8 Ways You Can Afford Designer Clothes

My full time job is working in the fashion industry so it’s normal to see co-workers in Chanel ballet flats or carrying Saint Laurent bags as their work bag but when I speak to people outside that world they either don’t understand WHY you would pay more ‘for a label’ or they ask HOW anyone can afford designer clothes.

Why Buy Designer Clothes?

Let’s start with WHY anyone would buy a £240 coat when an £24 one from Primark will work just fine. There are a lot of differences between the coats when you get into how it was made. This might not make a difference for the first 3 – 6 month of usage, but after that time period you’ll be wishing you opted for something more hard wearing.

If the seems are weak you’ll start to find small holes, the material could start to bobble or thin, the hem could fray or the whole thing might respond terribly to being washed. What will happen, and I know cause I’ve done it many time, is you’ll end up donating it and buying a new one every 6 months. But true thriftiness is opting for the well made one that will last you 10+ years which saves you money over all.

-Designer Coat = £240 and lasts 10 years
-Cheap Coat = £24 and lasts 6 months
-Overall it will cost you £480 to replace the cheap coat for the same time frame the Designer Coat will last.
Okay – you know I made these numbers up, but I hope I’m explaining how long term you can save money!

How to Afford Designer Clothes?

I talked about about the quality of designer clothes and how they are better made however the secret to being able to afford designer clothes is to remove as much of the percent of of profit that goes to just buying the brand name. Below are ways to be able to afford designer clothes and the pro’s and con’s of each method.

1. Flash Sales

A flash sale is a sale that happens for a burst of time usually with heavy discounts. I’ve been scoping out a company called Vente-Prevee for the last few weeks and they have a new flash sale everyday.

I’ll keep checking out their new deal everyday and do a whole post write up if I end up buying anything!

afford designer clothes
£29.00 shirts from Christian Lacroix instead of the RRP of £70.00 (58% savings).
2. Second Hand

There are 3 main ways to buy second hand designer clothing:
1. From a company – such as Designer Exchange
2. From another person on C2C sites – such as eBay
3. From a friend

afford designer clothes
Dolce and Gabbana similar tops can retail from £200 – £795.

Designer Exchange is a UK chain that buys and sells designer accessories, bags, clothing pieces and shoes. Everything is 100% authentic and they offer a next day delivery service if ordered before 12. The only con to shopping with Designer Exchange is often there’s a lot more in the shops that on the website so sometimes you need to get off the sofa and visit one of their 7 stores for that bargain.

I’ve purchased designer items from eBay before but there’s something that makes me a bit wary so I keep it mostly to accessories and jewellery under £50. I don’t think I could ever buy something over £50 just in case it’s not authentic or there’s a problem with couriers.

And buying from a friend might just be a route you could nab a bargain via. Let friends and family know you want first dibs if they’re every considering selling.

3. Vintage and Thrift Shopping

I’ve given vintage and thrift shopping it’s own category away from simply buying second hand because you have to visit a different type of shop. Often designer bargains can be found in the depths of a charity shop, thrift store, kilo sale or vintage store.

They do not ever have websites though so you have no idea what you’re going to find. Going to stumble upon a hoard of vintage designer clothing at an affordable price or going to spend the day wandering around with no finds – you just don’t know until you go.

4. At Outlets

Outlets are a fabulous place where you can usually afford designer clothes from. I take a trip to Cheshire Oaks designer outlet at least 1 – 2 times a year but there might be one nearer to you! McCarther Glen, who own Cheshire Oaks, have stores across the UK and even in Europe too.

cheshire oaks designer outlet / afford designer clothes
A recent bargain from Cheshire Oaks

Another option is Bicester Village in Oxfordshire which has a lot more top-tier brands such as Gucci, Prada and Dior.

If you can’t get to a physical outlet, check out www.lovethesales.com – the leading website for shopping the sales online. I’ll be doing a full post on these guys at some point so keep your eyes peeled.

5. Designer Collaborations

Designer collaborations are when two designers work togethers on a collections however sometimes big established designers will work with a high street brand to bring their clothing to a market they wouldn’t otherwise get such as Beyonce’s sportswear range Ivy Park in Top Shop.

afford designer clothes
The blazer on the left will cost just £100 and the Blazer on the right will cost £1,495.

The quality is obviously lesser and the collaborations only last for a season or two but it’s an easy way to pick up a piece designed by your favourite designer that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.

6. Diffusion Lines

Diffusion lines are lines released by the designer than are cheaper and more affordable clothing so the likes of you and I can afford designer clothes without paying top price. The trade of is that materials used often differ such as lambswool instead of cashmere of faux suede instead of real suede but in styles and looks, they can appear identical.

afford designer clothes
MCQ is the diffusion line for Alexander McQueen.
A tee direct from the main line can be £800-£2,400

Diffusion lines can be sold directly from the designer but you can often find them in outlets, online stockists and department stores.

7. Online Stockists

Online Stockists of designer items are a great way to be able to afford designer clothes especially when they have a sale on. As mentioned above, often you’ll find diffusion lines mixed in so be aware of what you’re buying before you pay.

afford designer clothes
Tommy Hilfiger shirts for nearly 50% off the RRP at Tessuti

Some ones to check around sale time are Tessuti, bbclothing and woodhouseclothing however I can only recommend Tessuti as that’s the only one i’ve personally purchased from. I’ll do a full write up on my experience in the future!

Even Asos has an outlet section (link here) that has over 600 brands, however I would only consider a handful actual designer items.

8. Direct from Designer – In the Sale!

There’s also the option of buying directly from the designer’s website but this won’t work with the top tier brands such as Chanel or Dior. You’re more likely to find them on mid-tier such as Vivenne Westwood, Alexander McQueen or low-tier such as Tommy Hilfiger or Lacoste.

afford designer clothes
Harrods and similar won’t discount the big brands but you’ll find discounts for mid-tier brands and diffusion lines.

Check around summer and winter sale seasons for the best discount. Also check Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, John Lewis, Debenhams and other department stores to see if they’re offering discounts on your favourite designers.

Leave a comment or message me on social media with how you save on designer buys!

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