As the cost of living shrinks our disposable income, we’re all looking to save money where we can. But that doesn’t mean we’re immune to lusting after new clothes.
If you want to treat yourself to some new clobber – but need to stick to a stricter budget these days – there are ways to update your wardrobe for less.
And we’re not just talking the obvious tips, like visiting charity shops and buying capsule, versatile pieces (although they’re always good ideas).
Instead, the consumer champions at Which? have shared some money-saving hacks for fashion lovers that you may not have heard before.
Did you know, for example, that there are specialist websites that sell heavily discounted ex-display shoes? Or that shops including M&S, New Look and H&M will offer vouchers in exchange for old clothes?
Read on for these genuinely helpful tips and more.
1. Recycle old clothes in exchange for vouchers
Several high street shops now run recycling schemes and offer vouchers in exchange for old clothes. For example, H&M and Schuh offer £5 to be redeemed off a £25 shop, Marks and Spencer offer the same when you spend £35. New Look offers 15% off if shoppers donate pre-loved fashion to a Hospice charity shop.
2. Hunt down discount codes
It is worth searching for discount codes and offers before shopping. Shoppers can often save 10% on their basket by referring a friend or signing up for a newsletter. Coupert and Pouch are free shopping tools that automatically find and apply every voucher available in one click, and apply them to the basket. Shoppers can also get offers by signing up for a loyalty program. For example, the H&M Club is free to join, gives all members free delivery and you can build up points with every purchase which can be exchanged for money-off vouchers.
3. Try renting clothes
Clothes rental schemes have become more popular in recent years. Prices vary, but renting an outfit could be cheaper than buying a new one. For example, prices for renting a dress from By Rotation begin from £9. Other similar sites include My Wardrobe HQ, Hurr, and, for children’s clothes, Bundlee. Most apps add a small usage fee, so be sure to check the terms and conditions. While renting can be a more environmentally-friendly alternative to purchasing something new you’ll only wear once or twice, dry cleaning and transportation have a big environmental impact, so check to see what rental platforms are doing to mitigate them.
4. Try swishing
‘Swishing’ is the term for swapping items of clothing or footwear with other people. Instead of shopping for new garments, it’s worth getting a group of friends or colleagues together to swap unwanted clothes.
5. Care and repair
People often look to replace shoes and clothes that have seen better days, but it’s worth looking for ways to fix them before splashing out on replacements. For example, a pair of men’s smart shoes on John Lewis can cost anything from £70 to £450, depending on the brand and quality of leather, but the soles could be replaced for as little as £30. For wool jumpers that are getting worn, Amazon sells bobble removers for as little as £5. Haberdashers and tailors might be able to fix broken zips or rips if you’re unable to do so yourself, but prices will vary.
6. Snap up ex-display shoes
High street shoe chains Schuh and Office both have specialist websites that sell reduced, ex-display shoes that may have minor wear-and-tear. Which? Found big brands including Birkenstock, Adidas, and Timberland available. Office Offcuts sells ‘end of line, ex-display and last pairs of shoes’ and all stock is new, and Schuh Imperfects says shoes may have scuffs, discolouration and other ‘individual quirks’.
7. Get the most out of the sales
When bargain-hunting in the sales, Which? Suggests shoppers set a budget and keep a list of any particular items they’re after and their current price. This means if they go on sale, shoppers will know exactly how much they’ll be saving, and whether it’s really a bargain. If items sell out quickly, it might be possible to sign up for alerts for restocks. For example, BackInStockAlerts.com monitors websites such as Amazon and Asos and sends an alert when a particular item is back in stock. It is also worth checking if the retailer has an app or scheme you can sign up to for early access to the sale. For example, Zara offers shoppers that use its app early access to the sale.
8. Give jeans a new lease of life
Black jeans often fade with time, but shoppers could re-dye them for as little as £3. Dylon pods of dye can be used in the washing machine and cost around £6 on Amazon, while hand dye costs around £3 – much cheaper than buying a new pair of jeans. If jeans are beyond the stage of re-dyeing, they can still be used for other purposes before being thrown out. For example, old jeans can be cut into denim shorts, or can be handy for doing DIY around your home.
9. Visit an outlet store
Outlet stores offer discounted clothes, often from past seasons. It could be worth checking if there are any nearby. Many brands now have outlet stores on eBay, offering savings of up to 70% on clothing. Brands include Crocs, Sports Direct, Superdry, Office, Joules and Oliver Bonas. Once on the eBay website, just select ‘brand outlets’ at the top to see what is available. Popular high street bands such as ASOS and Mango also have their own online outlet shops.