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Blog

A fashion blog about weekend style

 

My Best Shopping Secrets

Jessica Wagner

White Lace Dress

Ok guys! I’m spilling all! I have a few tricks I use when shopping to score high-end items at a budget-friendly price.

Exhibit A: The Little White Dress

White and lace will have you ready for springtime brunch, cocktails, picnics and all the on-coming parties in between.


Splurge // Save

Guess which dress is more expensive...

The one on the right is the save! Originally $195, I nabbed mine on sale at Nordstrom Rack for $18. Here’s how.

The dress on the left is by Self Portrait and costs $$$. I was charmed after seeing it on it-girl fashion bloggers, and parading across Pinterest… but it will set you back roughly $500 (aka not in my budget.) I put “white lace dress” on my LIST so I would remember to scout one out.

I found the dress on the right, by Romeo + Juliet Couture marked down to $35 and then got an additional discount because the zipper was broken. This same dress was originally almost $200. You guys – I mean there is no other way to shop! You can’t get a dress anywhere this lovely for that price. My rock-star seamstress fixed the zipper for a few dollars. You can’t beat it. 

1. Bargin Hunt

Now, I know barging hunting is not for everyone, but this a great option for anyone on a budget, or for someone who likes name brands at a lower price. It's an affordable way to keep up with fashion and trends. I am a born and bred bargain shopper... (my mom is the Queen, I am her heiress.) I will splurge for special occasions, or when I find something that is just too good to pass up. My advice is to be a bargain shopper. This means something different to everyone, but look for discounts, shop off-price realtors, compare prices, shop sale and outlets. It’s smart! And I know you are a smart clever girl. I also love second-hand and vintage stores (that's where I found these pink vintage Gucci mules for a steal. ) Places like TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack are full of name-brand and designer fashions at a fraction of the price. It’s a great way to be able to afford high-end items. On-line sites like Poshmark are also golden for tracking down a sold-out item or high-end designer clothes and accessories.

2. Buy Less, Choose Well

AKA make sure the juice with worth the squeeze. This is becoming one of my most important guidelines when making a purchase. You want a $500 dress but only have a $50 dress budget. You either need to save up, or be uber resourceful. Most likely you will find another dress that is just as good and save you money for something better. Learn to set aside that instant gratification impulse. It's like working a muscle – you need to use it regularly to reap the benefits. Do not - I repeat - do not put that thing on your credit card. Sticking to a budget will help you shop with conviction. Impulse buys rarely leave you feeling satisfied, in fact they leave you with a shirt that doesn't fit after one wash. Saving up to earn that special item gives you time to consider where your money is going. The bottom line – invest in classics, it will benefit your closet in the long run.

3. WAIT FOR IT.

REPEAT AFTER ME: There will always be cute stuff to buy.

This a little trick I like to play on myself when I need talked down from an impulse buy, because this happens ALL THE TIME. I fall in looovvveeee with something and have to have it. (I mean every other instagram scroll or Pinterest binge puts me in a want/need/pretty please frame of mind.) With everything available on-line it’s almost too convenient. It’s easy to click “add to cart” and never look back. Practice this mantra with me guys: There will always be cute stuff. ALWAYS. That exact seemingly perfect item might not always be there, or it might go and sale, and hey, look at you saving money and being clever. I promise eventually something better will come along. There will always be pretty dresses to buy and gorgeous heels to wear. So when you’re feeling sad about not being able to afford something (or know you will get in trouble if you come home with another pair of shoes) remember these things always come back around. 

4. The Want // Need List

Keep a running list of items you would like to add to your wardrobe. Mine is on my phone so I can glance it over any time. This can include a new pair of running shoes, a retro pair of sunglasses or a cocktail dress for a beach wedding. It will help you remember what you are looking for (so don’t even try on those cute hot pink rain boots in your size that you will only wear once because they don’t go with anything.) I like to keep this list to classic capsule wardrobe pieces, a few seasonal items and maybe a trend or two. You might see you change your mind on some of the items as you wait for a deal, or they come and go out of style. 
 

5. EDIT

Clean out your closet on the regular, not once a year. If you can’t keep up, at least try to edit down each season. I love to donate, and recycle. Let your closet breath. It will also help showcase your current style, as whatever you were wearing a couple years ago might not represent who you are now. Sites like Poshmark or Ebay are great resources for selling your gently used name brands. (Shop mine here!) I set the money I make aside to put back into my closet. Sort of like a one in – one out idea. Move on if doesn’t fit anymore, you only wore it once, or toss if it is damaged (stains, holes.)  I could write a whole post on this (maybe I will!) as it’s an area I think a lot of us struggle with. (A closet full of clothes and nothing to wear!) Also, this helps you see what you love and what gets the most airtime. Those are the pieces that cue you in to your favorite style and what you should emulate.


A couple other quick tips…

-Know the brand and their return/shipping policy. 30 days is pretty standard, but on-line can be different. If you are on the fence, bring it home and see how it looks. Put in on with the shoes and the bag. (I do this all the time – I don’t buy it and then I can’t stop thinking about it /talking about it and end up getting it anyway.) I rather have the option to return it, if it doesn’t work out.

-Try on a zillion things. (Although this can be a gamble – everything looks good or nothing works lol.) It never hurts to give something a try. I think this is how I find a lot of my favorite unique items. Snap a pic in the fitting room! It’s like having another set of eyes.

-Share. Borrow. Find a friend who wears the same size shoes and you just doubled your shoe collection. Swap clothes. I borrow from my sisters all the time and it really saves money. There are sites you can rent clothes from as well. Especially when you want something new for vacation or a special event. You know all your girlfriends have pretty wedding guest dresses hanging in their closet waiting to be worn again.

I hope some of these help, as I get asked this question fairly often - how do you afford to buy new clothes all the time?! The answer is I am a fox when it comes to clothes. (What kind of animal are you when shopping? Comment below!) I literally shop like a frantic animal on the hunt!! I have a tight budget. I don’t always stick to it – but I am honest about everything I buy to keep myself accountable. (Who doesn’t like to splurge on something nice that they just looooove?! ) I enjoy nothing more than curating the perfect outfit for any given occasion. It’s my “art.” If you are like me, this is the way to go (and if you are paying attention I am happy to share anything in my closet!) I guess what I am saying is, if you love to shop you have to practice smart shopping habits in order to maintain a fresh dream closet to actually choose from. Buy from ethical fashion brands, shop local and invest in the classics and know simple in always in style.


Outfit Details:
Dress: Romeo + Juliet Couture (sold out, but was here, love this one) Hat: Old (love this one) Shoes: Vintage Gucci Pink Logo Print Mules (similar here) Bag: Jessica Simpson Lorelei Clutch (similar here) Watch: Old (also love this one) Lips: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Baci

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What are your favorite shopping tips!?! Share in the comments below!