There’s a revolution quietly taking place in the fashion industry. In case you haven’t been paying close attention, it’s now easier than ever to look like a well-heeled fashionista without spending like a Kardashian.
We can thank the internet, the booming sharing economy and a growing group of savvy entrepreneurs, for this development. These sites, which range from high-end fashion resellers to rental companies, have dramatically changed the way consumers shop and the way they think about fashion.
“I think both rental and resale sites are speaking to a trend in which people value the experience of wearing something over the experience of owning it,” said Tracy Dinunzio, CEO of Tradesy, one of the largest peer-to-peer marketplaces for women’s fashion. “We no longer have just one option when shopping — going to the mall to buy things. I think it’s liberating.”
The key theme among all the sites is the substantial savings they deliver, sometimes as high as 90% off original prices. Here are five sites that allow you to maintain your style game without dropping serious cash.
With about five million users, and investors as well known as Richard Branson, Tradesy is a booming site that any self-respecting fashion maven should know about.
Tradesy showcases new and preowned fashion sold by users — everything from Marc Jacobs shoes to Dior bags and David Yurman jewelry. Items from well-known brands are listed for up to 90 percent off and Tradesy offers an authenticity guarantee.
“One of the reasons I started Tradesy was I wanted better quality fashion but didn’t have the budget,” said Dinunzio, who would frequent consignment stores in pursuit of scoring deals. Tradesy is the one-stop solution for those who don’t have time to hunt through brick and mortar consignment stores. It’s Dinunzio’s attempt to bring all of those consignment shopping possibilities and the unused fashions sitting in women’s closets, to one place.
ThredUp.com offers another spin on the reused fashions theme. This massive online consignment and thrift store offers items for up to 90% off.
The site has also conveniently broken down offerings into categories such as “Top Designer Labels from $6,” “Summer Must-Haves Under $10” and “Dresses for under $15.” Just in case you’re skeptical of such affordable price-tags, the dresses in the under $15 category include makers such as Bebe, Calvin Klein, BCBG Max Azaria and more.
“ThredUp is my favorite way to get brand name clothes for less,” said personal finance expert and blogger Kayla Sloan. “I’ve gotten work clothes, dress clothes, active wear, and handbags on ThredUp — brands like Kate Spade, Coach, Michael Kors, Lululemon, Under Armour, Jessica Simpson, and some non-designer items.”
In addition, if you’d like to make extra cash (to do more shopping), ThreadUp will send you a “Clean Out Bag,” which you can fill up with your like-new women’s and kids’ clothing and send back to be sold on the site. Sellers earn cash or credit to shop on ThredUp. For even more extra cash, use a solid cash back credit card while shopping. There are a lot of great ones out there — be sure to check your credit score before applying to see if you qualify. You can check two credit scores for free with Credit.com.
3. Bag Borrow or Steal
If investing a chunk of money in a pricey handbag is something you’re loath to do, but you still have serious designer bag envy, then Bag Borrow or Steal may be the solution.
The site allows users to rent some of the most luxurious bags on the planet — Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Tory Burch and more. Bags can be borrowed in 30-day increments. If you love the bag, you can continue renting it.
At the time of publishing, rental prices range from as little as $45 per month for a large Michael Kors satchel to $600 for a Chanel Boy Bag.
4. Eleven James
Many people opt to admire expensive watches from afar due to not having the budget to dabble themselves. Thanks to Eleven James, a tight budget won’t hold you back from this accessory.
Luxury watch rental membership program Eleven James allows members to wear designer watches worth thousands of dollars, brands such as Bell & Ross, Cartier, Breitling, Rolex, Tudor, and more.
Those who sign up receive a new watch aligning with their style preferences every few months. Each watch can be worn for three months and then returned.
Membership costs vary based on the category of watches you’d like to have access to, but start between $149 to $169 per month. For that entry-level price, you’re able to sample two to four watches over the course of six to 12 months.
Ms. Fabulous.com creator Mariana Leung is a big fan of sample sales — events hosted by designers where you can purchase clothes for a significant discount. Long reserved for fashion insiders, these shopping extravaganzas are now being offered to the masses by such sites as 260samplesale.com and clothingline.com, said Leung.
For instance, 260SampleSale specializes in running sample sales for some of the biggest brands in fashion, including Diane Von Furstenberg, J Brand and Fivestory. The key is to sign up to be on the alert lists for these sites in order to score access to the sales.
In terms of the discount, “It’s at least 60 to 65% off.” said Leung. “I’m not even walking in if it isn’t that much. And on the last day of the sale, the prices drop even more.”
Image: Petar Chernaev