Shopping Designer Brands on a Budget

If you follow my Instagram page, you may have noticed a few posts I made about some designer items of clothing I have recently purchased for incredible prices. I’ve had numerous requests to share how I find these and where I shop for them, so read on if you’d like to find out!

If you follow my Instagram page, you may have noticed a few posts I made about some designer items of clothing I have recently purchased for incredible prices. I’ve had numerous requests to share how I find these and where I shop for them, so read on if you’d like to find out!

Vinted

Vinted is an online shop where anyone can sell their clothing, shoes, handbags, accessories etc. I have been using this to shop for clothes for about 2 years now, and I love it for multiple reasons:

  1. Once you put in your size (for clothes and shoes) it automatically only shows you items that are your size so you don’t have to scroll through millions of items that won’t fit you.
  2. You can also pick your favourite brands so it shows you items listed from those brands mostly, although you will still see others too, now and then.
  3. If the seller doesn’t send your item within 5 days, you automatically get a refund. If items gets lost in the post, or you have any other issues, the Vinted team are very good at mediating and making sure nobody is scammed. Users get reviews (both as sellers and as buyers) so if you read these before buying, you’ll have a pretty good idea if a seller (or buyer) is reliable.
  4. You can find items for all budgets.

I use this app to get most of my designer items for a discounted price. Most recently, I purchased a vintage Yves Saint Laurent wool pencil skirt for £12! It’s in impeccable condition, and I paid a total of £15 with postage and the small charge Vinted adds to all purchases as insurance to make sure you get refunded if you have any issues.

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The way I find these amazing items is by spending time regularly searching for the brands I know I like. It does take some effort, a bit like shopping in a store where you have to look through various items until you find one you love – but when you get vintage YSL for the price of a pub dinner all those hours spent browsing suddenly feel well worth it.

This app is probably my favourite way to shop for designer brands on a budget. There are always lots available, and you can order from anywhere as it’s all online. It also has a function where you can favourite items so it saves them for later – I normally use this when I find something I like but am not yet ready to spend money on it, so I save it until I am ready to buy it. You do run the risk that someone else will get it before you, but this has only happened to me once.

20190404_182155I do use this app to buy pre-loved clothes that might be from fast fashion brands, and although I am currently trying to not support these brands by buying items in their shops, I feel that buying their items pre-loved helps encourage less waste. So I have also got some Zara, River Island and New Look clothes (for under £5) – when it comes to quality I feel that these 3 brands have the best quality items out of the “fast fashion” stores.

Alongside the YSL skirt, I have also come across numerous items of clothing from Max Mara that cost less than £30, Prada handbags for £25, Burberry trousers for £20, a Chloe pull for £15 and countless Chanel handbags for £150 or even less sometimes. They are all genuine items!

Charity Shops

In the UK, charity shops are stores that sell all sorts of donated items in good condition, and they are run by various charities so the sales support their cause. Having worked with Age UK and Cancer Research, I know that the sales from these shops really do support good causes so I like to have a look around and buy anything I like in order to give them my support.

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Vintage earrings I purchased through Vinted

More recently, however, an increasing amount of people donate their designer clothes to charity shops, especially in some parts of the country, meaning you can now find some really incredible items in these shops. The stores in Marylebone are especially known to contain many designer items, so if you have your heart set on certain names, these shops are worth visiting. 

Although the designer items are quite rare in most of the UK’s charity shops outside of London, I have found some really beautiful items of great quality that were not designer, and they all cost less than £5.

Instagram

There is a new way to shop that has been gaining more and more popularity recently – the Instagram shop. This is normally an Instagram account that posts photos of the items they have on sale, and users can DM the account to request to buy an item. They are then sent a PayPal invoice and are given a certain amount of time during which to pay, and once they pay, the seller posts the item to them.

Although this has its risks, I have come across numerous beautiful accounts that are trusted and have built a good reputation of being reliable. Most are based in the US but will post worldwide, and the ones I look at usually sell vintage designer items such as vintage Ralph Lauren, Chanel and YSL.

I am obsessed with these currently – some of their items are absolutely stunning and very well priced (e.g. a vintage Ralph Lauren blazer for $60). The items are in great condition and really quite unique by now, which really appeals to me. I would love to see more UK based Instagram shops that do this, as I adore most of the items they sell but I find the shipping costs from the US (or Australia) quite off putting. Here are my favourite Instagram shops:

  • Voho Vintage – ships worldwide, is US based
  • OhMadameVintage – ships worldwide, is based in Australia
  • LadyLVintageCo – ships worldwide, also US based
  • DeuxBirds – my absolute favourite as they stock some really incredible items that are very rare, and they ship everything in biodegradable packaging. These sell super fast though!

Bicester Village

I am fortunate to live near a designer outlet called Bicester Village where lots of designer stores sell their items at a discounted price. Some of the brands here include Dior, Ralph Lauren, Balenciaga, Max Mara and Victoria Beckham.

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Chloe pull – also from Vinted

Although I prefer to buy pre-loved as I’m trying to do my bit for the environment, if I need something that I can’t find through Vinted or Instagram, I head to Bicester Village. Some of the discounts are up to 75% off the usual retail price, and you KNOW they’re all completely genuine as they’re sold by the brands themselves.

If you sign up to their email newsletter, you also get to find out about sales which can be added to the already discounted price, meaning you can save ridiculous amounts of money off the original price. Most recently, the Bicester Village Spring Sale meant that by signing up to the sale, you could get 25% off the already discounted price – when you’re looking at a handbag that costs £1,000 that 25% is quite a bit of money saved!

T.K. Maxx

Another place I like to shop now and then is T.K. Maxx where I have found not only great clothes at great prices, but also candles and beauty products at a fraction of their usual retail price. I especially enjoy shopping for shoes and handbags here, and accessories such as sunglasses – I find they stock some really beautiful items in these areas and they’re always very affordable. Most recently, I got a pair of Oscar de la Renta sunglasses for £20. I also like to use this store to buy items that I want brand new, rather than pre-loved (i.e. underwear, socks, boots).

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Oscar de la Renta sunglasses purchased from T.K. Maxx

Conclusion

I won’t lie, all of these methods do take some time and effort until you find something that you really like (other than the Instagram shop I guess, they always have amazing items but they sell very fast so the effort is more in acting fast). A bit like shopping in a physical store, you have to do some “walking around” and browsing until you find something, but when you do it feels amazing.

Vintage designer items are especially rare and valuable, and I am completely obsessed with them. The quality of these products are so much higher than what I used to buy from highstreet stores and you know they will be quite unique so I would urge everybody to look into this when shopping for clothes.

They’re also much better for the environment as it encourages us to re-use the clothes instead of throw them away (why would anyone throw away vintage designer clothes??) and as more and more people, especially young people, are moving away from fast fashion and towards more sustainable fashion this is, in my opinion, the best way to shop for clothing in 2019.

Please let me know in the comments below if this has been any help, and let me know where you like to shop!

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