When building your core wardrobe aka your cor’drobe, invest what you can, where you can, and when you can. If you have the cash, by all means go out and check everything off your wish list. But we are all working with different budgets. What you spend on your investment pieces and what someone else does will be different. Most of us invest slowly in the most important pieces and acquire them over time. If I can find a high-quality, classic black blazer from H&M or Zara (and I don’t have to spend a lot of money on it) = SCORE! Today you can find well-made pieces at affordable prices.
Even though I love spending money on my core wardrobe, I still love to save and love a deal as much as anybody. Here are some tips and tricks on how to get luxe for less:
- 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 SwapStyle and DesignSwap. These are fab online places to swap pieces that aren’t designer.
- Cash Out When You Closet Clean: Using sites like ebay and etsy are a great way to sell directly to consumers. TheRealReal, Tradesy, and ShopHers are also excellent for cashing out your clothes. They are especially good with designer pieces, not as good on your midrange clothes.
- Flash Sites, Sales, & E-Tailers: This has become all the rage and you can get incredible deals. Warning: do not buy on sale just because it’s a spanking deal. Even if you are getting a huge discount, you should still absolutely 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 the 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 RentTheRunway allow you to “lease” fancy designer pieces for a few days at affordable prices, usually around 5-15% of the retail price. 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 a rental dress comes into play.
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.