The Ins and Outs of Budget Shopping for a Designer Wardrobe




Remember quality over quantity when creating a designer wardrobe

We’d all love our closets to be overflowing with designer clothes, but for most of us, that isn’t a realistic goal. When it comes to building your wardrobe, think about quality over quantity. A man can purchase one or two designer suits, along with a few dress shirts and sweaters, to last for several years. A woman should focus on various staple pieces that she can build her entire wardrobe around — a little black dress, a day suit, a white blouse, a couple of cardigans, and other essential items.

Before you buy anything, make sure that it goes with at least three other items that you already own. By mixing and matching your key wardrobe staples, you can extend your wardrobe. By wearing different accessories and shoes, you can create a number of completely different outfits.

Get familiar with designer collaborations

In order to find new ways to remain profitable during rough economic times, many top designers have partnered with big-box stores in high-low collaborations. These collections offer shoppers access to designer fashions at a fraction of the cost of original pieces. Generally, these collaborations are exclusive in the sense that the number of items in each line is limited and available for only a short period of time.

Since 2006, Target has teamed up with luxury designers with its GO international program. These collaborations with luxury brands offer Target shoppers the opportunity to buy designer clothes from a stylish yet affordable collection. Past and current designers include the likes of Anna Sui, Proenza Schouler, Rodarte, Thakoon, William Rast, Zac Posen, and many more. Target isn’t the only discount store to offer designer collaborations, however. Payless and Spiegel have partnered with Christian Siriano. Karl Lagerfeld is just one of the many designers to create a lower-priced line for Macy’s. Derek Lam designed an affordable collection for eBay, and the Lanvin, Jimmy Choo and Matthew Williamson lines for H&M have received plenty of attention. Kohl’s also carries designer clothing and accessories, created by Vera Wang and known as Simply Vera, while Alexander Wang and Stella McCartney are just a couple of the designers who have worked with Gap.

Sign up for flash sale Web sites for designer clothing

Years ago sample sales were exclusive events held in major cities such as New York where a shopper could find designer fashions at deep discounts. Often located in vacant storefronts, these word-of-mouth events lasted just a day or two and were usually full of crazed shoppers trying to get their hands on designer goods at amazingly low prices. In recent years, sample sale shopping has gotten a whole lot easier with the emergence of flash sale Web sites.

Instead of clamoring to the streets to find designer duds, consumers can simply join these invitation-only sites to shop from the convenience of home. These flash sale Web sites offer high-quality designer clothing, shoes, and accessories for men and women at prices up to 80 percent off retail. Most of these sales end within 36 hours, but many sell out much sooner. Therefore, you must be on top of the sales to get the best deals.

Invitation codes are easy to find online through search engines, and you don’t have to pay to sign up. Each site offers anywhere from a handful to 20 sales opening each and every day. Popular flash sale Web sites include,,,, and

Shop for designer pieces from thrift stores and consignment shops

Everything you buy doesn’t have to be new. You can actually get some of the best deals on designer clothing at thrift stores and consignment shops. Here you’ll find gently used items ranging from business suits and designer dresses to handbags and hats. Before purchasing something used, take into account the cost of any alterations or repairs that you may have to make.

If you don’t find what you are looking for on your first trip, talk to the store owner or manager to find out when fresh merchandise is stocked. Be patient and come back often in order to find some true treasures.

By familiarizing yourself with designer brands and shopping in the right places, you can build a designer wardrobe, no matter how small your budget.