(Wearing: All Vivienne Westwood – Red Label shirt, shorts, blazer; Gold Label ‘T-Bar shoes)
As I am sure you all already know I am a huge fan of Vivienne Westwood, let’s face it you can’t really get clothes any more unique than Viv. The thing is fancy clothes come with a hefty price tag and whilst I’m perfectly happy to spend my entire seasons clothing budget on one piece of Gold Label I know most of your aren’t! Having said that I do have a hell of a lot of Westwood and I’m no millionaire so how do I do it?
This is a topic I’ve covered before ‘How to Buy Designer clothes at High Street Prices‘, so in this post I am just going to focus on Vivienne Westwood but the tips do apply to other designers. Conveniently this outfit demonstrates my top tips.
1. Store sale – Blouse RRP £215 reduced to £79
If you get familiar with how your favourite stores work their sales, you can start to make educated guesses about what will be left when it comes to the sale and what reductions will be given and when. Most stores start the sale with 30-40% reductions and can go down to anything from 65-90%. With Westwood the sale starts at 30% and goes down to 65% so it is always worth keeping your eye on things. That said if there is something you can’t live without you best get your butt in the queue on the first day of sale or risk it not being there a couple of weeks later. Averages sizes will sell out faster too, so you are more likely to find size 3 and 7 shoes left in the sale over size 5 and 6. Also accessories sell out faster than clothing, so if you are debating over a bag and a shirt I’d always get the bag first. Also learn which items are classic and which are seasonal, with Westwood the Gold Label shoes for example never go on sale.
If you sign up for the website newsletter and follow on Facebook you also get special codes for extra discounts – usually an extra 10% off during the first week of the sale and invited to the Warehouse sale when they hold one.
2. Outlet stores – Blazer RRP £410 reduced to £49.99
Everyone who follows me on Twitter and Facebook will have already seen me share photo’s when I spot a great designer bargain. I always keep my eye on the game, even my route to work now involves cutting through TK Maxx so I can check for new arrivals which they get in everyday. TK Maxx recently got in a large load of AW11 Anglomania and a stash of really old Red Label, hell you could even call it vintage. So you never know what their buyers will find. To save you rummaging time the big designers TK Maxx stocks will be under the ‘Gold Label VIP’ section, but do check the other rails as Calvin Klien, Farhi by Nicole Farhi and Clements Ribero are found there. Other outlet stores include Bicester Village and Cheshire Oaks to name just a few. Bicester Village has a dedicated Westwood store but I haven’t visited it myself. The only thing to be wary of with outlets is that sometimes the price can be more expensive than the store sale as the outlet has to make a profit. On the other hand outlets get stock from all over the world so they may stock pieces you have never even seen before, they also aren’t limited to the previous season for sale items, so worth stalking if you want to go back further into the archives. You can find out if your local TK Maxx stocks the Gold Label VIP collection by checking the departments listed on the store locator.
There are also websites which work in a similar manner such as Yoox and The Outnet. Member only websites such as Cocosa get’s different designers in for limited time periods. All these stock Vivienne Westwood.
3. Consignment store – Shorts RRP £260 reduced to £67.50 (were £75 – 10% special discount)
Another shop I go on about all the time is Elite, a designer consignment store / dress agency in Manchester and a branch in Altrincham. This is the one I go to as it’s local, but do check your own areas for ones nearby. Consignment stores sell on items which people no longer want, sharing a cut of the proceeds with the client. I’ve found loads of bargains in these stores and Elite always have some Westwood in there. Elite also have an online store and post new item on their facebook page. They also have special event evenings where you can sometimes get money off as I did with these. Don’t be put off if you aren’t keen on second hand clothes, many things like these shorts are brand new with the tags – I’m sure we have all bough something and never worn it!
There is also the online Consignment sites such as Vestiaire Collective which stocks a wide range of designers including Westwood. The great thing about this site is that the items are independently authenticated so there isn’t the risk of ending up with a fake like with eBay. You can also keep your eye out whilst shopping vintage stores and charity shops.
4. eBay – Shoes RRP £330 reduced to £85 (plus £4 p&p)
EBay, eBay, eBay where can I start. There is no way I can express my love for eBay, I check it every single day so I know everything Westwood that is on there at any one time! Yeah it is obsessive but if you want to be on top of the game you have to show a bit of dedication. To make it easier you can save searches and have new items emailed to you. I have a couple of previous posts about eBay ‘How to Find, Buy and Sell Vintage and Designer‘ and ‘How to sell stuff and make mega bucks: Guide for Carboots, EBay and Etsy‘ which are full of tips but the basic rule is you have to put some effort into searching regularly to get the good stuff. You also have to beware of fakes on eBay and Etsy my free eBook ‘Guide to spotting Counterfeits‘ has tips on this. One thing I do have to stress about eBay is the huge number of fakes, Westwood don’t have someone working with the sites VeRo program so there is nobody to regulate it. The worst is the jewellery 99% of it on eBay is fake, then there are many pairs of fake Pirate boots and Melissa shoes, some basic knits and t-shirts too so be careful.
You can also check Gum Tree, but again there is the risk of it being fake so beware.
Total RRP = £1,215
Total Cost = £281.49
Total SAVED = £933.51
Now that’s good fashion sense! Do you have any tips to share? What was your best bargain buy?