Rich Girl: How to Shop Designer on a Budget

Working for powerhouse retailer, Nordstrom, spoiled me rotten. With a 33% employee discount, knowledge of all the up and coming markdowns, and sale strategies a CIA agent would be proud of, shopping full price was a four letter word. But now, no longer an insider, shopping has sadly lost a little of its luster. Compound that with my personal form of kryptonite—designer goods—and you got a real problem on your hands.

Let me tell you, once you go luxe, you can never go back. My time at Nordstrom was in the designer and progressive category. High quality fabrications, seamless craftsmanship, elegant details, and the latest silhouettes make cheap knock-offs feel like fashion’s version of the dollar store. But, the one problem I do have with luxury? The price. Yes, I am all for a designer splurge once in a blue moon, but I am not sure my bank account feels the same. While eating cereal for a month is one way to justify wardrobe updates, there has to be another way.

I did some recon and, thankfully, there are a plethora of on-line (and in-store if that is your thing) sites with legit brands at reasonable prices. I have mapped out the spots you need to bookmark in your browser and some tips to save big. What’s more? You won’t pass out from anxiety at check out. I got you, girl.

Leather Jacket  / Top / Wide Leg Pants / Sneakers / Sunglasses 


Once a true warehouse sale where New Yorkers would line up and eventually fight over designer digs until the police showed up, is now an online site with up to 75% off luxury brands like Iro, Alexander Wang, and Maison Margiela. Another perk? Free shipping on all orders.


As the offshoot of Net-a-Porter, The Outnet is the ultimate stop for true designer. New arrivals are added to the site every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, so you are always hit with newness. They also carry their own exclusive brand, Iris & Ink, which offers you the look you want at a steeply discounted price. Complementary shipping is a given, too. Double rainbow.


Just because Off Fifth is an outlet, doesn’t mean you are only being served last season’s rejects. There are many reasons full price items are being sent to the sister store: overbought, wrong color shipments, or lower performing items. One man’s loss, could be your gain. The key is to shop the brands you already know and love. Find my favorites below.


I am a sucker for the Rack, because I am a Nordy’s girl through and through. Same as Off Fifth, stick to the designer section and the brands you already know. It is not time to get experimental with new labels at a discount site. Free shipping is a given with Nordstrom, as well. Hooray!


Last call has an amazing feature called, “Direct from Neiman Marcus”. This is the same product you would find on the clearance rack at Neiman’s. How amazing is that? Instead of digging through the hodge podge, you can scroll with a glass of wine and Friends playing in the background. If that is not heaven, I do not know what is. The ultimate cherry is in-store pick up and free shipping.



• Remember, stick to brands you already know and love. Shop my favorites below.

• Discount spots are a great place to stock up on your high quality basics: tee shirts, sweaters, denim, etc.

• If you were eyeing a particular piece at a full line store, bookmark it and keep checking for the price to drop. Third party sites like RewardStyle & Shopstyle will alert you when the item goes on sale.

• When you arrive at one of the discount sites, be sure to filter by designer, or it becomes very overwhelming.

• Sign up for their emails to get the heads up whenever there’s a sale, and for unlocking ‘new subscriber’ coupon codes.

• If you’re in the US, you can potentially hit the jackpot with international prices. Before you click purchase, enter the item into Google Shopping. You might find a better deal on European sites.

• I know buy now, wear now is the most tempting, but you will find the best deals on high quality pieces at end of season. i.e. leather jackets and statement coats in the spring or gorgeous dresses in September. If there are holes in your wardrobe, fill it at inopportune times, but make sure to buy classic pieces so you still love it when the weather changes again.


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