Get the Luxurious Runway Look for Less

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

While it may seem silly to begin thinking of color pallets and mini vs. maxi dresses, now is the time to snag looks still on sale from summer 2011 that will translate into 2012.

For example, Marc Jacobs showed bold colors in a minimalistic style for next spring. The grand dame of New York fashion, Diane von Furstenberg, splashed her runway with brilliant whites and light greens paired with beige. All can be found at post-summer sales and repurposed for next year.

1. Shop Sample Sales

Search for sample sales in your city for a chance to score current designer looks for a fraction of the cost. For those who don't live near a big city where such fashion sales are abundant, don't stress. You can shop flash-sale websites like Gilt Groupe, which feature designer duds for 50 to 70-percent off. Returns are accepted on most merchandise, but make sure to read the site's policy before making the purchase so you don't get stuck with ill-fitting goods.

2. Consignment Shops

Second-hand stores dedicated to designer fashion are popping up in many major cities. You can also find gently used fashion online at Plato's Closet, where you can sell your undesired clothes as well. As with traditional retailers, consignment shops are selling off last summer's clothing and accessories. Personally, I love scouring the racks at thrift stores. I've found a black Betsey Johnson cocktail dress for $10 and a black Rachel Pally maxi dress for $3 - both were like new!

3. Use Coupons

Don't dismiss the cost cutting potential coupons offer. Even high-fashion retailers these days rely on money-saving vouchers to attract new customers.

4. Swap

Coordinate a clothing swap with friends or coworkers. Or try swapping clothes and accessories online at such sites as Rehash Clothes.

5. Follow the 30/70 Rule

Maintain a wardrobe that's roughly 30 percent trendy and 70-percent staple pieces that won't go out of style. You then won't feel the need to restock your closet every season but can still mix and match to recreate the latest looks.

6. Department Store Designer Finds

More and more high-fashion designers are collaborating with department stores and discount retailers to offer exclusive and affordable collections for everyday women. Check out Simply Vera Wang at Kohl's and Lela Rose for Payless to find the styles you crave and prices your wallet can manage.

7. Nix the Dry Cleaning

Avoid clothing that requires dry cleaning and, if not possible, buy products you can clean with the popular dry-cleaning pouches you just pop into your dryer. While it's not exactly dry cleaning, the result is the same.

8. Rent What What You Can't Buy

When it comes to a special event, the most affordable and practical options for finding designer frocks is renting. Some sites offer current season fashion from over 95 top designers at 90-percent less than retail prices. Simply choose a dress or piece of cartilage jewelry you wish to wear and return it after the occasion.
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