Shop Budget Friendly Fashion Sites
While I wish I didn’t have to shop on a budget, the reality is I cannot always have what my heart desires. High fashion comes at a price. The softest cashmere, supple leather and luxurious silks can come at a high cost. And finding these at a bargain is difficult to do. Every now and then you can score a find at Nordstroms, Bloomingdales or Neiman Marcus. But not enough to sustain a fashion fix. So improvise. Splurge every now and then on that investment piece and then stretch your dollars by shopping at the following fashion sites. Please note that this blog will be occasionally updated. So please check back again.
Topshop to Shop
Topshop is a midpriced U.K.-based retailer that opened it’s first U.S. store in New York in 2009. They opened three other shops in Chicago, Los Angeles and Las Vegas and have a pop-up boutique in Nordstroms. They carry on trend statement pieces, wardrobe staples, denim, shoes and accessories. Plus they have a great selection of petite offerings. If you shop their site, you will also be able to shop vintage items and some designer labels. Their pieces are often worn by celebrities because of their fresh designs. Check out their Inspire Me page to be, well, inspired, and to see what is hot for the month.
ASOS, short for As Seen on Screen, is a global online retailer with a massive inventory. It delivers 1,500 new styles to peruse on a weekly basis. This is a great fashion site to shop because it’s inventory offers such a diverse collection of interesting silhouettes, quirky offerings and current trends. Also, after browsing the site, I noticed ASOS offers an extensive plus-size line called ASOS Curve. From its fit-and-flair coats, cinched dresses and trendy blazers, the brand eliminates all traces of boring for sizes up to size 24. And their affordable prices make it easy for you to try that structural peplum or asymetrical hem skirt that you never thought you could rock. Don’t miss their Currently Trending page that features their members wearing Asos’ clothes styled in the featured trend. It is a fun browse and might inspire you to try something new.
Zara is a Spanish retailer that offers well tailored runway-inspired pieces. They are especially well known for their inventive takes on the classic fitted blazer and their much admired coats. If you check out my Score of the Week blogs, it will probably include a Zara jacket. Their shoes are also amazing but unfortunately do not come in my rather diminutive size 5m. They release designs quickly (three weeks from start to finish, in some cases) and stock their stores twice a week. But the smaller sizes sell out quickly. So it pays to be a Medium or Large. Look through their beautiful Zara Pictures Page to be inspired by beautiful pics of stylish women wearing their fashions.
H&M, short for Hennes & Maritz, is one of my favorite fashion sites to shop. They are a retailer that sells affordable well made clothes. They offer lust worthy designer collaborations with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Versace, Marni and Isabel Marant. Unfortunately these partnership offerings don’t last for long. Both editors and stylists praise their jackets, blouses and soft basics. H&M is the number one buyer of organic cotton worldwide. I love their stretch pants which come in at a price point of about $20. I have a gorgeous black and white print maxi dress that I wear everywhere. Shopping at H&M is always a treat. But if by chance, you stop by when the lines are massive, skip the dressing room and just go straight to the counter. Try everything on at home. But remember to return before the 30-day deadline.
Target, I love for their fashion collaborations. They have had Missoni, Jason Wu, Prabal Gurung, Peter Pilotto & Phillip Lim. And their prices made it possible for me to snag a few great pieces. The key is to shop online the day the collection is set to hit. Don’t miss the much anticipated Altuzarra collection launching on September 14, 2014. Joseph Altuzarra recently won the CFDA’s prestigious Womenswear Designer of the Year award. The line is an exotic mix of tailored button-downs, pencil skirts and elegant dresses in black, oxblood and python prints. Check out the line here.
Nasty Gal has a unique story. It is an American based and owned Web retailer that specializes in on trend fashion clothing, accessories, and shoes for young body-confident women. Its most noteworthy brand being that of cool shoe designer Jeffrey Campbell. Nasty Gal was founded by Sophia Amoruso in 2006 as an eBay page that sold vintage clothing that she found in Goodwill bins. She named the page after a 1975 album by a sexy funk singer named Bette Davis and ran the site much like her own aesthetic. She styled, captioned, photographed and shipped each item herself, selling about 25 items a week. She marketed her page on Myspace and reached out to fans that she felt might share her own fierce fashion sense. Her look and attitude resonated with her growing fan base and bidding wars were sparked each week over her new finds. Eventually, it became its own domain and began selling vintage-inspired clothing. By 2012 Nasty Gal was named “Fastest Growing Retailer” by INC. Magazine with $100 million in revenue. Nasty Gal has about 550,000 customers in 60 countries and is based in Los Angeles. I love shopping here for party pieces to spice up my regular wardrobe. Sexy blouses, form-fitting dresses, micro minis, boho chic outfits. I bought a lovely silky black blouse with peekaboo lace insets that I wear with a deceptively classic tweed pant with black lace trim on the sides. Just enough funk to make it cool.
Kohl’s is an American department retail chain. In 2007 they launched a diffusion line by Vera Wang called Simply Vera which I absolutely love. Since then they’ve given us collaborations from Narciso Rodríguez, Peter Som, Derek Lam and Catherine Malandrino. Although these are usually only offered in larger cities. But besides their capsule pieces, they offer well-made current pieces that will round out your work look. Be sure to use their readily available discounts or Kohl’s Cash offers. You can also scan an item in one of their in-store kiosks and have it shipped to you for free in your size or in a different color.
JCPenney has a special place in my heart because I worked there when I was starting college. I met some great friends there like Vicky, Valerie and Denise. I mostly worked the Accessory Department, but became quite familiar with all their other budget-friendly offerings. My favorite was their fashion jewelry. Their pieces were very well made for the price and always on trend. Jewelry was almost always on sale for 30% off. And while they always carried staple brands like Levi’s, they’ve since introduced some brands like American Living by Ralph Lauren, Decree, Charlotte Ronson, Nicole Miller, Bijou Bijou and Joe Fresh to their stores. My favorite current score is a sleeveless white tuxedo vest by Nicole Miller that can be worn with almost everything.
Now, there are tips to shopping these budget-friendly hotspots. Go on a Tuesday around the store opening time. They are less crowded then. Always ask a sales associate what days of the week their shipments come in. This works especially well for stores like Zara that don’t stock a lot of items but do replenish their racks frequently. Look for the “small gems” or accessories to complement your existing wardrobe rather than the ad campaign’s current head-to-toe look. Don’t get caught up with sticking to your size. Many of these European brands run small. So don’t be upset if you have to size up. And be warned, if you are not young or tall and waif-like, you may have better luck finding tops rather than bottoms. Because fit models are so expensive, many of these stores don’t employ them. So trousers may be less flattering.
So there you have it. I hope this was helpful. Please let me know of any other sites that you think I should check out. Thank you and happy shopping.