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Being a dedicated follower of fashion does not necessarily mean you have to sell a kidney in order to buy that little black dress or that leather jacket that’ll get you noticed. With a little imagination and a bit of determination, you can create and maintain a wardrobe that won’t cost you a packet.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to save money on clothing
1. Shop end-of-season sales
Many retailers offer significant discounts on clothing at the end of each season to make room for new inventory. Keep an eye out for these sales, which often occur in January and July. The best ways to do this include joining mailing lists and following your favourite brands on social media.
2. Explore thrift stores, charity shops and car boot sales
Thrift stores, charity shops and car boot sales are treasure troves of affordable clothing options. You can find gently-used clothing, shoes, and accessories at a fraction of the cost of buying new. Not only is thrift shopping budget-friendly, but it’s also eco-friendly by reducing clothing waste.
Here are a few popular online charity shops and thrift stores:
Oxfam Online Shop
Oxfam is a well-known international charity organisation that operates an online shop selling a wide range of secondhand items, including clothing, books, accessories, and homeware.
Website: Oxfam Online Shop
British Heart Foundation eBay Store
The British Heart Foundation runs an eBay store where you can find a variety of pre-loved clothing, furniture, electronics, and more. Proceeds from sales support their charitable work.
Website: British Heart Foundation eBay Store
Barnardo’s Online Shop
Barnardo’s, a charity focused on supporting vulnerable children and young people, operates an online shop offering secondhand clothing, books, toys, and household items.
Website: Barnardo’s Online Shop
Sue Ryder Online Shop
Sue Ryder is a charity organisation that provides compassionate care and support for individuals with life-limiting conditions. Their online shop features a variety of secondhand clothing, furniture, and other goods.
Website: Sue Ryder Online Shop
Salvation Army eBay Shop
The Salvation Army runs an eBay shop where you can find a selection of secondhand clothing, accessories, electronics, and more. Proceeds from sales support the charity’s programs and services.
Website: Salvation Army eBay Shop
These online platforms offer a convenient way to shop for secondhand items while supporting charitable causes. Each website provides detailed information about their products, shipping policies, and how your purchases contribute to their charitable missions.
3. Utilise online marketplaces and secondhand apps
Platforms like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Depop, and Vinted offer a vast selection of secondhand clothing from sellers. You can find everything from high-street brands to designer labels at discounted prices. Plus, selling clothes you no longer wear can help fund new additions to your wardrobe.
- Depop: A social shopping app where users can buy and sell unique fashion items, including secondhand clothing, shoes, and accessories. Website: Depop
- Vinted: A peer-to-peer marketplace where users can buy, sell, and swap secondhand clothing and accessories. Website: Vinted
- Etsy: A marketplace for handmade and vintage items, including clothing, accessories, and jewelry. Website: Etsy
- ThredUp: An online thrift store offering secondhand clothing, shoes, and accessories for women and kids. Website: ThredUp
- Poshmark: A social commerce platform where users can buy and sell new and used clothing, shoes, and accessories. Website: Poshmark
- Rebelle: Rebelle is a platform for buying and selling pre-loved luxury fashion items, including clothing, bags, shoes, and accessories. It focuses on high-quality secondhand designer pieces. Website: Rebelle
- Beyond Retro: Beyond Retro specialises in vintage and secondhand clothing, offering a wide range of unique and retro-inspired pieces for men and women. Website: Beyond Retro
- Grailed: Grailed is a curated marketplace for men’s fashion, including secondhand clothing, shoes, and accessories from both established and emerging designers. Website: Grailed
- The RealReal: The RealReal offers authenticated luxury consignment items, including clothing, accessories, and jewelry, from top designer brands. Website: The RealReal
- Tradesy: Tradesy specialises in secondhand designer clothing, handbags, shoes, and accessories for women. It offers a curated selection of high-end fashion items. Website: Tradesy
4. Sign up for loyalty programs and newsletters
Many retailers offer loyalty programs and email newsletters that provide exclusive discounts and early access to sales. By signing up, you can stay informed about promotions and special offers, helping you save money on clothing purchases throughout the year.
5. Host clothing swaps with friends
Organise a clothing swap with friends or family members to refresh your wardrobe without spending a penny. Gather items you no longer wear but are still in good condition and exchange them for pieces that others no longer need. It’s a fun and cost-effective way to update your look.
6. Invest in timeless basics
Focus on building a versatile wardrobe with timeless basics that never go out of style. Items like plain T-shirts, classic jeans, and neutral-colored jackets can be mixed and matched to create countless outfits. Investing in quality pieces may initially cost more but can save you money in the long run by reducing the need for frequent replacements.
7. Practice mindful shopping
Before making a purchase, ask yourself if the item is something you truly need and will wear regularly. Avoid impulse buys and trendy pieces that may quickly go out of style. By practicing mindful shopping habits, you can make more informed decisions and avoid unnecessary spending.
8. Take advantage of student discounts
If you’re a student, make sure to take advantage of student discounts offered by many retailers. Present your student ID at participating stores or use student discount codes online to unlock savings on clothing and accessories. It’s a great way to stretch your budget while still enjoying fashionable finds.
Some brands and stores that offer student discounts:
- New Look
- River Island
- Urban Outfitters
- Jack Wills
- The Body Shop
- Dorothy Perkins
9. Follow budget-friendly fashion bloggers and influencers
Many fashion bloggers and influencers specialise in budget-friendly style tips. Follow them on social media platforms to discover affordable clothing options, styling ideas, and exclusive discount codes. These influencers often share their favourite budget-friendly brands and shopping hacks, helping you save money on clothing purchases.
10. Attend clothing sample sales and pop-up shops
Keep an eye out for clothing sample sales and pop-up shops happening in your area or online. These events offer steep discounts on brand-name clothing, accessories, and footwear. While sample sales typically feature limited quantities and sizes, they’re excellent opportunities to snag high-quality items at unbeatable prices.
Clothing sample sales and pop-up shops hosted by brands and independent designers are frequently advertised on social media platforms and event listing websites in major UK cities like London, Manchester, and Birmingham.
11. Learn basic clothing repair and maintenance skills
Extend the lifespan of your clothing by learning basic repair and maintenance skills. Invest in a sewing kit and learn how to sew on buttons, mend small tears, and hem pants or skirts. By taking care of your clothes properly, you can avoid premature wear and tear, reducing the frequency of replacements and saving money in the long term.
12. Consider renting special occasion clothing
For special occasions like weddings or black-tie events, consider renting formal attire instead of buying it outright. Renting allows you to wear designer clothing for a fraction of the cost, making it a budget-friendly option for one-time events. Look for reputable clothing rental services that offer a wide selection of styles and sizes.