How to Save Money on Name-brand Clothes

By: Alia Hoyt
Sure, we'd all like to be fashionable, but designer clothes are prohibitively expensive for many people.

You might be wondering why anyone would want to buy name-brand clothes. After all, the economy is in terrible shape, and unemployment is ridiculously high. Although shopping at discount retailers is perfectly fine, self-proclaimed fashionistas have a hard time donning clothes without a designer label. Also, although the price tags are higher, designer pieces tend to be better in quality and fit and last longer than their discount counterparts. Plus, sometimes it's nice to know that you're wearing something truly chic, especially if your friends are likely to covet it.

The beauty of the current shopping industry is that it's no longer necessary to haul yourself to a store to seek the best deals. In fact, the Internet gives everyone equal opportunity to scoop up name-brand bargains from the comfort of your own living room couch. So it's still totally possible to be fashionable, whether you're isolated in a country cottage or pounding the pavement in Manhattan.


Some buyers work around the system to get the designer pieces they long for. For example, men's items are often cheaper than women's, so some ladies opt to pick up guy's duds -- like coats and running shoes -- to save a few extra bucks. Naturally, that's not going to fly for bikinis and bras, but no one's going to know your new wool pea coat came from the men's section of the department store.

Anyone that's ever done serious time in the mall or other shopping circles knows that it's possible to get great deals any time of year. Keep reading to learn some of the tips and tricks that die-hard shoppers swear by.


How to Find Discount Name-brand Clothing

Without further ado, here are some of the best ways to get the most bang for your brand-hungry buck:

  • Sales: Although it's tempting to toss all your junk mail into the trash, those advertisements often have great information about upcoming sales. Be sure to keep an eye out for online-specific sales, too.
  • Coupons: You don't have to be an extreme couponer to save some extra dough on new duds. Again, plenty of print ads feature coupons good for certain dates and items. In addition, Web sites like are quick and easy ways to find discounts on in-store and online purchases.
  • Thrift Stores: Think thrift stores are smelly, dusty places? Not anymore. Today's thrift stores are often geared toward higher-end items that are gently used. It might take some time to rifle through the racks before finding those designer jeans, but chances are good that you'll discover a hidden gem or two.
  • Discount stores: Stores like T.J. Maxx and Marshall's have long been known for name-brand fashion at bottom-of-the-barrel prices.
  • Outlet Stores: Outlet department stores such as Saks Off Fifth, Nordstrom Rack and Neiman Marcus Last Call offer significantly lower prices than mall versions of the same stores. These popular shopping destinations have even gone digital, and online designer outlets are now the destination of choice for bargain hunters who wish to skip the crowds and compare prices between sites.
  • Off-Season Deals: Consider purchasing items off-season at better prices. You might be slightly behind the times, but unless you clean out your entire closet and start from scratch every season, it's a great way to save money. For example, buy coats in January or February when stores are itching to clear space for bathing suits. By the same token, shop for a swimsuit in July or August when the season is winding down.
  • Internet Auctions: If there's a pair of designer heels that you must have but simply can't afford, check out a few Internet auction sites. For example, auctions on sites like eBay often reward the highest bidder with an excellent new or slightly-used item at a fraction of the normal price. All you need is a computer and some extra time to monitor the sales you're interested in.
  • Sample Sales: Traditional sample sales have limited hours and stock but often feature great designer deals. To find them, all you need to do is peruse some of the fashion blogs serving your general area. Online sample sales are ideal for those who can't break away to attend one of the physical events.


Cheap Name-brand Clothing Articles Worth Buying

As any shoe-loving woman can tell you, name-brand footwear is worth buying.
Buena Vista Images/The Image Bank/Getty Images

As any fashion-conscious person can tell you, certain accessories and articles of clothing can make or break an outfit. If you can find chic add-ons for a reasonable price, some pieces are worth a little extra cash. For example, although shirts and dresses tend to go out of style pretty quickly, items like handbags, shoes, jeans, belts and bras can be worn for multiple seasons. The changes in style to such items are more subtle to the untrained eye, so unless you're hanging around Vera Wang, it's not likely anyone's going to notice the difference. Skirts and coats are also a good investment, but length and cut often change from season to season, so be sure to monitor the trends to avoid looking dated. Classically-styled scarves, hats and jewelry are also smart additions to any wardrobe, as they're pretty much always fashionable.

The main perk of investing extra money in these wardrobe staples is that the quality of items made by reputable designers helps them last longer than an discount store version. Although it's certainly exciting when you score a name-brand label at a discount store, go into the purchase with your eyes wide open. It's well known that design houses often make one line of clothing and accessories for high-end stores and another, lower-quality set for discount retailers. Experts insist that the telltale sign often lies in the tag. Generally speaking, glued-on tags are the norm in discount stores, whereas the high-end versions will feature tags that have been stitched into the clothing. When it comes to shopping, the old adage, "you get what you pay for" is as accurate as it gets. So if you're longing for longevity, you might want to pay a bit more for the best product.


Next, let's learn how to outfit your little one in style.

Saving on Name-brand Clothes for Kids

Dressing up your kid is one of the best perks of parenthood. Unfortunately, many parents are so cash-strapped after dropping major bucks on car seats, diapers, formula and day care that shelling out more dough for designer baby and kids' clothes is not an option. As a result, consignment sales have become the go-to resource for parents seeking discounted designer children's clothes.

There are plenty of established consignment shops, but larger sales are often held several times a year in any given area. These sales are run by independent organizers and stocked with toys, clothes and equipment from parents looking to clean out their kids' closets. Of course, the stuff you pick up at these sales is generally used and last season at the very least, but they're required to be in great condition. Plus, some items actually still have the tags on, making them an even better bargain. To find a consignment sale in your area, keep an eye out for advertisements and flyers around town. Most stores don't have a big budgets for ads, but they do have a large selection.


Remember those online outlets we discussed earlier? Yep, they have them for children's duds, too. So before you head out to the mall, consider ordering some staples online, like shoes, socks, hats, coats and pants. Kids are easier to size than adults, so shopping online usually isn't a problem because they don't have to try everything on.

Off-season shopping is ideal for children because it's incredibly easy to buy things ahead of time. For example, if your son is in a 3T now, he's likely to be a 4T around the same time next year. So take a few minutes to peruse the discount racks and stock up for next season.

If you truly covet in-season designer duds for your child, consider supplementing your income with a part-time job at your favorite store. Most retailers offer significant discounts -- sometimes as much as 30 to 40 percent -- to employees. For a few hours of retail work per week, your child could be mistaken for a runway model (or just look extra cute)!

It's perfectly possible to stay in style and on budget. After all, it's the label that matters, not how much you paid for it!


Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Budget Fashionista, the. "Online Sample Sale Round Up: Valentino, Christian Dior and More." Sept. 9, 2011. (Oct. 14, 2011)
  • Demontis, Rita. "Scaring Up Some Great Deals." Toronto Sun. Oct. 5, 2011. (Oct. 14, 2011)
  • Overstock. "Designer Clothes Buying Guide." 2011. (Oct. 14, 2011)
  • Quereshi, Huma. "How to buy designer clothes for less." The Guardian. April 23, 2009. (Oct. 14, 2011)
  • Stein, Letitia. "Tips for buying used toys, clothes and other items for your kids." St. Petersburg Times. Oct. 3, 2011. (Oct. 14, 2011)
  • Tutelian, Louise. "4 Things Not to Buy at Costco." Yahoo. Nov. 20, 2010. (Oct. 14, 2011)