You are currently viewing How You Can Save When Fashion Shopping (Ultimate Guide)

To save when fashion shopping sounds like a contradiction in itself because when you shop you spend money. However, you buying things is often a Must. As a result, all you can do is to limit how much it costs you to get an item. This comprehensive guide empowers you with the tools to maximize your saving when buying what you need.


  1. Save When Fashion Shopping by Getting Rid of Misconceptions
  2. Easy Money Saving Strategies
  3. How to Get the Most Out of Your Fashion Budget
    • Know the Turn-Over Basics and Buy Next Season Fashion when on Sale
    • Check in Store, Search for Great Deals to Save Online
    • Have No Shame to Use Promo Codes
    • Put the Sales and Clearance Schedule of Your Fav Brands/Stores on Your Calendar
    • Avoid Impulse Buys
    • Avoid Costly Surprises by Being Disciplined about What You Do
    • Consider the Price-Performance Ratio
    • Save when Fashion Shopping by Avoiding Complete Outfits
  4. Conclusions on How to Save when Fashion Shopping


Disclosure: Sponsored post.


Save by Getting Rid of Misconceptions

  • Know why buying exclusively designer clothes doesn’t make you look effortlessly stylish.
  • Don’t expect to find a gem at a great deal in the first store you visit or the first page on google.
  • Browse around. Just because you got a great deal at XYZ last time, doesn’t mean you get it there every time. Because inventory changes quickly, they might not have what you look for.
  • Great style is a question of money. Instead, it is a question of know how.
  • You don’t have to buy with credit card.


Pro tip: Leave your credit card at home. When you only have cash, you will be more picky or selective with your purchases.


budget work outfit created from cheap and expensive items
Multi-color print top c/o Shein, flare silk skirt c/o Lilysilk, own statement earrings, Hermes collier de chien cuff, bangles, and Ivanka Trump suede pumps



Money Saving Strategies

  1. Shop for your primary style/needs first. Not sure what’s your primary style? Take this free online quiz to determine your primary style.
  2. Buy the fashion for your current lifestyle. What to wear when to dress for success in all kind of dressing situations in life. I summarized this know-how in my evergreen style book How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy the book.
  3. Recognize when you should splurge and when see a bargain.
  4. Shop for the body you have, not the body you had pre-children, pre-menopause or the body you want to have when you finally loose those XYZ pounds.
  5. When you plan to browse a certain store, find vouchers before you go.  To save when shopping for fashion at Nordstrom Rack, for instance, you would print or bookmark on your phone all coupons for Nordstrom Rack you can find. In store, you might not have the time to do so.
  6. Go for quality over quantity. More is just more, not better.
  7. Know which trends will remain when shopping the sales for trends. More on trends to look for in the sales.
  8. Save with second hand wardrobe additions.
  9. Build your wardrobe on one or two neutrals and two or three fashion colors of your palette. Doing so allows you to combine your clothes easily. Consequently, you have many possibilities for great outfits.
  10. Save when fashion shopping by looking for retailers without middlemen. More on why cutting the middlemen out is a new trend in retail.
  11. Before buying a piece read the reviews. You can find my reviews in the archive under the “review category” or just use the search button in the sidebar and type in “review of brand name”.
  12. Make a budget and stick to it. See how a fashion budgeting tool can help you



How to Get the Most Out of Your Fashion Budget

Know the Turn-Over Basics and Buy Next Season Fashion when on Sale

Accept that white T-shirts, white blouses and/or button-down shirts only last a season due to yellowing and bleaching. Because traditionally, women white T-shirts cost more than men’s T-shirts of same quality, buy your white T-shirts in the boys’ or men’s department.

Buy white button-down shirts or blouses and other short-lived items like bras, underwear, socks, tights or hosiery only on sale as a spare. In case, of white blouses/shirts go for a classic cut.

Shop like a trendsetter. Look for next season’s items during the last season’s clearance sales.



Check in Store, Search for Great Deals to Save Online

Try out an item in the store for fit. Once you know which size you need, search for the best online. There are apps that match you with the best prices.

Warning: The lowest price fails to be the best deal when you forget to consider the shipping fees


Insider tip: Read the fine print when you live outside the Lower 48s. Many sellers offer free shipping within the US, but not to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam etc.


shoe beauties in pink
Zoom-in on the Ivanka trump pink suede high heel pumps


Pro tip: Bookmark a price comparison page.



Have No Shame to Use Promo Codes

Always look for promo codes and use them when shopping online. You don’t have to be ashamed of it.

Remember: The lower revenue on sales and promo codes is already part of the full price.

This means not using the codes you pay not only more, but also the fraction that’s added to cover the discounts. You can find discount, promo and coupon codes of my fav brands.


stylist in cheap multi-color top, teal skirt and great deal pumps
Multi-color boxy top c/o Shein, teal silk skirt c/o Lilysilk, own statement earrings, Hermes collier de chien cuff, bangle, and Ivanka Trump pink shoes c/o Wikibuy



Put the Sales and Clearance Schedule of Your Fav Brands/Stores on Your Calendar

Identify brands that fit you perfectly. Know what brands and fabrics work well on your body type, and stick to them.  Use this free body shape quiz.

Make a list of stores that offer these clothes and add their sales and clearance dates on your calendar. When the sale/clearance goes up, make sure you go there/browse their merchandise on the first day!

On eBay buy out-of-season. More tips for shopping on eBay.


Avoid Impulse Buys

Never buy something that doesn’t fit. If the tailoring is not a complimentary service, your garment may become much more expensive than you had budgeted.

Hoping that a dress, skirt, pair of trouser – you name it – will fit when you loose those stubborn 10 lb (4.5 kg), can be very frustrating and expensive too. You may finally reach that goal when the item is out of style. doing so may be one of the reasons why you never wear some of your  clothes! You could as well burn your money.

Saving tip: If it doesn’t fit, skip it!

Never buy something that is just so so. Even when you need a certain piece right now. The best way to stick to this strategy is to ask a salesperson how many they still have in your size or whether they could hold it for you for 24 hours. When you are still excited about the item the next day, go get it. More about how to be more minimalist as a way to save.


Consider the Price-Performance Ratio

Focus on items that you can wear in more than one seasons. This way you can spend a little more on them (read higher quality meaning a more polished look) as you get more wear out of them. In other words, before you pull your credit card always think about how many wear you expect to get out of the item. If the price of the item divided by your guestimate of wear is less than a latte or coffee at your fav coffee shop, go for it. A trendy item is too expensive if it exceeds this value, even when it would fit in your budget. Do the pledge to never ever spend a fortune on a trendy item. Trends are what the word says: A trend. They will go away sooner than later. You never know how fast.

But you also know that every item in your closet should go down to less than a dollar per wear. Otherwise it was a pricey item. Thus, ask yourself how often will you wear that trendy piece.

Saving tip: Kiss a trend off when you cannot to wear the $X item X times this season.



Avoid Costly Surprises by Being Disciplined about What You Do

When shopping at a mall, always check the tag before you buy. Then use an app or web page on your phone to see what the item costs online.

When shopping online check the shipping and return policies before ordering. Check whether you can or can’t return an item that is on sale. Your item may become much more expensive than you think when shipping and return are not free.


Save when Fashion Shopping by Avoiding Complete Outfits

Stylist tip: Never buy complete outfits!

They may only work that one way! Instead buy an item only, when while being in the store, you have – out of the top of your head – already ideas for at least three new outfits with items you already own.


beautiful pink pumps
Other view of the Ivanka Trump suede heels



How to Save When Fashion Shopping in a Nutshell

Shopping for fashion on a budget is learnable. You can save a lot of money and get more for the money you spend when you put in the efforts to shop wisely, disciplined and competently.

  1. Take stock to know what you have, and identify what you need to replace and/or what is missing. Create a list with these items on your cell phone. and use it you when you browse sales.
  2. Prepare yourself for the sales. Know the fit of the various brands. If a more expensive brand has great pieces you would like to have, try them on and check them for fit. Take notes on your cell phone which size it is and the type of cut, name of the item and brand and the uppermost price you would be willing to pay for what you saw. Thus, when you see the item is on sale online with the right price tag for your budget you can order it as you already know it will fit.
  3. Train yourself being a better shopper. Try on the high-end brands’ blazers. Look how they fit. Of course, these items – even on sale – will not have an acceptable price tag, ever. However, these items teach you how a perfect fit should look like. Then you will recognize when you try out an affordable item that (by accident or luck?) has this great fit.
  4. Stock up on short-lived items when stores sell them for half or less.
  5. Get informed. When you need, for instance, new prescription glasses, you can save money when you know how to buy eyeglasses by paying less and getting more. You may also consider buying glasses online, with quick and safe delivery.
  6. Have a price-per-wear value that fits your budget. If a non-spurge item exceeds that number it is too expensive for your budget.
  7. Always pair cheap and more expensive items. You want to strive for effortlessly stylish, not non-affordably rich or cheap.
  8. Browse thrift and consignment stores. More tips to score in consigning and which designer brands to look for in thrift shops.
  9. Use a fashion budgeting tool
  10. Go for the best quality you can afford. Over time you will look like you have an expensive wardrobe even though you might have bought on sale/clearance.
  11. Save time when shopping. Decide which item you want to look for and dress for shopping this clothes. To not waste your time browsing stores that most likely don’t offer your style take clues from the retail design.


Photos: G. Kramm

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