How to dress well and shop on budget.

Here are my top tips on shopping for clothes on budget. Before we get to clothes can I just say that you can have the best clothes/bags etc but it wont make much of a difference if your hair and skin look bad, mkey?

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Anya Hindmarch Ephson Leather Handbag originally $1995, now $749.99 at Saks Off 5th

Bags and footwear: a good pair of shoes and a nice bag will instantly elevate your outfit even when sporting Old Navy skinny jeans (great for petites) and H&M sweater. The best sales are usually around Nov-Dec timeframe. Designer handbags are expensive so if you are on a budget, think long and hard whether you want an IT bag or would rather get something different or more classic which wont date your bag so easily. For designer footwear, some brands have outlets and most do annual sample sales. If you live in tristate area Madison Avenue Spy blog has great updates and announcements on all sales online and in the city.

Websites to try: yoox.comtheoutnet.com; Gilt (members only, if you want to have access, send me an email and I’ll add you).

For slightly used but verified luxury items: Portero, The Real Real

There’s obviously Ebay but it really is full of fakes and as far as shoes go, each brand is very specific in sizing, it’s hard to buy online. Even if you are let’s say size 39 in Louboutin Pigalle pumps, but their Isolde heels run small so you’d like be 40. Heel height influences fit too, so its really easy to make mistakes.

Clothes: Lot of experts recommend buying t-shirts on the cheap and saving money for other things. IMHO, if you wear something a lot, it ought to be the best quality it can be. Cheaper options are made of thinner material, yellow quickly and cling to places they shouldn’t! Jeans go on sale fairly frequently and outlets for Neimans and Saks carry a large assortment. AG and Paige have outlets at Woodbury Commons in upstate New York if you live close enough to visit. If you happen on a good sale, stock up!

Here’s a link to all upcoming sample sales in the city, scroll down to see the list.

Dresses – when I go shopping with my clients, I always scan sale racks for dresses and more often than not make them buy one or two. I always get “Where am I going to wear this?”. I don’t know. But I do know that at some point you will need a dress for some event and this dress we just bought will save you from running out and buying some other dress you may not love as much at full price.

Last but not least: there’s a proverb in Estonian which roughly translates to service the sled in summer, and horse carriage in winter. Meaning that you’d get best prices on summer clothes in the fall and winter and on winter clothes in the spring. Just don’t buy randomly because you won’t remember what you really need. Ideally, at the end of every season you’d make a list of things you need. If you desperately hated your cover up, mark it down and then in November when its rainy and muddy outside, make yourself a mojito and search the internet. January usually has great sales on last year’s summer clothes. Revolve.com has some great options up to 75% off.

From left to right: Tularosa Sara dress $89; L’Academie Safari blouse $93; For Love&Lemons Gracey dress $97; Privacy Please Moni dress $134

Likewise, wait till spring to start buying winter clothes! All you need is a detailed list and lots of patience. Another good tip is to go shopping right after any big holiday when retailers need to unload.

Makeup and perfumes: I’d avoid buying these at discount sites as its usually expired product. Amazon has some attractive pricing on makeup and brushes but when you look at who is selling it through Amazon, its often times someone completely unrelated to the business they represent or Amazon itself. Sephora and most department stores have excellent sales and offer great product sets at discounted prices before Christmas.

Sunglasses: another thing to avoid online. Sizing is different, fit varies etc., you should really try them on before purchasing. I’ve found Sunglass Hut stores at various outlets to have crazy sales. I’ve paid full retail for some of my favorite sunglasses which can be high but if you wear them frequently, cost per wear is reasonable.

Hope this was helpful. Now go and start looking around for great cashmere sales!

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