While I do not consider myself a “prep” or an expert on classic style, I find that majority of the styles, silhouettes, and items that I gravitate towards the most are described as such. In fact, if I had to define my style in my late twenties it’s classic, preppy style with a twist.
I love items that are timeless and don’t go out of style.
I love stripes, tartan and gingham – prints I wear certain times of the year.
However, I also love wearing items from time to time that are a little bit edgy, trendy or bold.
I purchase from brands that aren’t considered classic, preppy brands, but like to find items from those stores that are in classic styles as well.
However, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post where I shared some of my favorite stores to shop at for preppy clothes on a budget, some of the brands that frequently share these items can be a bit pricey. For example, items I’ve purchased from Vineyard Vines have amazing quality, but not everyone can afford to spend almost $200 for a dress or over $100 for a sweater each time they release something. I love some of the items I’ve seen from Tory Burch, but I cannot afford to spend almost $400 on a dress simply because I like it.
So how do you shop for classic, preppy clothes on a budget?
SUBSCRIBE TO THEIR NEWSLETTER:
One thing that I would also recommend that you do is to subscribe to their newsletter or sign up for their catalogs. We’re signed up for both and it’s one of the primary ways I am aware of their sales since I don’t actively go looking for clothing items most days. There’s even been a few times where I’ve been randomly checking my email and they’ll mention something about a sale that won’t be posted on their social media yet.
SHOP CERTAIN TIMES OF THE YEAR:
Bouncing off the previous point, certain times of the year, they have certain sales on certain items. Even right before the spring season starts, sometimes they’ll have sales on spring-items for you to stock up on. For example, some of the best sales I’ve seen when there were sales on top of sale items has been in January/right after the holidays, late summer as they’re getting rid of summer inventory, and spring/early summer. Essentially, when the seasons begin to change, it’s usually a pretty good time to grab an item from some of these stores.
SHOP THEIR BIG YEARLY SALES:
I know this goes without saying, but shopping a store’s big, yearly or quarterly sales are some of the best times to get good deals on their products. For example, at Vineyard Vines, their Whale of a Sale is one of the best ways to save money – especially when their items are already on sale. Nordstrom, Lily Pulitzer, J. Crew, Banana Republic all have yearly sales that I’ve grabbed a few things that when combined with their promo codes added as much as an additional 40% off! That could mean the difference between getting a sweater for over $100 or $50!
JOIN A RESALE GROUP
Did you know that most brands have resale groups on Facebook or Instagram where people will sell their gently used or new items? For example, I am a member of a Vineyard Vines resale group where people will often share brand new items that were recently released on the website, but they are reselling because it did not fit.
You state that you are interested and some will accept in order of who submits first or who places the highest bid, depending on the group’s rules. It’s a great way to get new or out of season items on a budget!
CONSIDER SHOPPING ONLY FOR CERTAIN THINGS:
While Vineyard Vines has beautiful jewelry, I mostly shop at Vineyard Vines for my shep shirts, hoodies, and caps. Other than that, I usually do not get their jeans or pants because I already have stores that I go to for those things. They also tend to be some of the most expensive items from the store.
When it comes to J. Crew and J. Crew Factory I love their sweaters, dresses, and blouses, so usually do not buy bottoms from there. Instead, I will buy bottoms from Old Navy, Levis, or other brands that last me a nice amount of time, but are a little more affordable for my budget unless there is a sale on them at some of the other stores I’ve mentioned.
I would recommend when buying items from pricier stores to shop primarily for certain items. These items could be items that are the most inexpensive or items that just make the most sense for you to splurge on.
Another way to purchase classic styles on a budget is by buying them on second-hand stores. Whether it’s Poshmark or ThreadUp or a local store, sometimes you’ll find some pretty nice items that are gently used. Sometimes people donate items because they no longer fit and rather than throwing them out, they’ll resell them. Just make sure you’re really inspecting the images if you get them online and that regardless of where you purchase it, that you wash it immediately before wearing it.
CONSIDER FOCUSING ON THE CLOSET STAPLES:
I am guilty of getting consumed by all of the cute items at a store that I find myself wanting to buy everything. Oh, that buffalo plaid light, blue jumpsuit with the bow? *Add to cart*
Those bow flats? *Add to cart*
What often stops me from purchasing items I do not need and cannot afford is, I sit back and shift my focus to items I know I will get the most wear of. Those color-block bow flats could go out of style, but that pullover sweater will not. That buffalo plaid jumpsuit is super cute, but if I know I am not going to wear it much, I shouldn’t get it unless I am okay with spending that kind of money on it.
For example, I purchased a gingham dress from Old Navy because I liked it and have never worn it because I rarely wear dresses at that length. While it was not an expensive dress and I scored it on sale, imagine if I purchased this from another store only for it to sit inside of my closet most of the year?
Instead, I’d recommend focusing on what I will get the most wear out of it and what will last longer when making purchases from pricer stores.
It’s fair if you’re scratching your head reading this right now, but I feel I would be amiss not including this when talking about budgeting. There have been so many times I’ve seen items that I wanted, but I knew it would not be wise for us to purchase. Sometimes you have to ask yourself if this is something that if you purchased would financially put you in a difficult spot. If the answer is yes, perhaps it’s a good idea to wait until their next sale or until you can afford it. I’ve had to do this quite a few times and there’s nothing wrong with admitting that to yourself. It stung a bit in the moment – especially for those items I’ve really been pinning after – but I thanked myself later when I needed that extra money for a medical payment.
Remember, you still have to eat at the end of the day. Just make sure you aren’t grabbing something if you’re not in the position to afford it right now.
When it comes to snagging items from your favorite stores that may be a bit expensive, there are ways to still be able to acquire some higher-quality items to build your wardrobe staples. Ultimately it is up to you, your budget, and what you feel comfortable with, but I hope this post provides you with some tips on how I manage to score some higher-quality items without stepping outside of our budget.
What are some of your favorite stores and how do you shop them on a budget?