Smart "bargainistas" know how to save big while keeping up with the trends of the season and getting high-end, high-quality designer clothes.
In The Early Show Saturday Ediiton's "Bargainista" segment, Dawn Yanek, editor at large of Life & Style Weekly magazine, spotlighted some summer looks she put together for rock-bottom prices -- using only online retailers.
She had the inside scoop on a a variety of Web sites that feature designer clothes at a discount, and even one that actually rents the latest fashions!
Yanke stressed that people can save big by shopping online. Internet shopping has grown by leaps and bounds to accommodate the needs of bargain-savvy and recession-wary shoppers no longer content with the standard ten-to-twenlty-five percent discounts offfered by large retailers.
To help viewers see that they can find fashion-forward outfits at very low prices online, Dawn used models, and each sported a different look achieved with clothes from Web sites from four categories: renting, consignment, giveaways, and deep discounting. The best online deals can save you 75-to-90 percent, and some even give you designer items for free!
Shopping Strategy #1: Borrow It
Trend: Neon and Rocker Chic
• Neon is an '80s trend that's making a shocking comeback this season...but it won't be here for long, and it's never a smart idea to invest money in too-trendy items. But at 90 percent off, you can try out this trend guilt-free -- and yes, I did just say 90 percent off. It's like borrowing something out of your best-dressed friend's closet-a particularly great shopping technique if you're not sure you like a specific trend. If you don't like it, try it once and send it back!
• The black patent-leather jacket retails for $498, and the pink neon skirt retails for $245, for a grand total of $743. But if you borrow both these items for a week at Wear Today, Gone Tomorrow, it'll only cost you $74. Wear them together for a look that says "fashionista's night out" and then wear them separately other days that week to even get more bang for your buck. You can also rent the pieces for a month for a little more -- 70 percent off the original price.
• This site was founded by a former Lucky Magazine editor. No monthly fees; just sign up via e-mail for full access to the site. There's also the option to buy the clothes at a discount. We also particularly love the site because they have a Standard Sizing Chart; they've remeasured everything, so if you're a size 6 by their standards, you'll be a size 6 in everything on the site.
• This is a very trendy, over-the-top look, and it works because we haven't gone for a head-to-toe '80s neon look. We've grounded the bright skirt with basics -- a white tank and neutral-colored shoes -- as well as with an edgier, heavier rocker-chic jacket. We've combined two big trends into one very well put-together outfit.
• Total retail value (of entire look): $743. With these discounts: $74.30 (90 percent off)
Truth & Pride Patent Leather Jacket, $498
WearTodayGoneTomorrow.com rental fee: $49.80
Marley skirt, $245
WearTodayGoneTomorrow.com rental fee: $24.50
Total retail value: $743
WearTodayGoneTomorrow.com discount: $74.30 (90 percent off)
Shopping Strategy #2: Shop at consignment shops or resale boutiques
• Special-occasion dresses are just for that -- special occasions -- which means that you often buy them for something specific and wear them once or twice. At higher-end consignment shops, you can find gently worn or even brand-new designer pieces at huge discounts.
• Here, our model is wearing an asymmetrical jewel-toned gown. Gorgeous and luxe and perfect for a black-tie event. With its asymmetrical neckline, it's specific to the 2008-2009 season, so it's not necessarily going to be an integral staple of your wardrobe for years to come.
• But how can you say no to a dress that's 90 percent off and rings in at only $35??? It's from Christabelle's Closet, an online consignment shop that features pieces from designers including Diane von Furstenburg, Chanel and Manolo Blahnik. There's even a brand-new $10 and Under Deals section! The site also features items for children and men. All sales are final.
• We've paired this Grecian-style, jewel-toned dress with sparkly Lia Sofia accessories, also from Christabelle's Closet, and these amazing Sergio Rossi stilettos…which are also only $35!
• With consignment shops making their way to the web, they are more consumer-friendly then ever. Instead of looking through racks and racks of clothing to find your size, websites allow you to sort by your size, product type and easily navigate through merchandise. Another site we love is Jillsconsignment.com which started as a store in Florida and branched out to a successful online consignment boutique in recent years.
• Total retail value: over $1,000. With these discounts: under $100!! -- OVER 90 percent off!
Retail: Roni blue Grecian dress, $345
ChristabellesCloset.com: $35 (90 percent off)
Sergio Rossi black stiletto heels: $440.00
ChristabellesCloset.com: $35 (93 percent off)
Calvin Klein black belt (vintage) $100
Christabellescloset.com: $8 (92 percent off)
Lia Sophia bracelet $168 & ring $125
ChistabellesCloset.com: bracelet $12 & ring $8 (over 90 percent off)
Total Retail: $1178
Total after discount: $98 (more than 90 percent off)