily, there are ways to buy forever fashion at a reasonable price.
Here are some of my tips for fashion-forward frugality straight from my book, The Everyday Supermodel:
- Shop Vintage, Consignment, & Thrift Stores: You have to be patient and you have to look, but you can find incredible finds and even core classics and expensive labels. This is a great way to secure signature or fun pieces that no one else will have and you will have acquired for a steal! You can often score gently worn designer handbags here at a fraction of the retail price.
- Clothes Swap: Get together with fashion-minded friends and have some fun. Trade items you are over for items they are over. You can refresh your wardrobe for the cost of a shared bottle of wine. Also, there are great swapping sites like Swap Style and Snob Swap. These are fab online places to swap pieces that aren’t designer.
- Cash Out When You Closet Clean: Using sites like Ebay and Etsy is a great way to sell directly to consumers. Poshmark and Tradesy are also excellent for cashing out your clothes. They are especially good with designer pieces. For mid-range pieces, try finding a store like Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads in your area.
- Flash Sites, Sales, Discount Retailers, & E-Tailers: This has become all the rage and you can get incredible deals. Warning: do not buy something just because it’s on sale. Even if you are getting a huge discount, you should still LOVE it. Whether it’s $10 or $1,000, don’t buy anything you don’t love. Think about it, all those “cheap” impulse purchases that you’ve never worn could have been that one designer piece you’ll have forever!
- Wake Up Your Wardrobe: If you have a nice-fitting blouse or coat that could be beautiful if it wasn’t for the cheap buttons—swap them out for nicer ones. Same goes for a skirt with a cheesy belt or poor-quality zipper—replace them with quality pieces and you’ll upgrade your look.
- Keep ‘Em Separated: Instead of buying a dress or jumpsuit—buy separates. You will always get more use out of them because separates are simply more versatile.
- Leasing Luxury: Websites and stores like Rent The Runway and Lending Luxury allow you to “lease” fancy designer pieces for a few days at affordable prices, usually around 5-15% percent of the retail cost. You can look like a million bucks without spending it. Another word of advice: Have social media savvy. If you know you are going to be photographed a lot, and splashed all over Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram wearing something don’t spend a lot on it. You likely won’t want to wear it again. This is when a great knockoff, or rental dress comes into play.
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.