How to bag a bargain

Thursday 8 March 2012


I've been getting a lot of questions about bargain hunting. Many of you inquired how I managed to acquire coveted designer goods at such low prices. I'm far from being an expert on this topic. Personally, I don't think I qualify to give tips here so any mistakes are my own. In any case, it was due to being at the right place at the right time, chuck in a dollop of research beforehand and having the patience of a saint (which I sadly lack in other areas of my life).

I thought I'll expand on the tips given on the previous post. I'm sorry if some of them sound like repetition. Since I cull my wardrobe regularly, some of the purchases I've made previously, have since been given away or sold to make way for new ones. For example the £135 Hermes Massai bag that nearly tore my shoulder tendons apart but that's another story.....

1. Find thrift and consignment stores in upscale and premium suburbs

jacket - chanel

The £115 Chanel jacket purchased at a thrift shop's twice yearly sales event

Well to do areas get extremely generous donations from their patrons. One volunteer worker confided that a recently deceased elderly lady left behind boxes of high end designer goods. Her sons had no idea what to do with mountain piles of Hermes Kellys, scarves and accessories, not including another massive load of Chanel items, promptly donated them to a charity shop in the area. This was the same place I purchased by Chanel jacket for a mere sum of £110. In near new condition to boot. Some thrift shops run twice yearly sales events so do call and put your name down on the mailing list. I've only been on a couple of occasions but I've heard that there were some very happy ladies at the till. 

In general, consignment stores can be a hit and miss but if you build up a good relationship with a SA, you can ask to be notified should something on your wish list comes in. Again, you'll have far better luck at a consignment store in more exclusive suburbs.

2. eBay

I've had quite a lot of successes with eBay. A few of you mentioned that you're nervous about the marketplace. It can be a daunting experience with the sheer number of items available for sale and having to sift the authentic items from the fakes. When it comes to high end purchases, I tend to stick to reputable sellers with a long history of selling similar items.

jacket - tb
I've been stalking this Ted Baker leather jacket for quite sometime when one popped up on eBay for £100 shipped instead of £325 from the store. I couldn't hit the BIN button fast enough, thanks to the my fellow shopping buddy, Lauraloo who was cheering me on the sideline.

I've received a number of emails inquiring about my Repetto purchases. I must've bought 8 pairs of Repetto in total over the course of 5 years, averaging £50 a pair. Again, all brand new. One was gifted to me due to a comedy of errors with one of the most unreliable companies I've ever had the misfortune to deal with. The rest were between £30 - £65 a pair which meant a significant saving on my part considering that they cost approximately £175 per pair. There isn't any secret other than checking often or using the saved search function on eBay.

3. Sales

I have put my email address on the mailing list of certain brands that I'm interested in. The only downside is having to delete a pile of junk every other day. This way you'll be sure to be notified about the upcoming specials. One of the things I'm rather anal about is making a list of the things I want to get. I'd try on a certain piece that I'd like to get prior to the sale and then hit the store on the first and last day of sale. Having a list makes me more focused without getting distracted by other "fantastic bargains" that I do not need. One of my best purchases this year has been the leopard print "Warick" sweatshirt from Etoile Isabel Marant. It was reduced from £250 to £75. I've gotten so much wear out of it that I'm sure my friends think it's the only sweatshirt that I own (they're right too!).

jacket - RB
Rag & Bone jacket reduced to £100 from £700ish at a Browns sale

jacket - MNG

My decade old MNG leather jacket was an impulse buy for approximately £65 from the sales rack

For those of you who were asking about my Comptoir des Cotonniers peacoat, they tend to mark down their inventory progressively throughout the sale. I tend to stock up on Comptoir des Cotonniers and Zadig & Voltaire clothes during these times of the year. 

The queue outside the Hermes sales venue at Palais de Congres, Paris

I've been meaning to mention the Hermes twice yearly sale in Paris. I would strongly suggest to all Hermes lovers to experience it, at least once in your life. It's not for the faint-hearted though. I made my friend S of Latkes and Dim Sum stand in line with me at 5am. She looked rather shell-shocked after we managed to make it out alive from the venue. 

I've had my fair share of duds but thankfully, I managed to rid of them on eBay. I've been hunting for a grey and white Ex Libris shawl for a year without any luck. When I got to the summer sale at Palais de Congres, there it was, a whole pile of grey/white Ex Libris for 40% off. My all time favorite Early America silk scarf was another lucky purchase at the sale.

Please don't hesitate to share and write a comment if you have any suggestions. I'd love to hear them all.


  1. Shell-shocked but luckily we both made it out alive! What an experience!!!!!!

  2. Wow !! You impress me post after post !!
    Love every & each item !!

  3. I am so jealous about that Chanel jacket! WOW what a score!

  4. Wow! Great tips. That Chanel jacket is an amazing find! I can only imagine the craziness at the Hermes sale haha.

  5. you have some great tips!! and awesome friends who will line up with you lol i doubt any of mine care about fashion & a good bargain enough to lose sleep over it. that chanel jacket is so gorgeous and awesome find!

  6. i love your tips and i'm still gaga over that Chanel jacket.. but more the price you paid for it!!! i love love your ted baker leather jacket too it's such a gorgeous color!

  7. Great tips M! Consignment shops are awesome, and once they get to know you and your taste they will call you. hahaha I like to keep my eye on the prize when I like something so I subscribe to a store's website via email (as you mentioned above). It's a great way to catch a sale on an item you love.

  8. I can't get enough of these bargains! All of these pieces were simply meant to be!

  9. These are awesome tips! Thanks! I feel a certain sense of trepidation when it comes to buying clothing and accessories on eBay but seeing the great scores you've gotten is very encouraging :)
    Happy weekend!
    rolala loves

  10. I am a bad bargain hunter...sigh..I need to master the art of hunting!

  11. All the images you've included in this post belong in my wardrobe! Haha! :)

    I love the tips you added.

    [your everyday girl,
    writing about guys]

  12. Hello! How do you know when and where the Hermes sale in Paris takes place?

    1. hi there, the Hermes sale in Paris has been held at Palais de Congres for the past few years. It occurs twice a year - on a Wednesday usually on the 3rd week of June/July and January. You can either call Hermes in Paris directly to confirm the actual date or find it out here:

  13. Fantastic post - I love the snaps of the incredible pieces you've scored. You pretty much own my dream selection of jackets, and to think you got them at those prices...crazy. I'm visiting London for the first time next weekend and will be excited to try my shopping luck there, perhaps at some upscale secondhand stores.

    1. Val, I hope you have tons of fun in London next weekend. Definitely try the consignment stores in the more upscale suburbs and Bicester Village if you have the time.

  14. These are wonderfully handy tips - thanks so much for sharing! You have found some fabulous pieces in those sales... that Chanel jacket is such a gorgeous classic!

  15. thanks for sharing these tips with us! I love bargain hunting but hardly ever have time for consignments and thrift shops so mostly I use eBay.

  16. How do you get the information about the Hermes sales? i would be very interrested to go next time! thanks so much I love your blog and thanks to you I finally decided on which size to buy for the Evelyne bag and went for the PM!

  17. Wow !! You impress me post after post !!
    Love every & each item !!

  18. I admire this article for well-researched content and excellent wording. Thank you for providing such a unique information here. Hoodie Sweatshirt With Yz Embroidered



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