If you’re not one of *those* girls, you definitely know them. They’re constantly clad in Tory Burch flats, a Kate Spade bag, and a Lilly shift. The MSRP of their wardrobe could probably cover most girls’ student loan payments, and if you don’t have it, it’s hard not to hate it. Here you are, buying $2.80 leggings at Forever 21, surrounded by hundreds of girls wearing nothing less than Lululemon. Long story short, it sucks.
Here’s the thing, though — what these girls know is that they’re not throwing money away. In fact, they may even be spending less than you to wear more expensive clothes that give off a better impression. I know this because I’m one of the girls who made the transition. From changing my shopping trips from Target to Lilly, not only have I not spent more money on designer clothes, but I’ve actually saved money along the way. If this seems too good to be true, trust me — it isn’t. Stick with me, and I’ll teach you how to successfully get away with purchasing tons of high-end shit and never looking back.
First, just because an item has a high price tag doesn’t mean that the wearer paid anything close to that amount to own it. When stores like Lilly Pulitzer and Kate Spade have semi-annual and surprise sales featuring their items at 75% off, this is when you do your shopping. Think a Lilly shift costs $270? Try $70 with free shipping. Kate Spade wallet for $150? Nah, $49 will do. Wait for these sales, and you’ll be able to get the most bang for your buck. Best of all, no one will know (or care!) that you only spent 1/4 of the price to get merchandise that costs sticker price 361 days of the year.
While these are heavily discounted, you’re probably thinking that Target is still cheaper upfront, and you would be right. However, what you have to keep in mind is that while styles change, labels don’t, and people will want your shit after you’ve had your way with it. With sources like ThredUp, Poshmark, and eBay at your disposal, you can literally sell your four-year-old pink and green patterned prints (why were these ever a good idea?) for around half what you paid for them. Once I discovered this, I was absolutely elated. When you buy from Target, your purchases immediately lose all of their resale value, but with high-end name brands, you just bought yourself a future 50 percent rebate.
So, let’s take that $270 Lilly shift I previously mentioned for example. Unless you have Daddy’s credit card memorized (lucky you), your college budget may not be able to justify that purchase. If you can wait until the After Party Sale, you just snagged that dress for $70. A year and a half from now, when the pattern has faded or the size is wrong, you put that bad boy up on eBay and sell it to someone else looking to score a discount for $30. You just owned a Lilly shift for $40, or approximately the amount you’d spend on a crappy sundress from a big box retailer that would fall apart in half the time. When you start to look at it this way, it doesn’t even make sense to purchase anything other than name brand. All you have to do is game the system.
Of course, I have to admit that being able to purchase name brand products, even at a reduced cost, requires a little more upfront cash than shopping at Target or Forever 21 and comes with some amount of privilege. However, no one’s demanding that you replace your entire wardrobe in one fell swoop. Save the money you would normally spend on trendy, low-end gear, wait for the sale, and start purchasing some basics incrementally. You’d be surprised just how far a neutral leather handbag and solid shift dress will get you. Pick up a few items twice a year, and mix and match your new basics with what you already own. Before you know it, you’ve majorly upgraded your wardrobe, and you look more put-together than you ever have before for literally no cost difference.
In addition to the financial benefits for purchasing high-end products, there are plenty of other benefits you’ll encounter along the way. When you start upgrading your wardrobe, your confidence will get a major boost as well. You’ll walk a little taller, feel more important, and have that gut feeling you can conquer the world (or at least your organic chemistry midterm) that comes with rocking a killer outfit. People will notice the change. Your professors and employers will note your new, more professional appearance that comes with higher-end products, and your social interactions will seriously level up, along with everyone else’s impression of you.
So at the end of the day, hold your judgements on your fellow classmates and peers who won’t walk a step in someone else’s off-brand shoes, because they may actually have been making the best decisions with their money all along. So take out your credit cards and thank me later, because your wardrobe is about to get a whole lot better..
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