Tips for Saving Money on Clothing & Accessories

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Being a clotheshorse or accessory hound can get very pricey. But for many of us, style and fashion are important ways that we express our creativity, our mood, the message we want to give to the world about who we are. I’m hoping to bring to full clutch more tips and tricks for saving money, re-purposing items, finding deals, and getting the best bang for your buck. Here are three tips to keep in mind as you browse racks and look for sartorial treasures.


1. Buy out of season


I’ve sung this song many times before, but it bears repeating. Buy out of season. At the beginning of spring, stores are desperate to get rid of superfluous winter stock, and consumers can benefit. I bought the boots above last February or March and wore them maybe three times before stocking them away for the season. But because I bought them when spring styles were already out, I got them at over 60% off, for around $75, which is dirt cheap for high-quality, crazy-comfortable Born boots. ¬†And this past fall, it was like getting a new pair of boots all over again because I’d hardly worn them!



This sweater I just recently picked up from a local boutique. It was marked down 40% off, and I’ve worn it a handful of times. This particular buy was great because it’s not a heavy sweater, so I think I’ll be able to layer it for wear on cool spring mornings and chilly summer evenings. When buying out of season, of course, you need to buy items that you’ll be sure to get wear out of the following year–stick to classic items and avoid trends.


2. Take chances


Sale racks have a lot of unusual items hanging out on them. Sometimes there’s good reason for that–orange mohair sweater with leather fringe at the sleeves, lucite platforms with laces up to the knee–you know, the real train wreck stuff. But sometimes the racks have neglected little treasures that no one is willing to take a chance on. The blue flats above, for instance. I bought these guys years ago at DSW (which has one of the best clearance sections of any shoe store), before the loafer trend was a blip on the horizon. They looked pretty nerdy to me at the time–sensible loafers from Dr. Scholl’s! But I thought they might look kind of retro and cool with ankle pants, plus I was in dire need of shoes that weren’t going to permanently disfigure my feet. I bought them for $14 and wore them occasionally…then the next year the loafer trend hit hard and I felt pretty smug about my find. But I had to take a chance–were they lame-nerdy? Or cool-nerdy?–I decided for $14 it was worth the risk, and it paid off.



Doesn’t this top look a bit shapeless and couch upholstery-ish? That’s what I thought when I saw it on the rack. But it was on sale at a local store, and I had a coupon, so I tried it on. It looked much, much better on–it comes in a bit at the waist–but it was/is pretty different from what I normally wear. I’m not one for big prints in lots of different colors. But it was flattering, a good price after all my discounts, and it filled a hole in my wardrobe–springtime tunics/dresses to wear over leggings. So I went for it. Now, had it been full price, there’s no way I would have bought it. The cheap price allowed me to take a chance on something I wouldn’t normally pick for myself, and now it’s one of my go-to tops. I can’t wait to wear it this summer with capri leggings.


3. Buy costume jewelry


It’s no secret that I love costume jewelry. The quality is so good these days, there’s not much point in shelling out big bucks for the real deal. I find that fake pearls are especially well done. The bracelet above was purchased at an Etsy store for under $70 and I get tons of compliments on it.



The grey choker necklace at left was purchased from the same Etsy store by my husband as a Christmas gift several years ago. Another piece I get tons of compliments on. The super long strand at right I picked up at Nordstrom Rack for under $20 last year. It’s a really versatile piece; I can loop it around three times for a layered choker look, or wear it long with a knot in the middle. If I’d insisted on having real pearls in my jewelry box, I’d probably have a pair of earrings and a single strand bracelet. But going for high quality costume jewelry gives you many more options!

Happy shopping (and saving)!

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