Finding really cheap designer clothes is almost a holy grail for some women.Older women living on a budget may care less about a designer label than finding quality fashion at affordable prices.
Either way, it takes persistence and a bit of luck to find that perfect garment at a price that makes others envious.
Mandy, a Fashion After 50 reader, reports that she's found charity shops can be a good place to find clothes for a hard-to-fit figure.
Resale stores run on donations are called charity shops in Great Britain.
Interest is huge in finding where to get the best buys.
I purchased a Diana Fries boho silk dress for five dollars in a Salvation Army. Unfortunately, it is not my size, and I dont have many occasions to wear a beaded silk outfit. This designer's dresses run $450 and up. I just gave it to a friend who is fits perfectly and loves it. That alone is worth the purchase price.
Consignment shops sell gently-used high-end women's clothing. The shop owner usually takes around 40% of the sales price, and the woman who left the garment for receives the rest of the money.
Its not unusual for the consignment shop to take as much as 65% of the sales price.
Ebay functions as a the premier source of gently worn clothing. Like a consignment shop, ebay provides promotion for the sellers items and takes a part of the sales price.
This is another place to find really cheap designer clothes.
The ebay index is like the racks in a bricks-and-mortar shop that make is easy for the shopper to find what you are selling.
Unlike in a traditional consignment store, the ebay seller must deal directly with the buyer.
Customer service complaints may arise. It's best to disclose everything that can possibly be wrong with an item to avoid disputes.
Here are some questions you may have about where to find charity stores, resale shops, thrift stores, and consignment stores with the best bargains and really cheap designer clothes.
If you live in medium-size city or small town, women who wear designer fashion and expensive clothing may be in short supply.
Presumably, similar tastes prevail in large, cosmopolitan cities around the world.
These fashionistas dutifully purge out-of-date styles from their wardrobes frequently to remain fashion leaders. They are not likely to take a jaunt into the countryside to donate their gently-used clothing, however.
Many dresses and suits have classic lines that still have many years of use in them. This makes them prized as really cheap designer clothes.
Image consultants tell clients who want quality clothing for their work wardrobes that shopping for resales may be a good way to find affordable upscale fashion.
If you live in a small town that does not have a large, fashion-conscious population, use vacations and business trips to style meccas for your fashion treasure hunts.
Charity, resale, and consignment stores may be found in the yellow pages of phone books. These days, you may find some online.
It's possible to find almost anything in resale stores. One friend bought a mink coat for a few hundred dollars, for example.
Perhaps you will find a perfect little black dress with a top designer label and all the finishing hand-sewn in the tiny stitches of designer clothing that sells for hundreds of dollars or even thousands.
Anything is possible, but it is unlikely that you will find the perfect navy blue business suit, a crisp white blouse with no underarm stains, and matching high-quality handbag and shoes.
Resale shopping for really cheap designer clothes is a hit-or-miss activity.
If you need a black skirt that goes with everything, you cannot count on finding it the first time you breeze into a consignment or charity store.
A fashionista is likely to keep this versatile must in her own wardrobe until it shows signs of age. You probably won't want to add the garment to your closet when it is in end-of-life condition.
Before hitting the cash register, consider when and where you can use this garment.
Also consider cost-per-wearing, covered in basic wardrobe planning.
Two additional reasons for the purchase are possible resale value or the simple pleasure of admiring this choice clothing find.
You may be able to resell it again on ebay or a local consignment shop if the price is super-low.
Or if you really love the look and feel of superior fabric, design, and construction, enjoy the dress or suit as a work of art.
Two tricks for finding really cheap designer clothes you will want to wear and other quality fashion on resale: (1) look at everything and (2) examine every item carefully before purchase.
First, take your time.
A bargain may be hiding among the offerings of charity stores. This is especially true when the racks are stuffed and sizes are out-of-order.
Methodically look at the item on each hanger. Your fashion treasure hunt may produce a rare find you will wear for years.
Second, carefully check the garment for stains, tears, poor tailoring, overall wear, and odors.
Some things cannot be fixed. If you find a stunning item among the really cheap designer clothes that has a stain, it may well be in the resale shop because the donor could not remove it.
A broken zipper usually can be replaced. However, if the fabric has become thin, the shape of the garment may be ruined when the tailor borrows fabric around the edges.
Also consider: Will a new zipper hold if the fabric is worn?
Letting down hems also may be tricky. A hemline that has been pressed into slacks, skirt, or dress, for years may not steam out when it is let down.
Vintage shoes and leather also may be past redemption.
Even a leather bag that looks good may not last. For example, I purchased a vintage hand-tooled leather handbag for a fraction of the price of a new one.
It started to fall apart the first time I used. Leather casing flaked off a black cord trim, the glue came loose, and soon white twine was hanging from the edges of the handbag.
I tried replacing the leather cording. My skills with a glue gun proved insufficient for the task.
The zipper came loose. A leather craftsman said the leather was too worn to sew a new one. The only purpose the bag now serves is as a display item. Look, dont touch.
A final note when it comes to buying used shoes is that toe fungus and athlete's foot are contagious.
In summary, really cheap designer clothes and high-quality fashion bargain may be found at charity stores, resale shops, online consignment stores, traditional consignment shops, and even ebay auctions. Find readers' tips by scrolling to the bottom of this page with more suggestions about how to look like a million bucks without spending a fortune.
Take your time when looking. Carefully inspect the item. Do not expect to accomplish all your basic-wardrobe-planning this way.
You can find summer clothing for under $50 on this Fashion After 50 page and learn how basic wardrobe planning is an important step in becoming a fashionable woman with a pulled-together closet that works for you.