Sometimes I Shop :: Amazon Designer Dupes

As much as I adore my designer pieces, I remember the days when I used to search for hours for dupes of high dollar items I saw on bloggers. I remember finding a studded satchel similar to the Alexander Wang I saw on Fashion Toast that I carried proudly for years until I could afford to replace it with the real deal.

While browsing Amazon the other day, I found a TON of inspired pieces that I thought might bring you joy if the real deal breaks the bank. I've also worn or carried dupes before that I spend $20-40 on just to see if I liked the style, and later upgraded to the real deal.

Yep, if you've been crushing on the Rockstud pumps, Amazon has both the heels and flats by Kaitlyn Pan for around $100 a pop. They come in almost every color you could want - and the reviews all rave that they're almost as gorgeous as the real deal.

So what's the difference in a dupe and a fake? Well, it is a fine line, and this bag definitely toes the line closely. The biggest difference is the name - this Amazon dupe doesn't try to pass itself off as "Chloe" even though it looks nearly identical. I LOVE the Chloe Faye, so I'm seriously considering trying the Amazon version!

This one almost ventures into fake territory for me, especially since Balenciaga doesn't put any branding on their bags. But, I love my BBag and it's such a cool style that is so hard to find "similar" styles for, so this Amazon version is an absolute ringer for someone who loves the moto style.

Remember my beloved Rocco satchel from earlier in this post? I would have JUMPED at the chance to grab this dupe from Amazon back in the day! It comes in a couple of colors and I love that it has those amazing studs on the bottom.

Ah, Carrie Bradshaw's gorgeous Manolo Blahniks from the SATC movie. If you've always been in love with these bright blue wedding shoes, they can be yours for under $50! They're also available in black, pink, and yellow if that's more your thing.

Anyone shopping some good dupes lately? Let me know if you order any of these and how they look!

Broke Girl's Guide :: My Favorite Designer Sale

If you've been thinking about making the plunge into the world of handbags, I wanted to alert you to one of my favorite sales starts this morning. Shopbop is having their big sale where the more you spend, the more you get off. Here's how it works: Spend $250 or more, get 15% off. $500, 20% off. And $1000+ gets you 25% off whatever you want - no exclusions. I'm giving you the heads up because last year, I wanted to buy two bags and get the full 25%, but one of the ones I wanted sold out. I ended up adding a ring to my order to get the full 25%

THIS is the sale that I used to buy my Rocco, and it's a really great way to snag something for a great price.

Tory Burch Mini Satchel3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli | Alexander Wang Rocco | Rebecca Minkoff Crossbody

I'm also including a few things I can personally recommend as "extras" in case you want to add something to your cart to bump your savings to the next level. For instance, the Rocco at 20% off is $740, but if you added the ring below that bumps the total to over $1000 and you'll get the 25% off, making the total $750. Essentially, you get the bag for cheaper and a ring for $10 more. It's like I'm a shopping magician! So with all of that...what are you eyeing from the sale? It starts today and runs through December 1st!

Jacquie Aiche Letter Ring | Karen Walker Super Duper | Kate Spade Bow Gloves

This post is a collaboration with Shopbop, which is one of my favorite online shops, so I feel comfortable recommending them. I picked all of this stuff out though because I'm only comfortable recommending things I would own or buy. How's that for a disclaimer?

Broke Girl's Guide To :: Buying Contemporary Designers

I used to think spending a lot of clothes was silly, when I could find similar styles for a minuscule amount of the price at places like Forever 21. And then…I got my first silk shirt. It was just a white button up from Michael Kors that I found on clearance at Marshall’s, but the way it hung! The way it felt! The way it made me feel! I was hooked.

But here's my secret: I rarely pay full-price for anything.

We’re not talking full-on designer here - Prada, Gucci, and Chanel still remain firmly out of my budget when it comes to clothes. But Contemporary Designers like Rebecca Taylor, ALC, and Equipment aren’t necessarily out of reach from the every girl’s budget. In fact, I’ve snagged several gorgeous pieces for around the same price that I’d pay for a top at The Limited. So today, I’ve put together a buying guide of some of my favorite discount shops for designer duds.

Gilt

Best for: Bags & More recent collections
I’ve bought several bags on Gilt to date, including Kate Spade, Rebecca Minkoff, and Barbara Bui. They seem to consistently have bags that are lovely marked down 50% or more, so if there’s a certain designer you’re holding out for, save your money and you’ll probably see it. I’ll probably end up buying my Balenciaga City bag from them if I ever save the money.

They’re also great about having the most recent collections. After the pieces go on sale on the main designer’s site, you’ll see them pop up on Gilt before they head to the discount retailers like Last Call.

Watch out for: Expensive shipping, Heightened Sense of Urgency, their personal collections
The one thing I don’t love? Rare free shipping. You’ll occasionally see a sale that offers free shipping if you use a Master Card (which I do, hurrah!), but for the most part it’ll be $6-8. I recommend the shipping above basic.

The other big problem with Gilt is the sense of urgency - since they’re a “flash sale” site, you might feel tempted to buy things so they don’t sell out or go away forever. Sometimes that can lead you to spend money you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Finally, this isn’t so much of a problem as something to be aware of - Gilt owns several in-house brands. Alex+Alex, Elorie, and The Letter are a few trademarks registered with Gilt under which they sell their own lines. From my experience, the pieces are good quality for the value, so if you love it, buy it! But they often throw these pieces into sales at a “significant discount” to make you feel like you’re getting more of a deal than you are. They’re probably worth the sale prices, though.

Best Sale:
Gilt usually has an “End of Season” sale twice a year that boasts 90% off. You’re taken to a list of designers and have to navigate your way through those by priority, hoping your favorites you don’t even know you had don’t sell out. The sale is made up of all of the left-overs they had throughout the season, so if you find something you love in your size, you’re set to get a great deal.

Last Call

Best for: Tops, Dresses, Shoes
Last Call is where I’ve snagged a lot of great tops for work. Their selection is usually chock-full of Equipment, Rebecca Taylor, Rebecca Minkoff, Alice + Olivia, and Eileen Fisher selections at reasonable prices. When you stack their coupons they send through email, you can often get a $250 blouse for around $60.

Watch Out For: Flux Pricing
The downside is, their pricing changes DAILY. A blouse you might have loved at $60 yesterday could be $100 today, depending on what the promo is. It’s my experience that they change the sales often and aren’t likely to run out of stock IMMEDIATELY, so it’s best to wait for the right combination of promo+coupon.

Best Sale: Wait for a great coupon via email! I often get an additional 20-50% off coupon, $10 off $30, etc.

Additional Note: If you can shop Last Call in person, DO. The website is just a small portion of what’s available in store. I found a 3.1 Phillip Lim Jacket (Originally $700) on sale for $80 when I was there! But there was only one. Websites don’t sell a quantity of one, they sell the things they have lots of. So if you want great deals, get them in-store.

Saks Off Fifth

Best for: Tops, In-House Brands, Shipping from Stores
Honestly, Off Fifth is probably my least favorite of the fine discount stores. I do not recommend shopping in store - you’ll leave disappointed with their selection, unless you love Ivanka Trump bags and Juicy Couture sunglasses. But, they’re really great about shipping items from stores if the website is out of something particular you’re looking for, so it’s worth a shot.

Watch out for: Bad Sales
Same as Last Call, you have to watch for price flux. I often check between the two on the same items to see who has the best deals. Saks is particularly bad at terrible sales, though. Their “Buy One, Get Two Free” sale comes to mind - it’s a great way to spend 2 hours looking for three things you want. They raise the prices and only include the crap items, so it’s really a bit of a waste of time.

Best Sale: Wait for an Additional % off.
Also, when you sign up for emails, they’ll give you a coupon for $30 off $100, which when stacked with promos and discounts makes for a great deal.

Nordstrom Rack

Best for: Anything! Just shop this one in store.
I’ve found Dolce & Gabbana pumps, a Milly Jacket, Marc Jacobs Sunglasses…I LOVE shopping at Rack. They also have a store online, but I don’t explore it as often as the ones I mentioned above. I have scored some cute Sole Society sandals from there.

Bonus: Use your Nordstrom Debit or Credit Card here and rack up the rewards. You can look up Double & Triple points weekends for extra buying power!

Barney’s Warehouse

Best for: Designer
There’s a reason Barney’s Warehouse is usually out of my price range - even at heavy discounts, their items are high-end designers. 75% off $2,000 is still $500! But, if you’re quick and not picky, this is a great place to get your designer fill, if you have your pennies saved or a great credit card. Also, this photo is misleading because I actually got my Wang at ShopBop. So whatever.

Marshall’s & TJ Maxx

Now we’re getting into the “In-Store” stuff. TJ Maxx does have an online retail presence, and it’s not half bad from what I’ve seen. The reason I’m lumping these two together? They vary based on where you live. For instance, in Little Rock our Marshall’s & TJ Maxx get their wares mostly from Dillard’s distributers, meaning the best you’re gonna find is Coach, MICHAEL Michael Kors, Theory, and the occasional Kate Spade bag. Say you’re in Dallas though - their TJ Maxx constantly has designer denim, contemporary dresses and tops…I’ve even heard wind of a Valentino Bag or two. So what THESE stores have is based on what else is in your area.

That said, it also varies between the two. In Little Rock, our TJ Maxx has a great bag section but Marshall’s bags kind of suck. But I prefer the Marshall’s shoe selection and clothing. So you kind of have to visit both to see what you can find.

Best sale: The Clearance sale! I’ve found ABS Platinum for $5, Vince Camuto for $15, and a Theory sweater for only $30.

Other Sales of Note:

Everything I listed above is a discount retailer, which usually means they’re the best place to start when you’re looking for a deal. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great deal at one of the non-discount retailers! Piperlime & Shopbop both have great sales and clearance, so cross-reference each of these sites when you’re looking at something specific. For example, I was in LOVE a strawberry print top from Equipment this summer (and let it slip away! sigh). It was on sale on Shopbop for $82, but Saks had it for an additional 25% off of 100 - making it $75. Consider the perks, promos, coupons, and shipping whenever you’re comparing the sites. At the end of the day, if you’re willing to do the legwork you can get some killer deals on your duds.

I've also found some amazing deals on 6pm.com and BlueFly on everything from Rebecca Taylor to Prada, but have not purchased from either. They're both great sites to peruse the clearance section if you're looking for a deal; most tops I've seen are $40-50!

Finally, consider using a service like ShopStyle or Shop It To Me to keep you up-to-date on sales. I tag several items I like as they come out, and they’ll send me emails when those things go on sale. I also get emails from each of the stores above; it can get overwhelming, but it’s the best way to find a sale if you’re in the market for something specific.

Next up in this series: Buying Secondhand! I've got some great tips to making that thrift score.