Knowing where to shop makes the difference

4 Ways to Buy Clothes for Less

by Kyleigh Vrettos

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Picture this scene: You're at the mall and you spot the perfect shirt, the flattering pair of pants, or the statement jacket you've been searching for calling out your name. As you take the garment off the rack to examine it, you think of at least three outfits you can create by pairing the piece with items from your closet. The color is perfect and the fabric is of high quality. There's just one last thing to check: the price. It's a lot higher than you budgeted for. Disappointed, you put the item back on the rack and walk out of the store.

Most of us have experienced this kind of situation at one time or another because the price for fashionable clothing can be extraordinarily high. But there are ways to find the clothes you want for reasonable prices. You just have to know where to look. The options below provide some alternatives to pricy department stores and mall brands.

1. Shop at Resale Stores

Consignment and resale stores can offer some great pieces for reasonable prices. Plato's Closet and Clothes Mentor are chains located around the United States. Plato's Closet offers casual, trendy clothes while Clothes Mentor has options appropriate for business-casual and dressy occasions. Pick up a gently-used pair of jeans by brands like Citizens of Humanity, Michael Kors, and Lucky Brand for much less than you would pay for a new pair at the mall. Bonus: you can sell your gently-used articles of clothing to go toward paying for your new pieces.

2. Sign Up for Members-Only Websites

If you want to own a designer item but don't want to pay full price, sign up for sites like Rue La La or Gilt. These members-only websites offer designer brands for a lot less than retail value. Brands are available for a limited time. Shipping fees are fairly low for Gilt, and Rue La La offers a one-time monthly shipping fee of approximately $10. This is a great way to get the latest fashions for less money if you're into name brands.

3. Browse Independent and Chain Thrift Stores

You never know what treasures you'll find at a thrift store. Independent stores and boutiques can provide some great vintage finds. Chain thrift stores like Goodwill, Savers, and the Salvation Army are conveniently located around the country. While it might be more time-consuming to sort through all of the options, the potential bargains could be worth it. You're bound to find something unique and original compared to the mall brands your peers are wearing.

4. Host a Clothing Swap

Get some new clothes without spending a dime by hosting a clothing swap. On the invitation, specify that everyone may pick out the same number of clothes and accessories that they bring. Make an evening of it by hosting a party complete with food, drinks, and a movie to fit the theme. (Think Confessions of a Shopaholic or Clueless.) You'll have a great night in with friends as well as brand new clothes to spruce up your wardrobe.

Kyleigh Vrettos is a recent graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania's Master of Science in Library Science online program. She resides with her husband in a suburb of Nashville, TN. You can find her on Google+.

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