10 Ways to be a Savvy Fashionista and Never Pay Full Price …

10 Ways to be a Svvy Fashionista and Never Pay Full Price 001

If I could pass on one piece of fashion advice to my girls, it would be this … avoid paying full price for any fashion items. Regardless of what I buy, whether it’s tops, skirts, jeans, shoes, dresses, coats, handbags, etc. I very rarely pay the full price and, as a result, I save a fortune.

The fashion industry is so competitive and consequently, there are loads of sales, every couple of weeks it seems. Add to this the growing popularity of online shopping and there are plenty of ways to save money and bargains to be had for the savvy shopper.

To give you an example, I recently took Miss 15 shopping as she was attending a friend’s birthday party. As we hadn’t been shopping since Christmas, I was happy to buy her a new outfit. We headed off to our local Shopping Centre and, not long after arriving, discovered that Bardot was having a massive sale … 50% off the lowest marked price. Although we originally intended to only buy a single outfit, the prices were so low that we grabbed a few extra items meaning we won’t need to buy her much more for winter. Here are some of the incredible savings we made:

  • Leopard Print dress: Marked down from $89.95 to $15.00
  • Striped Denim Jeans: Marked down from $99.95 to $25.00
  • Black Faux Leather Dress: Marked down from $119.95 to $20.00
  • Lace Strapless Top: Marked down from $89.95 to $20.00
  • Black Faux Leather Skirt with zips: Marked down from $89.95 to $20.00
  • Ripped Denim Jeans: Marked down from $139.95 to $25.00
  • Grey Track Shorts with Faux Leather trim: Marked down from $59.95 to $15.00
  • Patterned Harem Pants: Marked down from $89.95 to $15.00
  • Zulu Necklace: Marked down from $24.95 to $5.00
  • Black Top: Marked down from $69.95 to $15.00
  • Grey Track Pants with Faux Leather trim: Marked down from $79.95 to $20.00

$955 worth of clothing marked down to $195 … WOW!!

So here is a list of some of the things I do to get the most from my wardrobe, reduce waste and also pay the lowest prices:

  1. Declutter your wardrobe so you know what you have. I recently read that we wear 20% of the clothes in our wardrobe, 80% of the time which means the other 80% probably consists of items that don’t fit, impulse purchases, skirts and pants without tops to match (and vice versa), items that have simply been forgotten and so on. Sort what you already have because there is no point buying a new bargain item because it’s so cheap if you already have a similar item that fits well and is in perfectly good condition. The less you buy, the more you save!
  2. Unless you need an item urgently, wait for the Sales. Try to plan your social calendar as early as possible so you have time to also plan your outfits and time to pick up any necessary purchases (hopefully on sale). Last minute, panic buys usually end up costing much more than you planned to spend which then become purchases that you regret … especially if they come with a high price tag.
  3. Go one step further and seek out “After Sales” Sales, similar to the one we found at Bardot. Often, items that have already been significantly marked down can be reduced even further to 50 – 70% off the lowest marked price.
  4. Set a clothing budget and stick to it. Leave your credit cards at home and only take as much cash with you as you can afford to spend. When your wallet is empty, it’s time to head home!
  5. Sign up for Boutique, Department Store or Shopping Centre Newsletters and Store Membership Programs as these sometimes give advance warning of sales or sometimes offer “Member Only” discounts.
  6. Before you go shopping, think about what you want to buy, do some research and compare prices online. You may find the same items heavily discounted on sites like ebay. Do be aware though of postage charges as that adds to the cost of your item.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount although this strategy will work better in smaller owner-operated boutiques rather than larger retail chains or Department Stores.
  8. Look for minor faults that are either unnoticeable or that can be repaired (particularly if you are handy with a sewing machine) and then ask for a discount.
  9. Don’t forget to check out local factory outlets where you can purchase samples, seconds and stock overruns for massive discounts.
  10. Don’t ignore cheaper retail shops. You might have to search a bit harder for what you’re after but unique pieces can be found and often at amazing prices.

Finally, remember that fashion is a fickle beast. This season’s “must have item” could find itself stuck at the back of your wardrobe next year never to be seen again if you’re the type of person who likes to keep up with the latest trends. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to follow fashion trends but it can drain cash from your wallet. Try to develop your own style rather than feeling you need to follow every trend. Build your wardrobe around “classic” pieces that don’t date and then just add a couple of “current” items each season.

So tell me, what was your last impulse buy? Do you have any items hanging in your wardrobe that you never wear and, if so, what is it?


  1. Wow you got some great savings! I must admit that I prefer online shopping because going through bins and racks of sales clothes isn’t fun for me and it’s great if you can return them if they don’t fit.

    • My girls also shop online a fair bit now as there are so many great fashion websites out there. Barely a week goes by that I don’t have parcels arriving to the door! ASOS is one of their favourites and with free worldwide delivery, it’s hard to go wrong!

  2. A woman after my own heart! I HATE paying full price for clothing and will always wait for the sales. Luckily I’m not desperate to be up with the current trends so I choose more classic and streamlined pieces that suit my lack of height and last for years. My last really good purchase was a beautiful cream shift dress with georgette floating overdress from Myer that was originally priced $89 but I scored for $40. I love a good bargain!

    • Yes, I definitely love a bargain! I find the Myer and David Jones Stocktake Sales particularly good. If I need some homewares I just keep a list and then stock up when the Sales come along. I usually buy all my husband’s business shirts in the Myer Sale. I buy enough to last for the next 6 months and save heaps!

  3. Wow those are awesome savings! I recently went to the City Chic wholesale store and managed to score some jeans for $30. They are so comfy and feel like I’m wearing pants not jeans!

    • Sounds like you’re already a “savvy fashionista” … saving money and finding something that not only looks great but is so comfortable, definitely ticks all the right boxes!

  4. Amazing bargains! I have taught Miss 17 my tips for never paying full price also, and she is also a keen op shopper – all proof that you don’t have to spend a million bucks, to look a million bucks! My last impulse buy was a few “bargain basics” tank tops etc which I blogged about last week :-)

    • I think it’s so important to make our kids aware of the possibilities when it comes to spending their hard earned dollars on fashion. My girls very rarely pay full price and will happily wait for a sale. If they miss out on a particular item that they ‘ve had their eye on, they simply respond by saying they weren’t meant to have it and it wasn’t meant to be … love that! Op shops are also fantastic, particularly if you’re handy with a needle and thread and can completely reinvent some pieces.

  5. I don’t shop for fashion very often but when I do I always want a bargain. Thanks for the tips.

    • Hello Ness, I’m a little the same … if we have to attend something, I check my wardrobe first and only shop if I have absolutely nothing! When I do shop though, it’s usually only at Stocktake time when there are bargains to be found.

  6. Some great tips here!!
    The largest and most unworn section in my wardrobe is evening dresses. I like buying special occasion outfits, and then find them hard to part with, and often a new formal dress purchase seems to signify that it time for me to put on, or more rarely, loose weight. They are expensive and seem wasteful to remove. I am trying to dress these dress down so that I can get more wear out of them as day dresses. Any tips?

    • Hi Sarah, great question! I find a great way to “dress down” some outfits is to wear them with some cute little flat sandals and then throw a denim jacket over the top … it’s a really good contrast and “relaxes” the outfit straight away! Alternatively, sometimes adding a casual belt can do wonders or a big, oversized casual handbag can take the focus away from the “dressier” part of what you are wearing. Let me know if you think any of these tips would work for your particular dresses.

  7. Great post Sandie. Totally agree with never paying full price for clothes, at some stage they are almost always discounted. It goes to show the mark up on clothes must be pretty huge, probably because so much of it is made in China. It’s just a matter of keeping your eye out for when the sales are on and being patient :-). Occasionally I have paid full price because I couldn’t wait, only to be very annoyed with myself to see the same item discounted through the roof a few weeks later.

    • Yes, I think that’s happened to all of us at some stage but now I’m a little bit more disciplined and determined to hunt down those bargains!

  8. I wish that I had been a lot smarter with my money in my younger years!! I agree that it’s wise to wait for sales. But young ones who want the best and trendiest sometimes just can’t wait!!!!

    • Too true, Emily and I think we are probably all guilty of wasting a lot of money on clothes when we were younger … wisdom comes with age (and a mortgage)!

  9. Great advice , I buy most things on sale.

  10. Yes! I hardly ever pay anywhere near full price, and have taught Bell the same. It’s so frustrating to see something you bought last week, marked down drastically only days later! :)

    • I agree … that is so frustrating when that happens and I used to beat myself up when it did. Very rarely happens now though because I learned my lesson the hard way!

  11. I’m not a very good sale shopper, I get too impatient. Consequently I have a truckload of mis-purchases! Thanks for the great sale savvy tips x K

    • Waiting for something to go on sale does mean that can you sometimes miss out and it’s definitely hard to walk away from something you fall in love with!

  12. You’re a bargain hunting queen, Sandie! Mind you, there is absolutely no excuse for paying retail anymore. Everything is for sale. x

    • Thanks Bron … I’m always on the lookout for a bargain and I actually enjoy the challenge! I think we were especially lucky this particular afternoon … just in the right spot at the right time. x

  13. Some seriously awesome shopping tips! Couldn’t agree more.

  14. They are some awesome tips. I always wait for the sales when shopping and search around online for sites that are having sales. I love a bargain.

    • Hi Sam and welcome! It’s such a good feeling isn’t it, when you look for something in particular and then find it at a bargain price! I also try to take advantage of the fact I have spent less by topping up my savings account!

  15. Wow – you guys scored BIG Time. I just did a declutter of my wardrobe over the weekend and I am ashamed to say there were things in there I probably paid full price for and worst still – they still had tags on them so they were never worn. eeek x

    • We were very lucky on this particular shopping trip … very much a case of right place, right time! Glad to hear you decluttered your wardrobe. On the positive side … finding things that you forgot you had now gives you some awesome new wardrobe choices … so all is not lost!

  16. My last impulse purchase was a vintage Carla Zampatti cape back shirt in a geometric mustard and blue, and I bought it today for a big $15 from my local op shop. It’s divine!

    Decluttering is the best tip ever.

    • Hi Kim-Marie and welcome … love your story … op shops are a fantastic place for great vintage finds! I have a friend who is a regular at certain stores and the ladies have now gotten to know her style and taste and save pieces for her. How good is that and she always looks fabulous!

  17. I’m a huge bargain hunter, I never buy anything full price. What’s the point? It’ll be on sale in a few weeks time.

    Your daughter is very lucky :)

    • There just seems to be Sales all the time now, so I find we really don’t have to wait very long at all!

  18. Everything I purchase is an impulse buy – maybe I’m an emotional shopper?! I really must be more disciplined and strategic; great tips. K x

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