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I’ve had people request a blog on how to find fashion bargains.  The problem with that is: I don’t want to give you my tips on how to find awesome clothes.  Some of them depend on not many people knowing how to play this game.

You don’t get awesome stuff for cheap conveniently.  You have to just decide that looking cool is worth your time and make a game plan.

January

January is the month most clothing is discounted the steepest.  There’s a huge after Christmas clearance.  If you go to a mall in January everything is on sale.  I intentionally didn’t write this in January when it was requested because I wanted a particular coat and if anyone I knew bought it before I did I may have literally cried.

Please see: I didn’t actually get that coat so now I have to stomp through the mud that is:

High End Discount Membership Sites

Rue La La, One Kings Lane, Gilte Group.  There are a bunch of sites that capitalize on the appeal of exclusivity and fashion.  They offer 24 hour clearances of fashion stuff and you get minimal warning as to what is going to be on sale.

The trick to using these sites is to have an idea of what you want and wait like a predator.  At all times, I have a list of things that I want to add to my wardrobe.  As with all design projects, having a clear vision and planning ahead separates the boys from the men.  I may only have a few expensive pieces in my closet but I curate very carefully.

There is coat I want.  I passively look for that coat everyday.  I’m signed up for those membership sites and wait for the brand I’m looking for to contract through them as well as:

Google Alerts for Pieces You’re After

I have a google alert sent to me whenever anything regarding the coat I want is posted on the internet.  Every ebay listing, blog post picture, passing mention of what will one day be my coat is sent to me and I pursue those links quickly.  That way, I will be the first responder when someone is dumb enough to sell it secondhand.  And if I’m not:

Have a Network

I have friends who spend a lot of time shopping and they know what pieces I’m after.  They send links my way when they think I may have missed something and I do the same for them.  This is great for friends with a different style than you so you’re never competing for items.

Amateur Hour

If you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re after in terms of pieces to add to your closet, I can’t be much help because my discount fashion aspirations hinge on the fact that I know exactly what I want.

If you’re looking to develop style and don’t have a clear picture of what pieces you want, I suggest you poke around Polyvore until you find a couple sets you want to recreate and then beeline for Etsy.  Etsy is going to have the most consistently stylish/cheap/well made stuff out there.  Etsy is also a B corporation, which means its less asshole-y, and you can feel good about supporting it and the artist you’re buying directly from.  It has the hidden advantage of you never going to a party dressed identically to someone else.

Remember when I wrote about men’s fashion?  Here’s the bad news: these tricks don’t work as well for men’s fashion because too many sites come from the perspective that men don’t care about fashion and they don’t cater to men.  There are less men’s fashion sales.  Yes, it is bullshit.

There may very well be similar resources for men’s fashion that I don’t know about because I’ve got hips like a fertility idol and I can’t wear men’s clothing.  I.e. it doesn’t apply to me so I don’t research it as thoroughly.

Good luck potential coat poachers!