Ever since I was old enough to spend my chore money on Vogue, I’ve been in love with designer fashion, and after studying and working in the industry for four years, I’ve found an even deeper appreciation for the creativity, craftsmanship, and talent that goes into high end fashion.
These clothes will last for years and years, and they’re more ethically and sustainability made than their cheap, fast fashion counterparts.
The one downside is, of course, the price tag. For those of us (like me!) who live on a pretty strict budget, it’s hard to justify retail prices. But I’ve been able to curate a pretty decent closet of designer items, and today I’m spilling all my secrets.
In case you need proof, here’s the breakdown of the outfit in this post:
Sandro Suit - Retail $800 - I paid $130
J.Crew Tank - Retail $50 - I paid $20
Reebok Sneakers - $80 - I paid $55
Cushnie et Ochs Handbag - Retail $1600 - I paid $80
Convinced now? Read on
Sample sales are without a doubt the #1 way I snag designer items. If you live in NYC, you have unparalleled access to designer sample sales every single day. 260 sample sale has locations in NYC and LA (see their calendar here) and you can pop your favorite brands sales into your calendar! I always go the first morning at about 8:30 to make sure I get the best stuff!
You can also find out about smaller ones by following the brands Instagram account! Most smaller designers host them in their own showrooms, and will announce via social media!
And if you don’t live in NYC or LA, check the calendar if you’re visiting, or find a sample sale in the city closest to you! Big cities like Chicago, Dallas and more will all have them if you do a little research!
Vintage & Consignment Shops
If you’re willing to do a little treasure hunting, vintage and consignment shops are gold mines for finding designer pieces at amazing prices. Check out ones in your city, or some of my favorite NYC spots:
If you’re looking for something specific, online resellers like EBay and Poshmark are great places to look! I’d be a little weary of buying bags on here, but clothes are generally authentic (get tags if you can!).
If you just want to browse, TheRealReal is an easy place to filter by your size and favorite designers. They tend to be a little more expensive, but you can ‘heart’ items you like and watch them! They also have a pay in installment system which is very handy! (Dangerous though...)
Rent The Runway
If you’re super new to the world of designer, or just not into the hunt, Rent The Runway has services to rotate designer items through your closet for a monthly subscription fee! The downside is that you don’t own the pieces, but if you fall in love with an item, you can keep it at essentially a sample-sale price!
Happy designer hunting!