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Want fashion without the price tag? 10 ways to get fashion on the cheap this London Fashion Week

Anyone who knows their high street from high end fashion threads can’t fail to notice that we’re in the throes of London Fashion Week.

Twice a year some of the world’s biggest designer brands reveal their new collections to the world. UK giants such as Burberry, Mulberry, Julien McDonald, Matthew Williamson and Paul Smith are just some of the designers who, together with the high street, generate a fashionable £21 billion a year. That’s a hell of a lot of shopping.

There’s no harm in ladies pining after a Hermes Croc Birkin bag – a snip at just £50,100 (yes, really!). But you don’t have to splash the cash if you’re a fan of clothes - just not their price tag. Also, remember if you’re worried your finances are getting out of control, there are places you can go for free debt help.

Read our tips below on how to step out in style on a budget.

1. Check out charity shops

Charity shops are as commonplace on the high street as big brand chains, allowing you to bag a bargain while helping a good cause.

One top tip is to focus on location - generally the more affluent the area, the better quality of goods on offer. And remember, if you eye a designer bargain the shop assistant has overlooked and priced for pence, keep quiet, hand over your cash and get out of that shop sharpish!

2. Swishing with your friends

What’s better than buying clothes on the cheap? Getting clothes for free.

Have a party and get your friends to bring nice, clean, presentable clothes that are lurking unloved in their wardrobes. Then swap.  You might bring one sweater and take two pairs of shoes, or hang a party frock on the ‘Swishing Rail’ and take a pair of skinny jeans and feather boa. Not only are you saving money, you are helping to save the planet too.

3. Car boot sales

It’s pot luck what you might find at a car boot sale but it’s always worth a rummage and prices are generally cheaper than charity shops.

If you leave it until late in the day when stallholders are packing up they will typically drop their prices further.


4. Visit vintage shops

There’s nothing more contemporary than going vintage (how ironic).

It’s an opportunity to source something unique to you, so no red faces when you show up to a party and discover someone is wearing the same outfit.  

Keep it classic and avoid the quirky. As Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion fades, only style remains.”

5. Online auctions

Sites such as eBay offer an exciting way to get fashion on the cheap. But don’t get carried away with the bidding. Have a budget and stick to it.

Gumtree also sells clothes too. It’s not an auction site but you could always make an offer below the price being asked. You never know your luck.

6. Wait until the sales

This one’s a no brainer. If you have your eye on something and can wait until the sales, then wait. If you take your chances and wait until the end of the sales, there might be further reductions. And if you wait that long you know that you really, really want it or whether you can live without it..

7. Keep an eye out for flash sales

A number of websites hold flash sales, releasing a limited amount of stock at bargain prices. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Sign up in advance with the likes of Brand Alley, Cocosa, or Secret Sales to get alerts.

Do be aware that this does carry a warning though – don’t sign up unless you know you can resist buying something if you can’t afford it. Leave the email for a day and come back to it – see if you still feel the same way.

8. Sign up for newsletters

Sign up to your favourite brands for exclusive member-only promotions and offers.

9. Don’t replace, repair

A stitch in time saves nine. The old saying rings as true today as ever. Small holes in woollens can be easily darned while elbow patches are not just practical, but on trend too! Shoes can also be given a new lease of life by getting them re-soled.

10. Visit outlet villages

These retail outlets are sited across the UK and offer both designer and high street fashion at reduced prices. Do your research before you go to check what brands are at each village.

One final word…

Remember, it’s not a bargain unless you really need it and can afford it.

Make sure you love it and it’s not just going to hang forgotten in your wardrobe. Research from the Money Advice Service shows more than half the population has bought clothes they've never worn. But don’t forget, you can always sell unwanted items to reclaim back your losses.

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  • Derek mckechan / 17 April 2016

    I have no idea as it is way beyond my affordability
    😯😑😐😠😕😬😡

  • JaxFrost / 24 February 2015

    Clark I love this article! The swishing party sounds fab and I'm going to arrange one.