Paying for Expensive Clothes: 7 Ways to Get High End Clothes for Less

Are you dreaming of a designer wardrobe on a department store budget?

Designer clothes make you feel confident and on-trend. For some people, they're a status symbol or even a requirement for jobs that rely on image. They're also much better made than cheaper options, which makes them a good investment.

But you may not always have enough extra cash to afford those quality clothes. Affording high end clothes takes a little creativity when your budget is limited.

Growing your designer wardrobe over time and knowing when to buy helps you fill your closet with high end labels. Shopping around and snagging discounts helps you grow your collection faster. No one will ever know you paid less than retail.

Use these tricks to get cheap designer clothes.

1. Buy Timeless Pieces Over Time

Expensive designer clothes aren't the best route when you want trendy. You spend a large amount on something you'll only wear for a short time before it goes out of fashion. If you don't think you'll still wear a piece in a year, it's probably not worth the investment.

Instead, spend your designer dollars on versatile, timeless pieces to get more use out of them. Pick pieces you can wear in different ways to keep it looking fresh. You can pair a designer blazer with jeans and a tee for a casual look or with a dress or slacks for a dressed-up style.

You don't have to buy all of the timeless designer pieces at once. Gradually building up your collection spreads out the cost. Instead of buying 10 new cheaper pieces for your wardrobe every month, add one or two high end items that will last longer.

2. Watch for Discounts or Clearance

Designer clothes don't go on sale as often as items at department stores or cheaper mall shops. But you can find items for a discount at the end of the season or as the designer comes out with new lines. Shop those discounted options and watch for sales to get designer clothes for less.

If you shop for clothes online, add the items you want to your virtual shopping cart. Keep an eye on the cart periodically to see if the price drops. You can easily spot the items that went down in price so you know when to buy.

Signing up for email notifications from your favorite shops and designers is another way to stay informed. Watch for email alerts for sales and specials.

3. Buy Secondhand

The designer clothing secondhand market is a good way to buy cheap designer clothes that other people no longer want. Even if a designer piece is lightly used, it's still likely better quality than cheaper clothes. Secondhand designer clothing is also a good way to score high end looks that are no longer available for retail purchase.

Look for a local consignment shop that only sells high end clothes. Those shops usually have high standards for the clothing they accept, so you know it'll be in good condition. It's still a good idea to look for stains, rips, and other damage before buying.

You can also find secondhand designer clothing for sale online. Selling sites and apps, including Facebook Marketplace, can help you dig up some designer clothes at a discounted rate.

4. Shop Around

Getting discount name brand clothing may require you to look around at more than one store. Scope out the local and online retailers that carry your favorite designer brands. If you find something you like at one, compare the prices at other stores to see where you can find it cheapest.

Many of your favorite luxury clothing retailers may have outlets for closeout pieces and leftover clothing. Saks Fifth Avenue has its Saks Off 5th site for example. They may not be the newest fashions, but you'll get pieces at a cheaper price point.

Another option is to shop flash sites that offer discounted designer clothing sales for a short time. Zulily and HauteLook are two options. These sites often give you referral credits if you get friends to sign up, which you can use toward buying more clothes.

5. Rent High End Clothes

Do you fall in and out of love with designer clothes quickly? If you constantly change your look or want fresh styles regularly, consider high end clothing rental services, such as Rent the Runway or Le Tote.

These services typically charge a monthly fee. They send you designer clothing, which you can wear as much as you want. You send the clothes back, and they send you more.

This option helps you control your costs because you only pay the monthly fee. The drawback is you're spending money, but you don't actually get any clothes to keep forever. Some services let you buy the pieces you rent at a discount, so you may have the option to keep something you love at a lower price.

6. Mix It With Cheaper Clothes

Not everything you wear needs to bear a designer label. Pick a few standout high end pieces to serve as the star of your outfit. Pair those pieces with cheaper pieces.

Pick new designer pieces that work with things you already have in your closet so you can start wearing them right away even if you can't afford an entire designer outfit. The designer piece draws all of the attention. No one will notice that other pieces are from other stores.

7. Save for Clothes

When you see a designer piece you love, you want it now. But saving up for the expense is a smarter financial decision. It gives you more freedom to buy what you want without throwing off your budget.

Set aside a certain amount from each paycheck to go toward your designer clothing budget. Financial experts often recommend setting aside 5% of after-tax income for clothes.

Starting a separate bank account just for your clothing budget or withdrawing the money and keeping it as cash in an envelope ensures that money goes toward clothes. It also keeps you from going over budget when you shop.

Some people choose to finance high end clothes. Going into debt over a designer look isn't for everyone. Charging an expensive wardrobe can leave you paying for clothes long after you stop wearing them.

Some people don't mind financing their clothing through no credit check loans or credit cards that offer rewards. If you go this route, make a plan for paying off the financed amount as quickly as possible. You'll end up paying a lot more in finance fees if you drag it out longer than necessary.

Look Good on Less

With a solid strategy, you can get high end clothes and still afford your mortgage. Waiting it out, shopping around, and avoiding traditional retail can get you in the designer clothes you want with a smaller price tag.

Check out more of our fashion articles to learn how to style those new clothes or to help you decide which pieces to buy.


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