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Being the best-dressed member of your social group is no easy feat, especially when you're working with a budget, but it's not outside the realm of possibility if you pay attention to what's trending and scout out ways to save on your purchases. In truth, you don't necessarily have to buy pieces right off the runway unless you're in the fashion industry or you travel in circles that care if you're wearing the real deal or a knockoff. With knowledge of what's chic at the moment and a keen sense of what makes a good marriage when it comes to a timeless wardrobe paired with trendy additions, you can find great deals on key garments and accessories that will allow you to look like a million bucks season after season. And if you want to be fashion-forward this fall without breaking the bank, here are just a few tips to help you get the pieces you want for a steal of a deal.
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If you live in or near a major city, you're best bet for some truly spectacular, designer threads may be to keep your ear to the ground for sample sales. These events often take place on an annual or semiannual basis and they involve selling the sample sizes that designers create to showcase their collections. They may take place in warehouse settings or stores, and the dates may vary from year to year, so you have to pay attention if you want to find them. And often they're first come, first served, with very little help provided for customers, so don't be surprised to find that there aren't too many options for sizes and no fitting rooms are offered (seeing shoppers trying on garments in the aisles is fairly common). On the upside, you could have access to the trends of last season from haute couture designers at a fraction of the cost your friends paid just a couple of months ago.
Of course, most people aren't privy to such sales, and even if they are, they don't live anywhere near the cities where they take place. Luckily, you can still find discounts on the designer labels you love thanks to the rise of popular fashion deal-of-the-day sites like HauteLook, Gilt, and Beyond the Rack. All you have to do is sign up for a free membership and you'll get daily emails telling you about deals on designer fashions. Often, members see savings as high as 50-70% off what they might pay at a retail store, making signing up well worth the minimal time and effort required.
But still, you might want deeper discounts, and if you don't necessarily need haute couture labels, you can still get high-end pieces at more affordable prices from stores like T.J. Maxx and Marshall's, which tend to feature blow-out prices on overstock and out-of-season items from designers like Calvin Klein, Kate Spade, and Michael Kors, just to name a few. Or you might hit up discount stores like Target and Kohl's that team up with big-name designers. Target, for example, is collaborating with Phillip Lim this season, while Kohl's carries affordable lines from designers like Vera Wang. It's a great way to get fashionable pieces while saving a ton of dough.
As a final option, you might want to look into vintage pieces. With retro designs regaining popularity, you might be able to save a lot by seeking out original clothing and accessories that have come back into style. You can certainly purchase retro looks with a modern twist at if you want new items. But if you're not opposed to second-hand, adding vintage pieces to a modern wardrobe can create the fashionable vibe you crave for fall, perhaps with some truly great bargains, to boot.