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 joy and 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.
Years ago when I used to live in Minnesota, I 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.
After I moved to Seattle, I quickly learned to let go of the luxury (and stress) of owning too much and not feeling satisfied ever. I learned to shop less and smarter and only add things that make sense to me and my ever-evolving lifestyle.
In my honest opinion, Seattle is not a fashion city, and people are big in thrifting and shop secondhand here. My ex-coworker is an avid thrifter for over twenty years, and he said the reason he started thrifting was because of the high cost of living.
IN-PERSON SHOPS (in Seattle) I FREQUENT:
Nordstrom HQ, downtown Seattle: I love it here, 4 floors, filled with so many designers and luxury goods, and it is the best Nordstrom store in the Pacific Northwest. I especially love their pop-in shops on the third floor where they rotate themes and bring in cool and unique brands.
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 for the summer. I love Lululemon, Aritzia, Anthropologie, Free People, Sephora, Allbirds, and Follain. There is also a gigantic Apple store and many great furniture stores like R&H, Room & Board, Crate & Barrell, and CB2. Not to mention, there are 3 Starbucks, Amazon bookstore, Warby Parker, Din Tai Fung, and free parking!
Bellevue Square: I frequent the UNIQLO store here, and it is better than the South Center location hands down. The Aritzia store here is also much better than any Aritizia store in the area.
Small & local shops:
Prism carries lots of my Instagram favorite shops, Paloma Wool (clothes & shoes), Loq (shoes), Group Partner & Mini_likey (pottery), Machete (jewelry).
Luna Sandals HQ and factory in Queen Anne!
Glasswing (plants, clothes, and home decor)
Pipe & Row: clothing boutique. I love that they carry Paloma Wool and lots of cool and unique trendy pieces
Wayward (I got a chance to talk to the buyer guy and learned 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!)
REI for hiking socks, boots, and hiking gears
- Girlfriend Collective, Lululemon, Outdoor Voices: everything fitness/technical apparel like sports bras, tops, and leggings
- Realisation Par, Reformation: dressy tops and dresses
- SSENSE, Net A Porter, Matches Fashion, Farfetch and Shopbop: designers
- UNIQLO (Uniqlo U & designer collabs), Mango, & Other Stories, ASOS, Massimo Dutti, Everlane: affordable sweat sets, T-shirts, trendy dressy items that I can also dress down
- Organic Basics: sustainable brand and ethically made every day clothes
- Paloma Wool: my favorite brand at the moment when it comes to cool unique and fun sweaters, pants, tops, and accessories
- Anthropologie: fun home decor pieces
- Mejuri (gold vermeil jewelry brand that I’m working with, definitely recommend anyone to invest in them if you like gold jewelry, great quality!)
- Nordgreen: my favorite watch brand at the moment
- Patagonia: I love their jackets, shirts, and hats.
- Backcountry and REI: outdoorsy gears and accessories
STORES I NO LONGER BUY FROM:
- Zara (sales stuff) I no longer buy here, but I still of in occasionally to browse their styling and photography. I love the Zara Home though!
- 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)
- UO (Tshirts, crop tops, & dresses)
5 Tips To Be A Conscious Buyer:
1. SHOP DESIGNERS PAST SEASONS AND ON SALE OR SECOND HAND
Check out TheRealReal for luxury & designer goods second-hand if you prefer to the 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 them 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 has 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 which I will talk about 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 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 is to really take time and think about what I will buy whether I will see myself wearing it in the next years or not, rather than to buy it because it’s on sale. I often stop by the store when there is a 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 them 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 brands) 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 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.
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!