Designer fashion on a budget

Illustration of three models wearing different couture looks inspired from international cultures and California.
Lucy Yang/Staff

Related Posts

Every time I scroll through Instagram, I’m envious of all the designer pieces owned by influencers and celebrities. When I try to shop for these luxury brands, I have to sort the prices “low to high” to see things that just might fall into the upper end of my budget. I could always buy a fake from Amazon, but it cannot replicate the feeling of owning a true haute couture item. Nonetheless, I’ve figured out how to bling on a budget with my online shopping skills.

Don’t shop on the brand’s website 

It makes sense to head over to a brand’s website to buy directly from a brand. However, prices will often remain stagnant without any sales or discounts. Instead, go to the website of a department store. Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus will have sales during holiday weekends with considerable discounts on luxury goods. Department stores do this to increase loyalty and hope that you will come back again. These items often sell fast so check the websites weekly to ensure you can snatch a piece.

Buy from a brand’s diffusion line

A diffusion line is the secondary line of fashion designers with items that sell at lower prices. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a wallet, you could potentially buy one from a diffusion line for tens to hundreds. Some popular brands include MM6 from Maison Margiela, Comme Des Garçons Play from Comme Des Garçons, Armani Exchange from Armani and Calvin Klein Jeans from Calvin Klein. Name a fashion house and it probably has a diffusion line with tons of merchandise. Diffusion lines still have luxurious quality, but won’t hurt your wallet.

Shop at the end of fashion seasons

Designer fashion has two main seasons: fall/winter and spring/summer. The two seasons are preceded by a fashion show where designers show their latest pieces, and these items will usually go on sale a month or two before the season ends. The designers want to get rid of their merchandise to have their inventory filled with new items and usually have significant discounts as a result. January to February will have fall/winter merchandise on sale and July to August will have discounted spring/summer items.

Buy accessories rather than clothing

Designer clothing has way too high of a price tag. A Balenciaga jacket will cost at least a grand and you might not even wear it, in fear that it’ll get dirty. Instead, you should buy accessories from these brands as they’re usually cheaper. Designer wallets, phone cases and sunglasses are often under $1,000 and you’ll get more use out of them. You are more likely to wear a designer scarf than a Saint Laurent sweater that might just stay in the closet.

These tips will have you rocking Gucci and Fendi without hurting your wallet. Resale sites are a good option, but there are numerous reports of fake luxury brand items slipping through the cracks. These options will ensure that you have the real deal without breaking the bank.

Contact Nicholas Clark at [email protected].