I don’t know that I’ve ever received a compliment on a clothing item without me responding by shouting a 20 or less dollar amount. I can’t help it, I am extremely proud of the prices I pay for things. To me “I love your dress” combined with “thanks, and it was only $12!” just makes the dress even more lovable.
It wasn’t until my boyfriend kindly suggested that bragging about my bargains ruined the illusion. What illusion? I’m not trying to fake that I’m rich, I’m proud that I shop like I’m broke. For reals, even when I’m a wealthy superstar I still plan to shop the sale racks because the rush of knowing I got a $100 top for $10 is like an orgasm for my wallet.
But good prices don’t just expose themselves so blatantly, sometimes you have to do some shopper sleuthing to get sweet deals. Here’s some tips on how to finagle fashion for a fraction of the price:
- Go online before you go into the store. Before you shop a larger retailer (I know for certain this works for Macy’s and Urban Outfitters) check the website for sales. Many stores will honor the online sale price helping you avoid online shipping fees and delivery wait time. Often items that go on sale online end up going on sale in the store soon after, but by snagging the online sale price price before it goes on sale in the store you’ll have a better selection of sizes and colors. I suggest filling your online shopping cart with items you want, then checking the cart every few days to see if the price dropped (hey, you’re already online Googling “how to ask out my dentist” why not use that web surfing time to find something stylish to wear on that potentially awkward date?) Also by having the items in your cart you can simply show it to the cashier on your smart phone, making it easier for them to confirm the online sale price.
- Stalk your item after you buy. Lots of retailers will offer price adjustments on items that go on sale 14 days after you purchased it. So if you find something you really love and there aren’t many left, buy it and keep the receipt then keep an eye on the item online and in the store to see if it goes on sale. Worse case scenario, it doesn’t go on sale and after looking at it hanging in your closet for two weeks you realized you really have no use for a totally sheer neon green skirt anyhoo so you return it.
- Shop at the end of the season. Stores are a few months “ahead of the weather” which means they’re putting out fall sweaters during an early September heatwave and putting all those skimpy tanks on the clearance racks. Because most retail stores are getting new stuff all the time, most items are marked down after about 4-8 weeks so feel free to ask a sale associate when an item came in so you can mentally keep track of when it’ll make its way to the sale section. And as more new stock enters the store, the more they mark down the left overs, for example Urban Outfitters already has a great sale rack, then every season they have a “take an additional 30% sale items” event. Last week I got this $149 KNT dress for $13.99! As the cashier rang me up I was internally twirling my evil moustache maniacally laughing at the poor fool who also owns this dress but paid full price, woo hoo hahaha!
- Make online friends. Lots of retailers have Twitter and Facebook accounts and they will often post news of short term sales or discount codes on their pages and feeds. Friending or following your favorite store is good way to get extra savings. Also Pinterest can be a cool place to find bargains, people pin items from all different sources so if there’s a dress you’ve been crushing on, type it into the search and someone may have pinned it or something similar for less from a shopping site or smaller retailer that you never knew about.
- Small town skimming. Anytime I go home to the suburbs of Boston I hit up Marshalls and TJ Maxx. You are much more likely to find good stuff at a suburban off-price retailer than at one located in a major city (ugh, have you ever been to the Manhattan Marshalls? It’s always full of XXXL PJ bottoms and single shoes). In a big city, all the fancier stuff gets snag up quick, take a drive somewhere where folks tend to wear sensible shoes so you can have your pick of all the not-so-sensible-but-amazing-stilettos.
Got it? Good! Now next time someone says “nice jacket” get ready to respond with a number, a very teeny tiny gorgeous number.