Start Your Own Designer Wardrobe on a Budget - Part 1

(credit : Not Your Standard

Friends and readers will know I am a firm believer that a couple of well-curated designer pieces can even make Primark or H&M look expensive. As much as I would like to buy all my basics from T by Alexander Wang and my coats from Burberry, I just can't afford it. Very few of us can. But, including a few high end pieces here and there can make all the difference to a high street outfit and with the help of my new series, you won't even have to pay full price for these. You'll thank me later, but for now here is my first tip:

1. Shop at Sample Sales

Sample sales are a great way to start your own designer wardrobe, if you are on a budget. Items often go for up to 90% off and if you sharpen your elbows, you can often leave with a real gem. Entry usually costs about £2 - which all goes to charity -, so make sure to bring some change.  

My philosophy when it comes to sample sales is simple - If you're going to spend over £100 on something, make it (relatively) timeless. For instance, my Mulberry Bryn was a sample sale find. Yes, the colour might be bright, but the shape and pattern is so effortless, that I can see myself wearing it for years. The neon pink leopard print pony skin Alexa on the other hand? Not so much, so leave that one on the shelf.

If you're planning on buying clothes, be aware that there is usually no changing room available, so come prepared. Wear tight fitting trousers or leather leggings with a tight fitting tank top, or you might find yourself working your way around the room in your bra. If you're thinking about buying shoes, especially boots, also think about taking a pair of socks with you. 

Now I hear you say, "where can I find out about these sales?" Firstly, online. Almost everything is documented on the internet these days and this is no exception. Some of my favourite websites to check are The Music Room, Time Out and Word of mouth is also a good way to learn about any upcoming sample sales. For instance, the DVF sale tends to only be advertised within the industry - and believe me, with bikinis for £20, it is a good one -, so if you know someone with access to Fashion Monitor, ask them! The Net-A-Porter Friends & Family sale is also a great one to hit if you happen to know anyone working for the company. I have found some real bargains there, including YSL rings and bracelets starting for £10 each. And I (almost) didn't have to fight for those since it is a closed event with allocated time slots.

If after reading all this, you fancy giving sample sales a try, here are some upcoming dates to put in your diary: 

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi

Friday 17th April, 12 - 8pm
Saturday 18th April - 10am - 6pm
The Music Room,  26 South Molton Lane, Mayfair, W1K 5LF

Jonathan Saunders

Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th April, 10 am - 4pm
The Hoxton, Shoreditch, 81 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3HU

The One & Only Designer Sale

Friday 24th April, 11am - 8pm
The Music Room, 26 South Molton Lane, Mayfair, W1K 5LF


Friday 15th May, 10.30am - 8pm
The Music Room, 26 South Molton Lane, Mayfair, W1K 5LF


Tuesday 19th May, 10am - 9pm
Wednesday 20th & Thursday 21st - 10am - 8pm
Friday 22nd May, 10am - 7pm
The Music Room, 26 South Molton Lane, Mayfair, W1K 5LF

2. Buy Second Hand

Buying designer clothes or bags in charity shops or on eBay is always a bit of a gamble. Truth is, if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't. There are so many counterfeit goods going around that unless you really know your stuff, I wouldn't advise using these to shop for high end pieces.

The good news is, there are now websites dedicated specifically to reselling designer goods. These websites check the items for authenticity and any marks or wear and tear, so that you have no bad surprise when you finally get the McQueen scarf you've always wanted. My favourite websites to use are of course, Vestiaire Collective and American-based website, FashionPhile. My only tip with FashionPhile is to be wary of import taxes, since they do ship from the US, but you can still get some real bargains on there, especially if you are based in North America. 

I hope this was useful to some of you. Stay tuned for part 2, next week! 

Oh, and if you are from American and have any tips for sample sales in the US, feel free to leave them in the comment section below! I hear you have some great ones in New York and LA! 

- Elodie x
  1. So many great tips elodie!

  2. Great tip about the sample sales - wish I lived closer to London to go to them! x

    1. Thanks! If there's a sample sale you really want to hit, why not make a day trip out of it? It could be fun! x

  3. Aaah sample sales are the bomb!

  4. great post dear....

  5. Thanks so much for the mention! It's much appreciated and happy sample sale shopping ;-)

    Victoria x

    1. What can I say, I thought it'd be selfish not to share! ; ) x