I remember a few years ago I was interviewed by a journalist about my style. She asked me what I was wearing, how much it cost, and how much I spend on my clothes each month.
Firstly, I spend money on clothes depending on how much is in the fund that month, if I actually need something for an event or a change of season, and if I have spotted a trend I love and want to integrate it into my wardrobe.
But secondly, and the focus of this post…I remember talking about my boots. The boots I had spotted the last time I was in London – they were on sale and were the last in my size. They had been reduced a few times from £95 and at the till I expected to buy them for £25, but they had been reduced again to £9! Now for me, this is a massive achievement, it gives me a buzz, what a discount! But when I saw the £9 tag against the photo in the paper, I felt like my clothes were cheap.
A few years on and I am very proud of my thrifty buying. At the minute, some 11 year old girls I know ask me every day about what I am wearing and whether I paid full price. It all began when I was at the charity shop buying a cardigan for our school drama production and happened to pick myself up two blouses, one at £6, one at £7. The following day (nothing lies unworn in my wardrobe!) I was wearing one and declared proudly that I got it from a charity shop so everyday since I have to give a running commentary on whether I paid full price or not. Now getting to the main point! Most days (and even to my surprise), most parts of my outfit have been discounted. Bargain hunting (or maybe more accurately, bargain finding!) is my current favourite thing;)
It’s not a love for sale shopping that allows this (I made it to the Boxing Day sales for the first time ever only this year!), but just buying smartly. Well actually, the more I thought about this, it’s often just luck! A few things I do that helps however…
- browse – I rarely shop for a specific item, rather, I browse and see what fits with any gaps in my wardrobe (you need to know your wardrobe for this one to work, otherwise you end up buying more of what you already have)
- have my discount vouchers at the ready – and don’t buy without them. If they are in another wallet, I have to wait!
- return anything that doesn’t suit – and that includes not just keeping it because you got some money off, you have to love it!
- be open to the variety of shops you buy from – I have got some of my favourite clothes from charity shops (I am still learning the art of charity shopping!) and second hand sales but I’ve also found a few surprises in boutiques. It’s the luck of the draw so be open!
- buy pieces you can wear in more than one way. My style is forever changing, not due to the quantity of clothes I own, but how I mix and match them. Price per wear is a wonderful calculation to do;)
If you are stuck on where to even begin, search for some shopping tips here, meanwhile, here are some of my recent best buys (all stolen from my Instagram page (silverbrogues if you are not already following)!
Online secondhand goods from Depop – Zara bomber £8
Denim bomber by Red or Dead from Ebay £10
Shirt bought when I was doing my teacher training (quite a while ago!). Spotted in a boutique, bought a month later from TK Maxx.
H&M always have a sale rail, and the items are normally £10 or below. I always have a look here when I’m in (but I get the best buys from H&M Forestside for any locals!). Jumper £10
Dress in the ‘end of the sale, sale’ a few years ago.
Shoes bought from Debenhams during a discount weekend.
I don’t buy much in Zara at full price but their sales are amazing! This dress was one of those purchases I thought I’d never wear but have found lots of ways to style it – and I can’t complain when it only cost £5!
Another old shirt (bought with my student loan – I’ll not tell you how many years since Uni!).
Skirt Ted Baker from House of Fraser. A size too big but still fits enough for the price I paid!!
I always wait out for Clarks sale to stock up on my brogues. They are so comfortable and normally go to at least half price (I stalk their website at sale time!!).
From a shop called Deja Vu on the Lisburn Road – full of unique treasures, you just need a good hoke!
T-shirt is Cos and the cardigan is the exact style I’d searched all winter for and never found!
From the charity shop bag in my own house – it’s a men’s cardigan from All Saints. It’s now mine;)
And finally the shirt that began the debate. Oxfam Vintage £6
And one final thing I will say, a bargain gives you the best feeling…but give something back. I always pay full price for local design as I think it is so important to support our own talent.
What bargains have you managed to get your hands on recently?