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The Fashion Frugalista

by Kimberly Danger

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Do you love high fashion, but hate paying high prices? Do you have Prada taste but an Old Navy Budget? Then you just might be a fashion frugalista. There's one in every circle: the woman who always manages to look like a million bucks on the skimpiest budget. How does she do it? Here are some secrets every FF knows:

Pair Bargain Finds with Basics

Don't skimp on standards like jeans, black trousers, and good shoes. A crisp white cotton blouse is another great investment. When fit and style is of the utmost importance, a cheap imitation just won't do. Consider these basics the building blocks of your wardrobe and buy the best your budget will allow. Then when you do find cute, trendy clothes at rock bottom prices, you'll already have the pieces to go along with them.

Do Your Research

You can't buy the latest trends if you don't know what they are. Fashion Frugalistas are in touch with what's hot in fashion right now and can spot a hot trend a mile away. Read fashion mags like Vogue, Elle, and Bazaar to get the scoop on what designers are touting this season.

Wait before You Buy

By waiting a few months to pick up the latest fashions, you'll get a bigger bang for your buck. For example, fall clothes typically hit the racks in July and start getting marked down in September. Who needs a sweater in July anyway? If you wait until October or November to buy (when you actually need the item), you can save up to 75%.

Know Where to Shop

Because stores like Target and Old Navy are constantly getting in new merchandise, they need to clear out their older styles on a regular basis. You'll almost always find a great selection of markdowns on their clearance racks. Consignment stores can be a source for high-quality basics like trousers, blouses, and basic sweaters. Avoid anything trendy at consignment stores since they almost exclusively carry goods from seasons past.

Shop Online

Don't forget to check out online stores for great deals. Be wary of shipping costs, which can offset the money you're actually saving. eBay can be a hidden source of clothing bargains as well. Overstock has also added an auction to their site, which shows the potential for another great bargain-hunting resource. Search by your size and favorite brand names.

Update with Accessories

Belts, earrings, necklaces, and scarves are an inexpensive way to breathe new life into your old wardrobe. Look for cute styles at H&M, Target, Lerner NY, and Express.

Kimberly Danger is the author of the book 1000 Best Baby Bargains. She is also the owner/publisher of, an online resource for parents interested in saving time and money. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and children.

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