The retail price is never final. I learned that lesson early in life from my father who is a master bargainer. But I didn’t know that I could take my third world bargaining skills into the heart of the first world fashion district in Manhattan. This is a fashion post, sort of. I hear from guys or their wives who want to buy a designer jacket or suit but don’t have the budget to afford it. Here are a few tips to get you into the nicer clothes you thought you could not afford.
Set your budget before going shopping. Much like buying a car or something expensive, you can get caught “in the moment” and end up spending your children’s college fund in new clothes. It’s easy to do. Don’t ask me how I know it.
Find a locally owned high-end store. The reason I prefer to shop in boutique stores is twofold. These stores often carry the more exclusive brands and products that you are not likely to find in most department stores; therefore, making your purchase even more special.
Negotiate. Locally-owned stores have room to negotiate. That’s right, negotiate. Recently I was shopping at a very nice store and the coat I wanted was more than my budged amount. I told the owner that it was way over my allowance. He gave me a discount on the spot. I saw an opportunity and said that if he discounted further, I would buy more. I ended up spending the same amount he wanted for one coat but got a pair of paints and another shirt for the same money. Score.
Be strategic. In fashion you have the basics and the stand out parts of your wardrobe. Buy the basics at T.J. Max or find good brands on sale at a department store. But then there is the stuff that you don’t see very often, clothes that are fashionable and well built and that people notice right away. I have a few of these. I just bought such a piece at the Beau Brummel boutique: a double breasted, fitted coat. It’s quite good looking and I’m certain I won’t be seeing many people wearing it around most places. That’s the kind of purchase you spend extra on.
Ask for more. Ask for alterations to be done for free. You can save good money by not having to pay a tailor to work on a jacket or reconstruct a shirt. High-end stores will have a tailor on staff and they make you look your best.
Are you comfortable asking for a discount at a high-end clothing store?