Tell me if this sounds familiar: you’re relaxing in bed on a Sunday with a cup of coffee, coaxing the knot out of your brain left after five margaritas at Cabo Cantina, and flipping through the latest issue of Vogue, Bazaar, or Elle. After two hundred pages of Zac Posen dresses, Louboutin heels, Marc Jacobs bags, and “Smart Splurges Under $500,” you begin to cry.
Even if you traded in that hard-earned internship for a paid job delivering pizzas; even if you dropped out of school and stopped paying tuition; even if you sold a kidney, maybe two, on the black market in Thailand you still wouldn’t be able to afford a pair of $14,000 knee high alligator boots from Manolo Blahnik, or a $20,000 Hermes “Birkin” bag.
If you’re a dedicated follower of fashion like me, but poor as hell (like me), you need to know about these cheap online shopping websites: (In alphabetical order.)
amazon.com This site isn’t just for discounted books anymore. Amazon’s apparel and accessories department offers equally amazing deals on clothing, bags, and shoes from all the top labels. There are deals for every price range from over-the-knee patent boots from Jimmy Choo for $379 ($620 off the original price) to Seven7 skinny jeans for $18, a 70% mark down.
asos.com As Seen on Screen is a British company that specializes in trendy fashion items that are based on (or the same as) items worn by your favorite celebrities. They’ve got ASOS brand leather knee-high gladiators in the style of Ashley Olsen for £55 (about $102), a studded belt identical to the one Carrie wore in the “Sex and the City” movie for £15 (about $28), and an amazing selection of items from independent designers like a sheer chiffon floral top by To Love Kuvaa for £30 (about $56).
fashionjunkee.com This is by far the best place to find imitation designer purses. If you’re thousands of miles from Canal Street (or if the idea of Canal Street makes you retch), you’ll love Fashion Junkee. Their “Inspired by Marc Jacobs” Stam bag is a ridiculously low $46, and their “Inspired by Balenciaga” motorcycle bag is only $58 and comes in twenty different colors.
forever21.com This is the store that definitely sucks away the biggest portion of my paycheck. See a plaid Dolce & Gabbana skirt on the fall runway you’re dying to have? Chances are they’ve got a similar item in their store for about a thousand dollars less. But the store can get crowded, and the music they play is annoying, so shopping online is a godsend. They add new merchandise everyday so visit often. Also, be sure to check out their higher end (as in, a few extra Hamiltons) label Twelve by Twelve and their accessories line For Love 21.
knowlabel.com This isn’t a designer label (Know Label, get it?), but if you don’t care what the tag says then this is an amazing website to find high quality clothing at low prices. My favorite items include a little black party dress with rosettes in the style of Philip Lim for $48, and a white silk pleated babydoll top with black ribbon trim that looks like it was taken off the back of Chloe Sevigny, also only $48.
newport-news.com This site is really all about the shoes. They’ve got dresses, bikinis, and lingerie, but these items tend to be for older women, mostly in their 30s. Skip over that stuff and go right to the footwear. They’ve got a pair of studded platform oxford booties currently on sale for $39 (was $49) that I’ve been dying to buy and classic t-strap pumps in a range of colors for only $29.
rustyzipper.com This is like a flea market you don’t have to wake up at 6 AM and drive to. They’ve got hundreds of vintage items for men and women all for around $30. Shoes, pants, dresses, all categorized by style (“Disco,” “Hippie,” etc.) and era (from the 1940s to today).
target.com I try to stay away from actual Target stores because I find that I walk in just trying to buy paper towels and come home with two bras, a pair of jeans, and a George Foreman Grill. I stick to target.com to keep myself from over-shopping and to make sure that what I walk in for is what I walk away with. In recent years they’ve also earned major style points with their Go International designer labels. Currently it’s Richard Chai’s turn, but my favorite was definitely Proenza Schouler’s line. I wear their bustier top all the time!
topshop.com Supposedly the British high street chain Topshop is coming to America, but until it makes it to your city, you’ll have to settle for browsing the runway worthy duds and Kate Moss designed separates online.
Has anyone got a favorite discount shopping site they’d like to add to this list? I’m always looking for new places to burn through my savings.