You all know that designer items are my biggest weakness. My influence in fashion all started with my mom as she started to collect Louis Vuitton and other designer handbags as I was growing up. She’s even given me some vintage designer pieces over time! As I got older, I wanted to buy pieces with my own money and live out my Carrie Bradshaw/Blair Waldorf shopping dreams. Shopping for designer goods in store and you feel pampered AF.
BUT HOLD UP. I knew I couldn’t afford to go on a designer shopping spree with every paycheck I got so when it came to buying the dream bag or the dream shoes, I needed to save any extra dollars I had. What can I say, I have champagne taste on a beer budget! When I do go on my special shopping trips, I have a thinking process when it comes to making my purchase. In today’s post, I’ll show you my thought process as well as share some tips on how to snag designer items for a fraction of the cost!
- The price then vs. the price now
The Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 at the time was $799 retail. With tax, I spent a total of $840. It was a LOT on one item at the time! But that was the price of the bag back in 2012. Today, the Louis Vuitton Speedy retails at a whopping $1,160.00!!! But let’s say I wanted to sell my Speedy, I could sell it for less than the retail price now but still be able to get the cost of what I paid for back! Some bags can be a great investment if you think you’d want to sell it later on in life…but what about if the trend dies down?
This brings me to my next step in the buying process: will the item still be in style as the years go by? I knew the Louis Vuitton Speedy was a timeless piece – heck, my idol Audrey Hepburn was spotted with a Speedy way back in the day and is the reason why the speedy is so iconic. A decade has gone by and the Speedy still holds onto it’s iconic status. When I look at bags that are currently in style like the Multi-Pochette or the Palm Springs Mini, I really think about if the trend will stick 5 years from now. No matter how much I want it, I have to think about if I will still want it in the future.
Another thing I think about before I make a designer purchase is making sure I’m able to implement the item in my entire wardrobe. I splurged on the infamous Gucci double-G belt back in 2018 after eye-ing it constantly on Pinterest and Insta way before I started blogging. Before I bought it, I made sure to think about the different ways I could wear the belt so it wasn’t just sitting in the box. Same goes with shoes – how many times will I wear them? Are they work appropriate? What’s the occasion?
So while these three things help me in the decision making process, I still keep going back to thought #1: price. Because let’s be real here: it’s a LOT of money all at once. But if you don’t want to pay retail price and still want a taste of luxe fashion, there are more ethical ways in purchasing designer items (even though it is a nice going into Gucci and feeling bougie while talking to a sales associate).
- Make your purchase from trusted consignment shops
Some of my designer items are pre-loved, because why spend full price if you can find it somewhere for cheaper/in great condition? Buying from a consignment shop is also good for the environment and you’re helping out small business owners in the meanwhile! There are also a handful of vintage shops that will carry gently used designer clothing. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been able to go into a thrift shop and find unexpected treasures. I snagged an old Dior scarf and some True Religion jeans at one point, all for less than $10!
2. Dupes are not a bad idea!
Dupes are also good for a trial and run where you can see if you like the inspired item before you go for the real deal. I have a couple designer dupes that I got for a fraction of the original price. While they’re not exactly “replicas”, they’re “inspired” by the designer (see my previous posts for the Bottega and YSL dupes). If you want the look but don’t care about if it’s real/branded, I would 100% suggest a dupe. One thing I would recommend while searching for a dupe is to make sure you pay attention to the quality especially if you want to get it to look as close to the original as possible! It’s okay to buy dupes but you also don’t want to get duped at the same time.
3. Do your research – will you be able to find a better deal elsewhere?
Yes, it is possible that designer items can go on sale! It all depends on what items will go on sale and when the sale will happen. I stay on top of all the upcoming sales by following social media accounts for stores like Nordstrom or Saks as well as sales associate accounts as they normally announce upcoming sample sales. I also like to wait until it’s the end of the season to see if the item goes on sale as most designers want to make room for their next collection.
4. Websites like Poshmark and eBay should be used carefully
I’ve purchased items through both Poshmark and eBay but do not, I repeat, do not commit to an item until you’ve looked through all the pictures carefully and ask for additional information from the seller. Not only you want to make sure the item is in good condition but you want to make sure the seller is legit. Read their reviews, send them a message so you can get more information on the item. I cannot tell you how many times I have been burned by a bad item all because I didn’t look at the picture or request additional information. Luckily, most items on eBay and Poshmark are protected under a policy if the product that was sent to you isn’t as described you can get your money back. But before you put yourself through the disappointment and the stress while trying to get your money back, think twice before you buy!
5. Make an offer on an item!
One of the best things about sites like Poshmark and eBay is the ability to make offers on certain items. I snagged a pair of pre-owned Chanel espadrilles on eBay for almost 1/3 of the original price! Nothing wrong with a little haggling when the seller is open to offers. My most recent offer was on a pair of Christian Louboutin heels for less than $200 when they normally retail for $700+.
I’m hoping my tips will help you when you’re making a designer purchase in the future. As I got older, this process has not only helped my wallet but also helped me as I transitioned my wardrobe into being more versatile and appropriate for someone in their late 20’s. What designer item have you had your eyes on? Will you be following my thought process? Let me know in the comments below!