No-Guilt Designer Shopping Tips For Recession-Proof Style

by Sehin Belew 

It’s true; I am not rich. I am a typical consumer, albeit one who has developed a philosophy of spending more to save more. By that I mean I would much rather save up my money, be patient, and purchase one luxury item rather than buy things as soon as I have a few extra dollars. I believe quality, not quantity, is what matters.

I cannot emphasize this enough: it is far better to buy one good outfit than 10 cheap ones. Do yourself a favor and don’t buy something you do not need just because it happens to be on sale. No matter what the price is, if you don’t need it (and ultimately end up pushing it into the back of the closet, never to be worn), it becomes a total loss and therefore no bargain. And always buy what looks best on you. Why not? You deserve nothing less!

Who’s Your Designer?

Despite what I just said, I don’t mean I enjoy buying my designer clothes at their full retail prices. Not at all. Instead, I buy the best for the lowest price, as I will soon explain. Through the years I have been able to determine which designers I prefer. All of my outfits are from Escada now, because I know they will fit me perfectly. I can wear the label straight from the rack, whether it is a pair of jeans or an evening gown.

Like me, you will need to find one or more designers whose clothes fit well and also flatter your figure. Once you’ve figured that out, see if their clothes are available at outlet stores. Fortunately for me, there are about six Escada outlet boutiques throughout the country.

Still, I have to admit that I don’t really like shopping for clothes. I’m not a fan of wandering for hours around malls or shopping centers, going into multiple stores and ending up with little or nothing to show for it. Nowadays, I can replenish my wardrobe in only two days a year! Now that I have a go-to designer, one whose styles, fabrics and (outlet) prices I like, it’s all incredibly simple. I merely go to an outlet boutique twice a year, select maybe two pieces to rotate into my closet and that’s it. Now, you don’t necessarily have to stay with only one designer but it certainly works for me. It’s simplified my life tremendously and gives me more free time to spend in other ways.

Outlets Stores

Some top designers have outlet stores. When the clothes don’t sell in the boutiques, at the end of the season they are stored away to be sold in the outlet stores the following year. When the clothes make it to these outlets, they are priced at about 50 percent of what they sell for at the boutiques. From there, the markdown will range from 25 percent additional all the way to around 90 percent of the original price.

Timing is Everything

The best time to buy your clothes is in between seasons. At the very end of each season, stores need the space for new merchandise, so they are motivated to lower prices for their biggest sales. The winter sale usually takes place the week leading Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Day. Expect the late summer sale to be in the week leading to Labor Day. Of course, the actual dates differ from store to store, but it’s worth to find out exactly when. Usually, once you become a customer, the store will send you a card telling you when the sale is going to be. After all, if you only need two days out of the year to purchase for your wardrobe, make them count!

I come from a large family of six children. Still, my mother always managed to buy us the very best clothing and shoes she could afford. In fact, she did the same when it came to food or items for our home. She never, ever compromised on quality. That obviously left an impression on me. I learned first-hand that in the long run, quality is more efficient in both time and economics.

Author Bio: Former Miss Ethiopia Sehin Belew is an image and style consultant and the author of Fabulous for Less, Former Miss Ethiopia’s Smart Guide to Beauty, Health and Fashion. For more style and beauty tips go to http://www.befabulousforless.com.

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