In today’s post, I am sharing with you all about where I shop and some of my shopping tips to help you not only save money but also become a smarter and more conscious buyer.
Coming from a fashion blogger standpoint, shopping a lot is and has always been a struggle of mine. I do find such pressure to stay relevant and to push out new exciting outfits and try out new beauty products all the time. I used to own a car and would always choose the malls as my driving destination after work almost every day or at least 3 to 5 times a week. No joke! My favorite was the Opitz Outlet in St. Louis Park where they sold designers at a super discounted price, and I loved their 90% final sale section in the back. I always walked out with something with a designer label I liked, either bring it to my aunt’s tailoring shop where I worked at the time and altered to wear or I’d just leave them in my closet to sell in the future. I used to sell them on eBay for a short while, but before moving to Seattle, I knew I had to give away a lot of them. Ever since I moved to Seattle, I’ve quickly learned to let go of the luxury (and stress) of owning a car to go everywhere I wanted and learned to shop less and smarter. I’ve tried thrifting but never found any luck. In all honest opinion, Seattle is not a fashion city. Some bloggers find it’s an advantage as there is less competition here in the PNW. I somewhat agree. However, it is difficult to find vintage pieces and designers at an affordable price point (like what the Opitz outlet had to offer) since there is less competition in terms of retailers and sellers if you know what I mean.
I love the in-person shopping experience. I love going in to touch, see, and try new clothes at the stores. However, I also spend a ton of time browsing the shops online quite often. I love a good haul and opening packages. It’s like Christmas, every time!
Nordstrom HQ, downtown Seattle: I love it here, 4 floors, filled with so many designers and luxury goods. I loved their AllBirds pop-up which I ended up buying a pair after having a chance to try them on in Nordstrom. I was on a hunt for a pair of designer jeans one day and found my most favorite jeans of all time there from GRLFRND, a Revolve brand. I also got the AllSaints leather jacket there earlier this year even though the Allsaint store was just right across the street from it. I love that Nordstrom does notes (money-back program) and their customer service and their return (no questions asked) policy. Last fall, I bought the YSL leather tote bag, wore it for a few times, and the stitching in one of the straps came off. I needed a bag that fit my laptop and could be my work and everyday bag, but I had to return it. It was not the most practical bag since it was so big. Nordstrom happily took it back, no problem.
Shops at Westlake Center: Zara, Sak Off Fifth, Nordstrom Rack, Urban Outfitters & Anthropologie: I’d often stop by a Zara to browse their new-ins and try them on if I have time just to get a feel of how I like to look in certain outfit combos. I sometimes find sale items like dresses or leather shoes in the sale section at Zara at very good prices. Sak Off Fifth has tons of designers on sale, but I haven’t really bought anything since their stuff is still quite pricey. Nordstrom Rack is my favorite designers on sale location to go to, and yes it can get super messy at times. And Urban Outfitters is a hot place this summer for dresses for me! I love Anthropologie for home decor and their store display, always a big hit of inspiration and I love it! Other stores that I like to stop by once in a while is the AllSaints store, Nike, H&M, Banana Republic, Madewell, Sephora.
University Village: I can literally spend a whole day here since there are so many shops and restaurants here. My favorite has got to be Brandy Melville store for casual affordable crop tops, Tshirts, and sweaters. I love to stop buy H&M sometime even though I don’t shop there often like I used to anymore. There are Lululemon, Aritzia, Anthropologie, Free People, Jcrew, Madewell, Banana Republic that I frequent. I also love the gigantic Apple store, furniture stores like R&H, Room & Board, Crate & Barrell, and I’m so excited for the CB2 that is going to be opened soon. Not to mention, there are 3 Starbucks, the Amazon bookstore, Warby Parker, the always busy Molly Moon ice cream and Din Tai Fung, and free parking!
Bellevue Square: Nordstrom, Uniqlo, Lululemon, Aritzia, Free People,
Small & local shops: Prism carries lots of my Instagram favorite shops, Paloma Wool (clothes & shoes), Loq (shoes), Group Parner & Mini_likey (pottery), Machete (jewelry). Luna Sandals HQ and factory in Queen Anne! Totokaelo (my most favorite shop ever to browse for inspiration for designers clothes, shoes, bags, and home goods! They’re expensive!!), Aesop skincare, and all shops on Pine st. and around Glasswing (plants, clothes, and home decor), Tide & Pine, Pipe & Row, Wayward (I got a chance to talk to the buyer guy and learnt about the store which carried lots of technical clothes, shoes, and accessories that cater towards functionality and quality. I really love what they have in store!)
Miscellaneous: Calvin Klein (at outlet stores) for underwears, REI for hiking socks
Outdoor Voices (everything fitness/technical apparel they sell I’d wear!), Reformation (probably my top favorite placd to shop for these days. The fit and fabric are great! A bit pricey but well worth the money!), Mango (dressed pants, dresses, and shoes. I love their sales), Zara (sales), ASOS (I love the ASOS White & their own labels, Weekday, and I occasionally find new brands there!), Topshop (their dressed pants fit me pretty well!), H&M (I don’t shop there often anymore but occasionally peek at their sale Studio collection), Anthropologie (dresses & home decor), UO (Tshirts, crop tops, & dresses), & Other Stories (Tshirts, tops, & dresses), Everlane (Tshirts, shoes, jeans, and dresses), Patagonia (love their hats and tech jackets), Opening Ceremony, Mejuri (gold vermeil jewelry brand that I’m working with, definitely recommend anyone to invest in them if you like gold jewlery, great quality!), Boma Jewelry (I’m currently working with the owner to rebrand the brand, so stay tuned in the next few months. They’re great people manufacturing authentic certified 925 silver jewelry since 1981. I’ll need lots of feedback and support from you guys in making Boma a silver jewelry company that you all love. They’re based in Seattle but moved their manufacture to Thailand 25 years ago.), Lack of Color (really good quality hats!), Realisation Par (silk Instagram-worthy dresses), Ray-ban (the majority of my sunglasses is Ray-ban’s)
Shops I want to make a purchase in the near future: Nanushka, Acne, Balenciaga, Celine (heels & sunglasses), Isabel Marant (blazer or dresses), Paloma Wool, The Line by K by Karla Deras (I love her new Youtube channel!), Loq, Wolf Circus (Candian jewelry brand), GLDN & Baileen (Seattle jewelry brand), BOYY (Thailand bag brand), Mansur Gavriel, Mr. Larkin, Veja shoes, Toteme, lisasaysgah, Loeil, GANNI, Staud Clothing,
1. SHOP DESIGNERS PAST SEASONS AND ON SALE OR SECOND HAND
Check out TheRealReal for luxury & designer goods second-hand if you prefer to online shop. Otherwise, Sak Off Fifth and Nordstrom Rack are good places to shop for designers on sale. I’d like to look at the original price tags and compare it to the sale price. I don’t buy anything if it’s not 80% off or above. Extra sale prices are even better as these stores do a few weekends with extra sales a few times a year. Search for local vintage shops or discounted designer shops. If you live in Minnesota, do check out the Opitz in St. Louis Park!!!
2. INVEST IN QUALITY RATHER QUANTITY
As mentioned above, I love Nordstrom and their customer service, so I’d much rather spend money here than the original stores. For example, I bought the AllSaints leather jacket at Nordstrom instead of the AllSaints store which was just across the street because Nordstrom does offer cashback in-store credit and have double and triple point days. Make sure to apply for their credit card if you can to be eligible for collection points. And of course, before you invest in anything at a pricey price tag, make sure you do research about the brands whichi I will talk more in #5 and stick with simple and classy pieces. Simple and classy pieces that I think every woman or man should at least have one is a black leather bag or wallet. Invest in women accessories such as bags, scarves, shoes, jewelry, watches, (for men’s: shoes, a wallet, belts, watches)
3. CONSIGN & THRIFT
Visit your local Goodwill or Value Village depending on where you live. Of course, all you need is patience and a few good hours to yourself. I have not found a favorite here in Seattle since I don’t own a car and haven’t really had time to shop like I used to anymore. Leave a comment below letting me know your favorite thrift shops in the Seattle area as I’d love to check them out soon! As mentioned, TheRealReal is a great way to sell designer pieces that you don’t often wear. They are great at keeping you in the loop and send out payment quickly once your item sells. I’ve sent in about 10 items including clothes, shoes, and sunglasses a few months ago, and they’re all sold out.
4. ONLY SHOP SALES FAST FASHION RETAILERS
Zara is still one favorite fast fashion that almost everyone shops at. I know the fast fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to environmental damage and human labor exploitation. But we are working on it, and they are also working on it. As much as I love supporting Reformation and Patagonia, the two stores that are really transparent and making the real effort to improve the fashion industry, but they offer things at a much higher price point that not everyone can afford. I cannot either. So what I’ve done and have been doing are to really take time and think about what I will buy whether I will see myself wearing in the next years or not, rather than to buy because it’s on sale. I often shop by the store when there is the sale going on. I found a pair of nude leather boots for $20 at the Zara store couple of years ago, and they are still one of my favorite boots ever. I love their blouses and dresses as well and would only buy if they’re on sale. In general, I usually like to browse all the shops to touch and try on things but would make a purchase if it is reasonably priced.
5. RESEARCH BRANDS AND READ LABELS
I often research and learn about the brands (online brand) before making any purchases these days. Read labels for the fabric composition and what the item is made out of and from. Read to see if the items are preferred to be hand-washed, dry-cleaned, or low heat setting. I typically try not to throw things in the wash after one wear. I rarely wash my jeans, dressed pants, blouses, and dresses anyways.
I know ideally, we all would want to shop and have high-quality clothes in our closet, but good quality fabrics are expensive as well as the skills and labor/craftsmanship/the hands that make those quality and good design clothes also take into consideration. Hence, educating the everyone to shop less and invest/pay more is a work-in-progress. I’ve realized if we buy less, there would be less demand, and supply would slow down. and the problem is solved. But it is not that easy. How? I cannot tell you but rather let you do the research. For my part as a fashion blogger, I struggle with what to buy and what not to buy all the time. I do make sure the items that I am planning to keep in my closet are well-made and designed, preferably with the designer labels as that would at least ensure what I buy to meet those qualities. I own a lot of pieces from Zara and H&M and still continue to love and wear them for years to come. So again, it is really up to you to do the research, try things on, and make sure to fix and repair them (not just throwing them away), or donate if possible.
wearing GRLFRND jeans (purchased at the Nordstrom store downtown Seattle) | bag: Kozha Numbers (purchased directly from their online store, faster shipping from Oregon- their HQ & manufacture) | tube top: Brandy Melville (purchased at the store at University Village) | earrings: H&M (on sale, purchased years ago) | loafer mules: Everlane | watch: JORD (gifted)
Enter my giveaway with JORD for a chance to win $100: https://www.jordwatches.com/g/antrieu
Read more about the giveaway details here.
I hope you have found this post helpful and found a glimpse at what and where I’d like to shop. Where do you like to shop? Any tips that you’d like others to know to be a conscious and responsible buyer, please share below! Thanks for reading!