Fash Forward

Become a savvier shopper by learning to shop out of season. Yes, “out of season”, we know for some of you, that saying “out of season” is like screaming rain at the Bronner Bros. hair show, but trust us, “out of season” is not a bad set of words. You can literally save thousands of dollars over the years by shopping this way. If you know when to shop, you can pick up choice clothing marked down to 50% or 75% off the original price.

The first thing you need to do is learn when to shop for the season you’re fitting. For example, the best time to pick up winter clothing are the months of January and February. Most “After Christmas Sales” are nothing more than clothing stores peddling marked down winter clothing items to consumers in order to make room for spring wear. That means lots of discounted jackets, sweaters, coats, and boots for you.

So, when you collect your coins on Christmas, set some aside to make sure you’re funky fresh, dressed to impress for next winter’s festivities.

For summer clothes, the best time to shop is August. That’s when shorts, swimwear, flip-flops, and other summery clothing begins to get heavily marked down as stores clear off shelves for the remaining seasons of the year.

When searching for clothes during non-peak times, you can try discount chains like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Century 21 and Ross Dress for Less as financially savvy alternatives. There, you might find sandals in December, sweaters in July, and even discounted clothing for the current season. You particularly want to look for classic, non-trend items such as blazers, sweaters, polos, dress shirts, skirts, blouses, rugby’s, socks, accessories, etc. The goal is to find timeless pieces of good quality that you can wear long after a given trend dies. Ask your uncle about FUBU and it’s guaranteed he’ll co-sign that advice. Oh, don’t laugh, wait until your children see you in all of your Ed Hardy and Christian Audigier glory 20 years from now. Yep, a picture is worth a thousand words.

You can also check out consignment shops, thrift stores, resale shops, and sites like eBay. They all carry great clearance items, in addition to hard-to-find vintage pieces.

When you shop smarter, you’re less inclined to go over your budget because you’re shopping for the future, not impulse buying the shirt, shoes, jeans, belt and “must have” sunglasses for tomorrow.

Also, shopping sample sales, which usually take place in the cities where fashion brands are corporately located (namely New York and L.A.) are great ways to look straight out of GQ or Vogue, but without spending a month’s salary or having to decide between Rent or Gucci, yeah we know decisions, decisions. Before you get too upset that these said sample sales may not exist in your neck of the woods, or even that you can’t seem to access them if they do, there are websites like Gilt Groupe that specialize in bringing luxury brands for less to invited online shoppers. Trust us, they will change your whole concept of staying fashionable for less.

Don’t let anyone shun you for seeming “cheap.” They’ll be wearing the same thing you have on; only they paid twice as much for it.

Just dust your shoulders and your receipts off and let them be mad at the favors your frugality has afforded you.