Getting Discounts for Your Work Wardrobe

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Ann Taylor Sale

Be sure to check out a site’s sales section.

By now, you’ve probably read my other articles on building a shopping list and figuring out how to budget and where to shop.

Now it’s time to save some serious money.

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For my recent wardrobe overhaul, I saved hundreds of dollars by using a combination of sales, coupons, and negotiation. Yes, you can negotiate in a store.

I’m not much of an online shopper when it comes to clothing. (I’m old fashioned that way, I suppose.) However, there are some universal truths for all shopping:

Use Coupons

Whether you are buying online or inside a store, you can use coupons anywhere. By doing some quick Google searches, I found tons of options! Some were “10% off select items.” Others included 20%–40% off anything in the store. If the shop allows you to tack that on to a 30% off sale, you can get as much as 70% off some or all of your items.

Don’t think hunting down deals is worth it? Let’s do some math. Say I found a suit online (in the sale section of the site, of course!) that cost $267.98. If I had a coupon code for 30% off, that would decrease my total to $187.59—$80 less, and all it cost me was a Google search!

Sometimes you can get regular discounts for subscribing to an online newsletter or card membership. This can give you an extra 10%–15% off. So for our example, an extra 10% knocks the $187.59 down by $18, putting me at $168.83. Now I’ve saved almost $100!

(Note: I don’t generally use store credit cards, as the interest rates can skyrocket. However, if you already have one—and you are careful with it—they can usually save you an extra 10%–15%.)

Using Sales

If you’re going to roam the sales racks, make sure you’re getting as big of a discount as possible.

When I updated my work wardrobe, my friend clued me in to the VIP Lounge sales at the outlet mall. By signing up online, I could see every store’s sale that week so I could plan my trip.

On top of that, I could get an extra percentage off just for being a member—in other words, double couponing!

Negotiation

One of the biggest surprises that I discovered was how easy it is to negotiate a price when you’re shopping for clothing. I seriously watched my friend argue the price of a $400 jacket down to $100!

The trick she taught me was that you should never buy an item for full price if it has a flaw—and she’s very good at finding them. If a button is missing, a seam is off, or maybe there is a lipstick mark—whatever—it could mean a ton of savings for you. As she says, “The worst they can say is ‘no.’ ”

The Second-Hand Market

When I was living in New York City, I found a wonderful little thrift store that had clothes in FANTASTIC condition. If you are thinking about looking at the second-hand marketplace, and are in a major city, look in the boroughs where a lot of urban professionals live. In Astoria, NY, I found a thrift store that had brand new shoes and jackets with the tags still in place—less than $30!

Shopping Online

If you are savvy in the online shopping market (and you don’t mind taking a risk on fit), you may have tried gilt.com, justfab.com, Ideeli.com, or other sites of this genre. Basically, they give you the chance to get a deal on top designer brands through 1-day ONLY sale events.

These are first-come first-serve sites—so the supply goes fast. But if you know your brands, it can be a good option for one of your store destinations. If you want to know more about how to shop online for your work wardrobe, stay tuned for a future post!

Got any tricks for saving money when shopping for clothing? Let me know! 

(Photo: AnnTaylor.com)

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