About 7 years ago, I received my first classic Chanel handbag. I remember wanting this bag for such a long time – two years to be exact! At that time, I didn’t feel right spending thousands of dollars on one handbag. I understand the reasoning behind the pricing; Chanel bags are intricate and carefully made, with pristine leather and hardware. I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. Since this Chanel bag was pretty much THE only thing I could talk about, my family got sick of listening to me. So, for one of my birthdays, they got me this handbag. It was so thoughtful of them and it still remains to be my absolute favorite handbag. Side note, since I got the medium size classic bag, the price has gone up by $1,500.
I’m sure you’re not surprised by that Chanel story; you all know how much I adore Chanel handbags! They just add a sense of simple glamour to any outfit; most of us can spot a beautiful Chanel bag from far away and appreciate it instantly. I have a few Chanel bags in my arsenal now, and they have been worth it in terms of how well their structure holds up, and how they add that beautiful element to every outfit I come up with.
The reason I wanted to share this story with you is because of my love for designer items. I’ve learned a thing or two about how you can buy classic designer pieces without breaking the bank. Yes, it is possible! For example; even if you want to purchase a designer item right from one of their flagship stores and pay full price, you should do research so you’re assured that you’re purchasing a classic, so that it holds its value. A lot of unique skill and work goes into just one designer piece, like a handbag, a pair of shoes, or a dress, that makes it go up in value significantly.
Do Your Research
Doing your research on a classic designer piece you might want to buy is essential, as you can learn more about the actual value of the piece and how much it has gone up in the past few years. This will also help you determine if that piece you want is from a new, trendy collection, or is maybe an improvement on a classic style from that particular designer. If you’re trying not to break the bank and wish to make the most of your investment, I suggest you avoid buying new collections. They go out of style the next day, and they don’t maintain their value as much as a classic piece does.
Discounts on Discounts
I get a lot of my designer pieces from outlets, sample sales, and discounted shops like Saks Off 5th (a discounted Saks Fifth Avenue). It’s also worth searching through Nordstrom Rack; you can get VERY lucky there! If you don’t live in an area with these types of shops, you can find some online; just do your research to make sure you are buying from an online shop that has the authority to sell authentic designer pieces! You may not necessarily find those high-end, luxury couture designers like Chanel or Hermes at these places, but you may score a classic piece from a contemporary designer you love. Some websites I can recommend to you that offer discounted designer pieces are Yooks, Ssense, Bluefly, and Farfetched.
Go To Europe!
On my last trip to Italy, I made my way to an outlet in Florence thanks to a recommendation from my friend Aimee, of Song of Style. I found this stunning YSL leather jacket for 60% off! This was a bargain I could not pass up, knowing that a YSL leather jacket will last me a lifetime, and never go out of style. I also found some incredible designer shoes for less than $200, but since I have such a common shoe size (6.5/7) it was hard to find my size. That’s another thing to keep in mind when you’re shopping outlets and second-hand; there are limited availability of various sizes. We also ended up finding a few nice things for my hubby – the lucky duck found his size in EVERYTHING he liked! I would highly recommend taking a stroll to this shop if you’re ever in Florence; it’s called The Mall.
Another thing I learned while in Paris is that, as many of these classic designer pieces are made in Paris or Italy, they are cheaper where they are manufactured. If you consider the cost of shipping a Chanel or Louis Vuitton from Paris to the U.S., you can understand why that shop might then mark up the price. They paid more to have the item in their store, and they want to make a profit. So if you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to Europe, consider saving to find a designer piece to add to your wardrobe then. A nice little tip: when you purchase something over $150 in Europe, you get back the tax amount at the airport on your way back home! When I did my shopping in Paris, not only did I save on the classic designer pieces I found, but I got 11% cash back!
Another option for finding classic designer pieces without breaking the bank, although you’ll have to invest some time, is looking through thrift stores and consignment shops. Consignment stores buy items off of their community, and are equipped with the knowledge or resources to authenticate designers items brought in. They can offer them for less, and sellers can make a little bit of money out of items they aren’t using. Thrift stores often get donated pieces, so it can be harder to find authentic designers pieces, but not impossible. I have a friend who buys all of her handbags from thrift stores; she’s even found Chanel! Buying second hand is not for everyone, but there are more and more shops popping up that select each item in the store to ensure quality and cleanliness. Personally, I don’t buy second hand shoes for hygienic purposes, but I appreciate how fabulous a thrift store find can make you feel!
Although, as you can see, there are SO many great ways to save money on designer pieces. I do think that it’s worth paying full price in the store for designer accessories, like jewelry or belts. I love me some beautiful earrings and necklaces, and I don’t mind spending a little extra on great quality pieces that will add versatility and dimension to my outfits. I also love throwing on a cool belt; it’s just a part of my personal style that I’ve developed to accessorize my outfits. Of course, because an accessory is a smaller piece, it won’t be as big of a purchase as a handbag or a jacket.
I always find it so cool when I see someone who has mixed high-end with low-end to create their own message with their style. That’s what really matters; wearing something you love because you appreciate it, regardless of what label is on the item. But when a designer piece speaks to you, there are ways to find those items you love for less. I’d love to hear your stories about how you scored your favorite designer items without breaking the bank, and let me know if any of these tips help you!