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Trend Spotting on a Budget

So Women’s Wear Daily is your bible, New York Fashion Week is your Christmas, and fashion is your religion.  You eat, sleep, and breathe the latest trends.  You never miss a red carpet event – even if you’re just watching it on TV.  A lot of women find themselves fascinated by the world of fashion.  If you’re like me, you may not be able to fully connect to that world for financial reasons.  Put simply – you can’t afford it.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, to be honest.  Most people can’t afford to spend $100+ on jeans, $1,000+ on a dress, or even $500+ on a new handbag every season.  You don’t need to go designer to stay on-trend.  There are so many ways to be a fashionista without losing every dollar you’ve ever made.  Read on to get some great tips for design on a dime.

Don’t think you’re too good for any store, garage sale, or clothes swap.  They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but when someone considers a never-worn Michael Kors leather belt trash, I think most would consider it treasure.  That’s exactly what I found in a bag of clothes my neighbor was planning to throw away.  I asked if I could look through, and I’m quite glad I did.  That belt has become a staple in my closet, and I didn’t pay a dime for it.

The same goes for thrift (Goodwill) and budget stores (TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, etc).  While you may have to do some digging, you might be surprised by what you find.  Some people can brag about the exorbitant amount of money spent on a piece, but I take much more pride in the amount of money I can save.  Other garage sale finds I’ve scored include Marc Jacobs patent leather flats and an Oscar de la Renta cardigan.  I’m not afraid to admit that I couldn’t normally afford to buy designer duds, so that makes finding these pieces even sweeter.

Save on trends, splurge on classics.  A trench coat, a little black dress, those jeans that fit you perfectly.  There are some things that it’s okay to spend more money on.  If you’re going to wear an item again and again, your cost per wear will decrease.  If you find a little black dress that would be perfect for every cocktail party you plan to go to, it’s alright to spend a bit more.  On the other hand, if you just have to join in on the new asymmetrical dress trend (read: might not be in style a few months from now), it’s smarter to try to find a similar piece at a less expensive store.  Forever 21, H&M, and Wet Seal are the perfect “trendy” stores.  They turnover their entire store approximately every two weeks, so the clothes they carry are always the current up-to-the-minute trend, but their prices are affordable on almost every budget.  If you spend $20 on a shirt that might be out of style next summer, it won’t be as painful for your wallet as a shirt that you spent $100 on.  The one time I think it’s okay to splurge on something you’ll only wear once?  Your wedding dress, of course.  You might only wear it once, but it will be in photos for the rest of your life.  I would suggest avoiding trends with that, though, but that’s a whole other blog post.

Sign up for email and mailing lists.  Victoria’s Secret, American Eagle, and Sephora, to name a few, send out coupons, discounts, and sale alerts pretty often.  You can get a ridiculous amount of free underwear from Victoria’s Secret by signing up for their PINK mailing list here.  They mail you coupons for free underwear (you don’t even need to make a purchase) and huge discounts on bras.  American Eagle’s AE Rewards will mail you coupons, send you texts with discount codes, and you can even earn points for discounts off future purchases.  Sephora’s Beauty Insiders program, although not fashion, is one of the best mailing lists out there.  You get a free birthday present every year (who doesn’t love presents?), as well as regular discounts and points towards free gifts.

Try online discount websites.  Sign up for sites like HauteLook, RueLaLa, and Gilt Groupe.  These sites host discounts on designer sales for a designated period of time.  I’ve gotten upwards of 70% off of clothing, accessories, and beauty products!  For those of you that have champagne taste on a Bud Light budget, these sites will be your saving grace.

There’s no reason to break the bank when it comes to fashion.  Follow these tips and you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck.  Do you have any other tips when it comes to saving money on fashion?

About Kathleen Tower

Kathleen is the style editor for The Collabor-eight. She's a 23-year-old true Jersey girl; big hair, bigger heart. Her passion for beauty and makeup started with an internship at Seventeen Magazine and has grown ever since. After graduating from Villanova, she turned her love for Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter into a full-time job as a social media coordinator! When she's not at work, she's browsing everywhere from the Internet to the streets for her own "Manicure Monday" inspiration. She believes that true style comes from a mix of high and low, designer and drugstore, expensive splurges and nearly steals!

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