These websites offer customers the chance to be the first at online sales. Once you’ve signed up you’ll be sent an email alerting you to the start of the sale so you can get straight there and start grabbing those bargains before everyone else.
Join a site that offers registration for free. Also, these sites do tend to email quite often so if that sort of thing drives you crazy set up a separate email account.
Head to designer sample-sale fashion site Cocosa to get your hands on designer pieces with up to 50-80% off. This fashion club offers members insider access to premium designer clothes and accessories. Each sale is announced to members in advance by e-mail. Previous collections include Christian Lacroix and Jonathan Saunders.
Koodo is ideal for fashion fans who want big savings on designer clobber. The site is really easy to navigate and when you sign up to become a member you’ll get early access to top sales so you can grab the best bargains before they go. All you have to do is check the sale calendar, select the sales you’re interested in and Koodos will email you 24hrs before it starts.
Another great website is Secret Sales where you can save between 30% and 80% on lots of designer gear by the likes of Christian Dior and Dolce & Gabbana.
Other good websites to sign up to include Fashion Confidential, Catwalk to Closet, Private Outlet and Dress for Less.
These offer lots of big label names at cheaper prices. The Designer Warehouse Sales, for example, are held over three days, 12 times a year, in Islington, Central London. You could get your hands on catwalk one-offs, showroom samples and make savings of 60% or more on your favourite labels. Join the mailing list to find out in advance when the sales are going to take place.
There are some amazing bargains to be had in sample sales. You can find out before everyone else when the next sample sale is by checking Dailycandy which lists the venues and times of upcoming sample sales in London.
Other sites such as Samplesaleslondon, Designersales and Stylebible have their own sample sales diaries too so keep an eye on all four to make sure you don’t miss out.
Vintage fairs are perfect for saving money while not compromising on style. From whole outfits to smaller accessories, there’s almost guaranteed to be something unique for every budget. Frockme! hosts a vintage fair several times a year at the Chelsea Town Hall, King’s Road, Chelsea. Admission is £4, children under 16 go free and students pay just £2. You’ll find clothes from every era, whether you’re looking for 1920’s flapper dresses, a little eighties number or a classic 1960s piece.
Anita’s Vintage Fashion Fairs organises vintage fairs throughout the year at Battersea Arts Centre and 20th Century Theatre, Notting Hill. Expect around 65 stands in Battersea and 28 stands in Notting Hill, full to the brim with fashion, textiles and accessories dating from the 1800’s to 1970’s. Entry is £4 or £2 for students.
VintageFair – which hosts fairs all over England including Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and Liverpool – is also worth a look. Click on the links to your nearest location to find out when and where the next event takes place.
For online vintage stores Absolutevintage is a good starting point with lots of accessories, shoes and bags on offer as well as a few dresses. There are detailed descriptions of all the items and although you won’t find any designer pieces it is pretty cheap and there are some gorgeous pieces for anyone on a budget who is looking for that vintage look.
Marthascloset also has some affordable pieces from the 50s right through to the 80s. The sale section at Martha’s Closet is particularly good – you can often find items being offered for under £10.
Pretaportobello sells wares from the ultra trendy Portobello Road. There can be some real treasures and it’s great for finding one-off pieces.
WhatsMineIsYours was the first British online fashion swap shop and was founded in 2004 by stylist and personal shopper, Judy Berger. Visitors can swap, buy and sell fashion items making high style affordable and environmentally friendly. There are also boutiques selling the wares of up-and-coming new designers and vintage sellers.
The website now has over 13,000 regular users so there are plenty of items to choose from. There’s nothing to stop you swapping your swaps – in fact, you could keep swapping and get yourself a new dress every couple of weeks!
Don’t buy – borrow instead!
Sites like Girlmeetsdress allow members to rent beautiful designer instead of buying them. All of the items are new or nearly new and with some retailing at thousands of pounds it can be a good way to feel a million dollars without needing the bank balance to match. Handbagsfromheaven works in a similar fashion – opt either for Pay As You Go and hire as and when you like with no commitment, or become a member and get a 15% discount off all prices.