There are many ways to get the look you want for less, says Julie Daunt.
Are you finding it torturous to walk down Opera Lane, trying your best not to venture inside the teeming shops, because all you have in your wallet is the cloakroom ticket from last night’s Havanas and €7.57 on your Laser card? Do you find yourself jealous of your friends’ new threads, feeling your own are unstylish and unflattering? Would you love to own everything off the Boohoo.com adverts on the television? If you answered yes to all the above, then I’ve got the solutions for you!
Customise: The ultimate money saver. Why buy new clothes when you can give your old ones a new lease of life? While using a sewing machine, needle and thread might be daunting to some people, you’ll find it is easy to alter your clothes, even if you are all thumbs. Simply take a scissors to those jeans you’ve had since you were fifteen and transform them into shorts, or even a skirt, if you let out the seams. As for tops, cutting off the sleeves, or even widening the neckline can change that baggy long-sleeve into a tank top or even a halter-neck. However, one bit of advice is mark out where you are going to cut first and don’t get too scissors happy, as once you cut, it can be difficult to sew back on!
If you’re a hazard with a pair of scissors, then there’s plenty of other ways to revive your wardrobe, and at a small price. Hickeys in the Savoy centre is your place to go! I often browse their sale section for buttons, studs or iron on patches to doll up my clothes. Often these items require no sewing and can even be glued on with fabric glue. High street shops are even getting on board the customising train, with River Island often stocking altering additions for clothes. Pin on spikes to badges to feathers, there’s an endless possibility to what you can use. You can even look in the jewellery section of shops like Topshop or even Penneys for earrings you could pin onto that old plain t-shirt you have sitting in that drawer. Overall, don’t be afraid to attack those old clothes of yours. Even if it ends up looking like it has been worn by Edward Scissorhands, at least it hasn’t cost you anything!
Charity Shops/ Swapshop: As Macklemore says, in his all too catchy song Thrift Shop, “One man’s trash, that’s another man’s come-up.” He’s right! You can often find something vintage or unique in a charity shop, while also helping out a charity. You can sometimes even find branded clothes for a fraction of their price. Even if you find something that’s not in your size, again you can alter and customise it to your heart’s content, and at very little cost.
However, while it is always good to donate unwanted clothes to charity shops, I often give first dibs to my friends. We even make an event out of it! What might not fit your friend anymore might fit you, and vice versa. Throw some clothes into bags, get your girls together, pour some drinks and have a swapshop session. It’s a great way to get a whole new wardrobe at no cost. You’ll also be helping out a friend by taking their unwanted wears. And whatever is left over, can then be donated to Oxfam or the Irish Cancer Society. Feel good feelings all round!
Unidays/Parcel Motel: While you might be able to resist the urge to splurge in the high street shops, it’s even harder to not be tempted by the thousands of clothes on all the fashion sites that can be bought by one click. With postage and packaging often taking up a large chunk of the price, buying online can often be just as if nearly more expensive than heading into town. But fear not! There are also many ways to save when shopping online. The first is the fantastic website myunidays.com which gives your PERMANENT discounts on loads of online stores. I’m constantly abusing their 10% discount on ASOS.com and Boohoo.com. Often they bump up these discounts to 20% or more for a limited time, even more of a reason to sign up right away! All you need is your student e-mail address and you’re sorted.
However, even if you find that perfect dress (that’ll definitely get you the shift), I find postage is often up to half the price of the overall total. While sites like ASOS.com offer free delivery to Ireland, many sites, like Boohoo.com only give their UK customers this perk. But there is a loophole – Parcel Motel! Simply register on parcelmotel.com and when you go to give your delivery address, list the Parcel Motel in Belfast (as they also receive free delivery since they are part of the UK). The brilliant thing is that you can transfer your purchase from this Belfast address to any Parcel Motel in Ireland FOR FREE! All you will have to pay is €3.50 for using the Parcel Motel service. You can transfer your package around any Parcel Motel for nothing. Loop-hole achieved! If you don’t believe me, check out their FAQs on their website.
Ebay/Get the Label/Tk Maxx: If you are still a sucker for your big brands, then there are still ways and means of getting that Abercrombie and Fitch zip-up for less. Firstly, you have the online options of eBay and gethelabel.com. Both of these have their perks. Firstly, with the famous eBay, people often put their unwanted clothes up for auction on this site. Bidding on clothes can often be the cheapest way to buy those couture clothes online. Try bidding as close as possible to the deadline and make sure you have a PayPal account for back-up protection. Don’t be surprised if you get out-bided a few seconds afterwards. There are people who are permanently on eBay buying cheap clothes to sell on to make a profit. But don’t let this put you off! The downside with eBay is the item may or may not be a legitimate label. But still, you’ll have gotten the look for less, so you shouldn’t complain!Another tip is to misspell the name of your label item. The correctly spelled Calvin Klein will be the one most people will bid on, while the Calvin Clein one might get overlooked and you’ll have more of a chance of succeeding with your bid.
Getthelabel.com is another site worth trying your luck on. They boast a whopping 75% off designer brands. Shipping is also only €6 to Ireland, which isn’t bad! Finally we have the Aladdin’s Cave that is TK Maxx. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and dig through the aisles of clothes in this shop! However, they often offer up to 60% off the recommended retail price on known brands, so they are definitely worth the effort!