12 Insider Shopping Secrets You Need To Know

Attention, shoppers. Put down the AmEx and step away from the cash register.  Before you purchase anything —ever again—read this roundup of tips from style savants like The Man Repeller, Fashionista’s Stephanie Trong, and stylist, Cher Coulter. We guarantee it will save you time, money, and maybe even a regrettable outfit or two.

Like Moses at Mount Sinai, we’re delivering unto the people 10 (okay, 12) vital commandments, starting with, “Thou shalt not buy designer if Zara has a knockoff version.” For more pearls of retail wisdom, read on.

“Some of my favorite basics are men’s tees and cashmere sweaters, like the white tees from A.P.C. and sweaters from Theory in an XS. The cut is more relaxed throughout, and I especially like the looser neckline. I used to borrow from my husband, now I take him out of the equation all together.” Lauren Kanter, PR Director, Shopbop

 Lauren Kanter
“I always stock up on basics like tees, hosiery, and undies in January when prices hit rock bottom. I also search for big ticket fashion items I have been coveting all season on Polyvore around then too, because I know that if they are still out there, they will be drastically marked down. Zara has a killer selection of accessories, especially shoes, but they are hidden throughout the store. Their website has a much better selection.” –Sarah Conly, Senior Market Editor, Cosmopolitan
Sarah Conly
“I’m obsessed with Topshop’s Gwenda Leather Court Shoes ($95). They’re perfect, simple, comfortable, affordable pointy pumps, and they have basic versions, like black suede, as well as seasonal colors and prints. They’re very similar to the Manolo BB, but at a fraction of the price. They’re my secret weapon.” -Hillary Kerr, Co-Founder, Who What Wear
Hillary Kerr
“First of all, use Hukkster. I’ve found it’s the most reliable when it comes to sales alerts. Also, sign up for the email list at every store you like. Not only do most sites give a certain percentage off your first purchase, but they also keep track of how often you shop and will sometimes send you special, targeted promos to lure you back. And it seems obvious, but use those “notify me when back in stock” requests. If there’s no such notification option, just bookmark your obsession and check back at least once a day to see if anyone has made a return. Another good tip: If something is long gone on Net-a-Porter’s U.S. site, check the international version, which has different stock. If they have it, simply write customer service, and they will drop it in your bag for 24 hours to buy (of course, you have to shell out extra for duties). Similarly, I’ve had great luck with the Barneys and Saks Fifth Avenue web support teams in terms of tracking down sold-out items. And totally unrelated, but good to know, places like Sears, Walmart, and Payless have the best stripped down, logo-free canvas sneakers (slip-on and lace-up).” Stephanie Trong, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Fashionista
Stephanie Trong
”Recently I’ve taken a very serious liking to mid-rise straight leg jeans and find that all women’s versions are too perfect. So I’ve been buying men’s pants in a size 28 (if they make them) or 29. That way, they evince the perfect high-ish waist cut and fall on my legs exactly the way I want them to. Sometimes I’ll cut them at the ankle to turn them into cropped jeans or just fold them in. If I’m wearing heels, I’ll just leave them as they are and let them fall however they want below my heel.”- Leandra Medine, Founder, The Man Repeller
The Man Repeller
“Read those promo emails in your inbox—that additional 20% or 30% off can really make a difference! I also like Theoutnet.com for shoes; last season is next season, in my opinion, and I’ve found the best surprises for sandals and heels on the site.” – Laurie Trott, Fashion Director, Who What Wear
Laurie Trott
“I shop GapKids and CrewCuts for boys jackets—especially of the army and peacoat variety—as well as t-shirts and sweatpants (and I’m not a petite person). I also never buy anything at J.Crew until checking the website for a couple of days in a row—there is almost always some kind of 25% off deal.” – Britt Aboutaleb, Editorial Director, Byrdie
Britt Aboutaleb
“Spend money on nice t-shirts. Just because they’re “basics” doesn’t mean you should skimp on underthings. You wear them all the time! James Perse t-shirts are flattering in the all the best, subtle ways, and really cozy…which is important since it’s the only thing guarding you from your scratchy wool sweater. I probably have 30 James Perse t-shirts in white, black, and navy.” – Nick Axelrod, Co-Founder & Editorial Director, Into the Gloss
Nick Axelrod

“For white button-down shirts that I can wear every day (and discard when they start looking threadbare) I go to Muji. The button-downs are 100% cotton and under $50. I buy in bulk, wear for a season, and replenish. When holiday shopping, I like give everyone versions of the same thing. This year, all of the women in my life are getting personalized Clare Vivier pouches—everyone gets the same cute pouch in a different color with her name in gold on it. I also love the idea of giving all of my girlfriends tiny gold Sarah Chloe rings with their monograms or names engraved. That way everyone feels like I took time to think of them—I did!—but I didn’t have to run all around town doing so.” –Jane Herman Bishop, Co-Founder, Jean Stories

 Jane Bishop
“Join and interact with the social networks of your favorite online shops.  You’ll find exclusive deals, contests, and promotions via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Polyvore in thanks for your support.”- Brooke Taylor Corcia, Founder, The Dreslyn
Brooke Taylor Corcia
“I’m a huge fan of online shopping, especially for myself. Farfetch.com is my current favorite. It gives you the opportunity to shop all over the globe without spending money on airfare. Theoutnet.com is great, too. It offers designer fashion a season behind and that’s the best time to get it, when the buzz has died down. You feel confident knowing that what you’re buying and wearing will work for years to come.”- Cher Coulter, Stylist
Cher Coulter

“This sounds a little crazy but trust me: I have recently discovered and fallen in love with lifts. As in the small wedge inserts short dudes (ahem, Tom Cruise) put in their shoes to make themselves appear taller (also popular among senior citizens with hip issues.) You know how everybody loves those sneaker wedges because they’re crazy comfy but still give your legs a little length? Well lifts make every pair of sneakers (or boots! or flats!) like those sneaker wedges. They’re super comfy and no one can tell you’re wearing them, but all of a sudden you’re two inches taller! For someone who has always dreamed of being exactly two inches taller, they are a godsend!” – Hayley Phelan, Fashion Features Editor, Lucky

 hayley phelan

December 4, 2013. December.

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