Everyone knows that buying quality clothes from high-end department stores can be expensive. But buying cheap ones from discounters can be too, if you end up replacing them after just a few uses. So where do you look if you want to find good, quality clothes at prices you can afford?
Where to Buy Quality Clothes for Less
The good news is that there are lots of options to choose from when shopping for quality new and used clothes for less. Here are a few:
Thrift stores can be a great source of quality clothes for less. I don’t know what prices are like in your area, but where I live, most items sell in the $3-7 range. But, and this is a big but, you need to be very patient and may have to sort through a lot of junk to find the right thing you’re looking for. Personally, as an XL size man, I have very little success in finding quality clothes my size at a thrift store. My petite wife says it’s because many men wear their clothes until they wear them out, and never get around to donating them to charity. On the other hand, she finds quality name brand items she loves nearly every time she hits the thrift store.
A consignment shop is a secondhand store where individual people sell their quality, like-new brand name or designer clothes. When an item is sold, the profits are split between the owner of the clothes and the owner of the shop, as agreed upon in advance. While prices vary, you can expect to pay around 20-40% of retail price.
Garage and Yard Sales
You can find incredible deals on clothes – especially baby and kids clothes – for pennies on the dollar at garage and yard sales. But things are hit and miss. Sometimes you see an ad for a sale and you go there and find that all the good stuff is already gone. Other times you just happen to stumble upon a sale while you’re out driving one day, you stop in and find just what you’ve been looking for.
Second Best Sales
Some churches and community groups sponsor second best sales, where new and quality used or like new clothes are sold and a portion of the proceeds benefits the church or community group. Where I live, a Jewish synagogue and the YMCA are both famous for hosting second best sales, and people mark their calendars to make sure they shop them each year.
Department Store Sales & Discount Racks
If you want to buy new, quality name brand items at value prices, department stores can be a good bet if you know when and where to shop them. The Christmas season (including Black Friday) is a great time for sales and deals on clothes. Women’s clothes always go on sale in May for Mother’s Day. Men’s clothes go on sale in June for Father’s Day. Kids’ clothes go on sale in August for back to school. Exercise wear always goes on sale right after Christmas through the New Year. And there are plenty of other sales throughout the year, but you have to keep your eyes open to know when they are so you can take advantage of them.
Don’t forget to check the discount racks, where you can find great closeouts and end-of-the-season deals at up to 90% off the original retail price. My wife almost exclusively buys her clothes from the discount racks these days. Last week, I saw a leather jacket that was originally priced at $600, but was going for $100 now. I didn’t buy it, but I’ll go back in a week to see if it’s still there . . . and if it’s any cheaper.
Discount & Outlet Stores
Discount stores like T.J.Maxx and Marshalls offer name brand quality clothes at 20-60% off retail. They get their inventory from manufacturer overruns and department store overbuys and order cancellations.
Some manufacturers like Columbia and Eddie Bauer have their own factory outlet stores where they sell their own overruns and closeouts at a discount. And some high end department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom have their own outlet stores, like Saks Off Fifth and Nordstrom Rack, where they sell their overbuys and closeouts off-price.
Online shopping makes it easy to find brand name, quality clothes for less. First, you can price shop to find the best deals among local and national department stores in your area and make your purchases in-store or online. Second, you can use Craigslist to find local deals on new and used clothes and e-Bay to buy from sellers around the world. And third, you can buy directly from e-tailers like Amazon, Hautelook.com, 10dollarmall.com, and hundreds of other sites. Of course, one downside to online purchasing is that you can’t try it on before you buy it.
Somebody Has to Pay Retail, But . . .
A wise person once told me that “Somebody has to pay retail – but it doesn’t have to be you.” And it won’t be you, either, when you know where to buy quality clothes for less. Here are three tips to help you know how to buy them for less as well:
- Know what you want in terms of quality and style.
- Know your prices, so you’ll recognize a great deal when you see one.
- Be patient and take your time to find what you’re looking for at the price you’re willing to pay.
What are your favorite tips for buying quality clothes for less? Leave a comment!