Happy first day of Spring!!! You can imagine my disappointment when I woke up this morning and realized that, despite the changing of the season, I still didn’t live in a climate with 70+ degree weather and perpetually clear blue skies. **le sigh**. But that sure didn’t stop me from throwing on this fun little spring sheath dress!
As the weather warms up, I know I’m going to be itching to add some new clothes to my wardrobe. Unfortunately, though my desire for a gazillion sun dresses may be growing, my bank account is not. So what’s a girl to do? I say give one of my favorite shopping pastimes a try—boutique bargain shopping. The dress, purse, and belt I’m wearing today were all scored boutique shopping—and I paid a surprisingly little amount to put this whole outfit together.
Seattle is home to some fabulous boutique shops that I’ve been eyeing for some more spring wardrobe upgrades, but I also don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on clothing that is designed to barely cover an arm and a leg. So I have a few tricks up my sleeve that have saved me some serious moolah in the past. Here are my top five ways to score the best deals at clothing boutiques—what tips and tricks have you used in the past to save some extra change?
Tip #1 – Ask the boutique when they are expecting a new shipment of clothing
Most boutiques have a very limited amount of floor space for new stock, meaning your favorite “must-have” items are CONSTANTLY being added to the sales rack. That dress you coveted that was originally $80 bucks? Give it three weeks, and chances are you’ll find it on the discount rack the next time you cruise into the store. Want to know the best time to come back to score the best deals? Ask the shop owner when they are expecting their next shipment of new clothing designs, come back on or around that exact date, and prepare yourself for fresh discount heaven. New shipments mean the old stock has to end up somewhere—and I’m thinking that somewhere should be your closet. Additionally, you can also ask an employee if there is a set day of the week when they add new inventory to the sales rack.
Tip #2 – Don’t be scared of the “Damaged” section
Damaged = HUGE discounts!!! Damaged items will typically sell for anywhere from 60%-90% off the original asking price, depending on the item and the amount of damage. Though “damaged” can mean a bit more work for you, something like a torn seam or a missing button can be a ridiculously easy fix and allow you to score a fabulous, normally expensive item at a super affordable rate. This is a great tip that doesn’t just apply at boutiques—the necklace I’m wearing today is from Banana Republic and was discounted 60% because one of the roses had a small chip in it, revealing the white porcelain underneath— but trust me, I wasn’t intimidated. A quick dab of coral nail polish and this necklace was as good as new!
Tip #3 – Ask if they have a fan club or loyalty program
Nobody wants to get a gazillion spam emails in their inbox, but signing up for loyalty or reward programs is one of the quickest and easiest ways to score discounts of usually 10% or 15% off your total purchase. Many boutiques will offer an additional incentive for “liking” them on social media or by signing up to receive emails, so don’t be afraid to ask! And once you start getting emails, DON’T IGNORE THEM! Keep an eye out for special discounts and offerings, even exclusive events are sometimes offered to loyalty members to score extra special deals (not to mention they are fun!).
Tip #4 – Ask the boutique if they will price match
Now, I RARELY do this because I understand that local boutiques have to charge a bit extra in order to survive, and I like supporting local businesses. That being said, if I see an item at a boutique store that I know I can buy at a department store for significantly cheaper (Macy’s in particular carries a couple of brands that I have also seen carried in local boutiques), I will ask if they are willing to either match the price or offer a bit of a discount. Like I said, I will rarely do this, but it’s worth a shot if the item is expensive. Most local clothing stores will want to keep your business, especially if they know you are willing to walk away and purchase the item elsewhere. Even getting the boutique to come down by 10% will save you cash and still allow you to support local business.
Tip #5 – Ask the boutique if they have a “sister store”
Some boutiques will have “sister stores,” meaning they are either owned by the same person or share a similar style/carry the same brands. Often times these “sister-stores” will carry similar shipments of clothing, though items that are full price at one retailer may be marked down at the other, based on sales and demand. If the store does have a “sister-store,” you can also ask if they offer a discount between the two—often times you can save 10% – 15% percent off your total purchase price at one store, just by buying a couple discounted items at the other.
I’m alllll ears to new ideas for how to score the best deals—have you tried any of these tips before? What works best for you? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!