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Blogging about fashion is an expensive endeavor for many. But, my friends, I am glad to mention it doesn’t have to be. When I first started blogging my friends often asked me how I am able to afford my clothes. I told them and no, it doesn’t involve committing a misdemeanor or felony, nor does it require being “courted” by a rich man. Truth be told that fashionable clothes don’t always cost an arm and a leg. And if there is something that you can’t live without that does come with an expensive price tag, simply borrow it from the store : ) But, for those that don’t have the nerve or energy to buy and return (it can be exhausting), there is a booming industry of discount stores that sell once expensive items of clothing for bargains. Take advantage!!!

 

NORDSTROM RACK ($$)

Nordstrom Rack attempts to sell old and unpopular items from Nordstrom's previous inventory. Anything in which they had a surplus that did not sell during clearance sales would thus be transferred here. But just because people didn’t want it last season doesn’t mean it isn’t fashionable today.

Because the “rack” is the last-stop before the Salvation Army, the prices are greatly decreased! Nordstrom is happy to get whatever they can from it. A friend of mine worked for Nordstrom for years and told me that most of the merchandise at the Nordstrom Rack is at least half off the original price! For example, a high end designer winter jacket that caught my eye at Nordstrom retailed for $750. By time Spring came around, that same designer coat was on sale at the Nordstrom Rack for $125! For luxury clothing that is brand new and never used, that is an awesome deal!

 

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE: OFF 5TH ($$$)

Saks Fifth Avenue: Off 5th is a similar concept to Nordstrom Rack but with slightly higher end items. The place is full of designers such as Gucci, Kate Spade, and Coach (thankfully they don’t waste my time by carrying Michael Kors). It originally began as a clearinghouse for Saks Fifth Avenue. Over time, it grew into its own brand that now hosts over 800 designer names and hundreds of thousands of luxury pieces at a great discount price! In addition to the already affordable cost, they have a rewards program for frequent shoppers to receive even more bonus mark downs and store credit!

Unlike other department store subsidiaries, Saks Fifth Avenue: Off 5th actually offers clothing that is still currently in season! You do not have to wait until the next season to purchase your goods. This is because the merchandise at Saks Fifth Avenue: Off 5th does not merely consist of leftovers from last season's inventory. Saks Fifth Avenue actually sends a small portion of their inventory in it's current season to be sold at a discounted rate. This is perfect for those who want that deal right now! However, you should be aware that because the clothing is sold in season that the discount will obviously not be as high as something that you purchase off season.

 

PLATO'S CLOSET ($$$)

Plato's closet is not your average second hand store. Instead of having to sift through tons of racks that you don't even find appealing searching for one item, you can walk in knowing that your selections will be neatly organized and up to date! This is because Plato's Closet makes it a point to appeal to the young adult consumer audience.

Plato's Closet strives to attract the youths who want that hip and trendy look for a bottom dollar number! This is why they do not accept free donations from the public as your typical thrift store does. They strategically review every single item that is offered to them and give the donor a percentage of the item's worth. This will vary between items. They also make it a point to only accept items that are gently used or never used at all, that have been seen in stores within the past 18 months. This helps ensure that their merchandise is hip and trendy for the cool crowd to buy! Just be sure that you do not go in and expect a dirt cheap price point as a typical thrift store because they will be more expensive due to such high quality and demand. This is only fair.

 

GOODWILL ($)

When shopping at the Goodwill, you can be sure that your money spent is going to a good cause! The Good Will was founded on the principles of assisting the community and using its proceeds to benefit those who were in need. They are of course a not for profit organization. Now, every single purchase that you make at one of their stores contributes to the proceeds that help house the homeless, salvage the war veterans, provide job training for the uneducated and inexperienced, and even assist those who suffer from disabilities.

Although it may be a bit more challenging to find fashionable items at this particular store due to the fact that most of its merchandise is free donation, you know that your money spent will be used unselfishly! It can sometimes even be quite fund going “Thrift hunting” as some call it because it is posed as an engaging challenge! No joke I have found beautiful retro items of clothing from Chanel, Valentino, Ralph Lauren and DVF for less than $20. Also, the fact that the prices are ultra-inexpensive, it's certainly worth the search.

 

RENTTHERUNWAY.COM ($$$$)

If you are in need of a last minute outfit or some jewelry for that black tie event but you’re low on cash and pressed for time, Rent The Runway might be helpful! Rent The Runway is an online service that allows individuals to rent designer dresses and accessories for a sensible rate. The time allowed varies per item but the shipping is quite speedy and you are guaranteed to receive your item within days of your order! This is an amazing option for those who feel that they do not want to purchase something because they may only plan to wear it once. It is also great for bloggers who want to write up about a specific item.

Having only been established since 2009, Rent The Runway has made remarkable progress. They went from being a small e-commerce only website to having three brick and mortar stores in the United States serving hundreds of thousands of customers! They now offer over 50,000 different dresses and 10,000 different accessories. Some of their featured designers are Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera and Calvin Klein!

 

CLOSET.GWYNNIEBEE.COM ($$$)

Sometimes as full figured women it can be difficult to find designer clothes that truly fit all of your curves, especially if you are looking for a good deal. Well, Gwynnie Bee is the perfect solution for you! They cater to women sizes 10 to size 32 and charge a monthly fee to gain access to a variety of cool designer clothes! An even better aspect is that there are no surprises. You get to choose items offered within your subscription plan! That way you can be assured that your money is not wasted and that you receive exactly what you want! Their inventory ranges from funky patterns and colorful schemes to sophisticated neutrals. They have something to float any boat.

They also offer perks of being able to purchase all items that you chose to be sent to you at a discount of 50% off retail value! But there are no strings attached! If you are not interested in purchasing the items sent to you that month you can send it back and exchange it for something else! Additionally, you can cancel your membership at any point in time and refunds will be given out on a reasonable basis!

 

Century 21 ($$$)

I saved my favorite for last. Century 21 is basically a huge pile of designer clothing. Every brand is game for this store (even Louis Vuitton). Honestly I have no idea how they keep track of their inventory and I don’t care! The store is 90% crap and 10% amazingness. The trick is to spend your time walking around and finding that 10%. Their inventory changes relatively quickly so I recommend visiting every two weeks.

The best thing about Century is that their return policy is very lenient. Thirty days and no questions asked. They will literally take back worn shoes (I am not liable if they don’t though). Century is a common destination of mine to find cool outfits that I only plan to wear once or twice.

As you can see, being a fashionista is possible for anyone, even those on a tight budget. There are so many options available to you that it seems like those who shop at full retail value are throwing away money.