How to Shop Designer Items for Less Money and Maximize Your Style

Lilly Pulitzer

I love style and fashion; looking good and being put together are so important to me. However, I am asked all the time why I buy what I buy, why I spend what I spend and why this, that or the other. The only thing that I can really say is that style is highly personal and very individualized. What I think looks good on me might not work for you, and what you are rocking might not look good on me. We are all our own person, and our look represents who we are on the inside. Don’t be fooled, however. You might see my LV and or my Lilly dresses and assume I waste money on fashion and know nothing about shopping on a budget or saving money; you’d be incorrect.

I know all about shopping on a budget and saving money at the store. Yes, I like designer clothes, shoes and accessories. But no, I don’t waste money on them. I have four small kids. I work from home, my husband works; we love to travel, kids are very, very expensive and we don’t like to waste money. That’s why I buy designer clothes and accessories. I’ve learned a lot in my almost 33 years about how to look good, when to spend, when not to spend and how to save money on clothes I adore.

I promise you that I probably spend less money on my wardrobe than people who shop at discount stores for cheap items all the time; it’s just because I shop smarter, and not cheaper. Believe it or not, saving money at the store is easier to do when you shop smart and not shop cheap. Don’t believe me? I know we all love to save money and we all love to look good, so take my advice.

Spend more on quality

If you see a Lilly Pulitzer dress for $98 and forgo it for a dress you see at Walmart for $18, you’re saving $80. That’s great savings. However, you’re probably going to wear that dress once or twice, wash it and see that it either shrinks or fades to the point that it looks old and used and you no longer want to wear it. Trust me; I’ve been there. That LP, however, is going to be a closet staple for the next 10 years. Trust me – the prints never go out of style (for us Floridians) and the looks is always chic and effortless. You might have saved $80 at first, but you’re saving hundreds on dresses over the life of this one dress since you can wear it all the time without any care. Quality over quantity, people.

Buy timeless pieces

I don’t buy a lot of clothes, but you won’t know that looking in my closet. It is filled with timeless pieces that never go out of style and that always receive a ton of compliments. I’m not even kidding you when I tell you I can wear the same top with skinny jeans and booties on a Friday night to a casual dinner and again on Sunday to church tucked into a high-waist, knee-length skirt with a flair and no one will notice it’s the same top. It’s all in how you buy pieces that are timeless and not trendy. That saves you a ton of money.  

Shop smart

I love a few very specific designers. I love Lilly Pulitzer, Diane von Furstenberg and Tory Burch more so than anyone else. Do I pay full price for those items? Sometimes, yes; when the buy is a good one. However, the trick is not to pay full price for any of them. The trick is to know when the sales are going to happen, especially since they don’t happen often with designer brands. I know, for example, that TB is going to offer a 30% off sale every so often, and it’s 30% off sale items. So, when I was coveting a pair of espadrilles recently, I knew the sale was coming up and that I’d save big. I saw them go on sale for $105 from $150, waited two weeks and got an additional 30% off my order – and free shipping. I paid $74.50 for them instead of $150. That’s half price.

I did the same thing with every pair of my Miller sandals, which you know are anywhere from $195-$225 depending on the color. I buy them when they’re marked down to $157 and then get 30% off. The same with my riding boots. With LP, I know there will be a sale every January and August and things are CHEAP. As in, those $198 dresses are going to be more like $50. I know that I have to shop fast, as soon as I wake up in the morning and not be too particular about what I get – it sells out fast. The good news is that everything she designs is classic, timeless and elegant so I don’t care too much about which items I get. Last January I paid $200 for 5 dresses and 2 pair of shorts and a cover-up for bathing suit season. I’ll hit that sale again in August and call it a day.

It’s all about how well you shop, and how well you dress yourself. You don’t have to buy a new outfit for every single occasion, but you do have to style things differently and choose items that are classic and timeless so that you can really max out your wardrobe and minimize your budget.

Photo by Getty Images


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