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Shopping secrets the insiders don’t tell you

Amanda Mok of Fashionide
Fashion Season Shopping
13 June 2012

Ever wondered how some women manage to snag those to-die-for pieces from the runway before they hit stores? Or how they come across all these branded, expensive stuff when you very well know they don’t have high-paying jobs?

The answer: She could be an insider — a fashion-savvy consumer who’s there at a new launch, a spectacular sale, or a unique find before anyone else. So how does she do it?

Private sales
The really good ones where items are sold at 80 percent off are never announced to the public. Your only hope is to network — so start making friends with fashion writers, journalists, bloggers, stylists and tai-tais on the off-chance they’ll consider you their plus one.

But for the really private sales — where brand-new Jimmy Choos can go for $250 —  you can forget about being a plus one; nothing short of a namecard and a personal invitation will get you in.

Who knows? If you’re nice enough, an insider might send you images of the things she thinks you’ll like while she’s there. So keep your phone close and prepare yourself to make fast but wise buying decisions.

The sales are in-store
Designer brands never, ever put out garish sale signs that announce “30% off”. That’s because they don’t have to. A discreet one inside is enough, because they know the kind of buyers it’ll reel in to the store.

Yes, it can be a little intimidating. But just dress up, square your shoulders, and walk in like you belong there. Confidence is key. Tip: Be extra sweet to the sales assistants — they might just give you little hints as to when the sale season starts.

Same but different
A dress that looks like a thousand bucks and came straight off the runway doesn’t necessarily have to cost much. Go to a high-street label — you can expect them to be right on-trend, with “it” clothes and accessories for a fraction of the price.

Oh, the wonders and treasures that can be found on Ebay. Nothing impresses other insiders more than seeing someone wear a standout piece that she wasn’t able to get her hands on.

Be on the lookout for second-hand designer pieces in good condition or quirky items that catch your eye. You’d want to complement what’s already in your wardrobe, after all.

My best trawl off Ebay is a pair of vintage satin Yves Saint Laurent heels for less than $150, shipping from U.S. included. It’s true!

Buy, show off, then sell
You can change your bag every day, and match a new one every so often with your outfit. How? Just buy a bag, flaunt it for a bit, and then sell it. Repeat this cycle as often as you wish (or as your budget allows).

For this to work, buy classics like the Louis Vuitton Monogram Speedy, the Chanel Classic 2.55 Quilted, or the Quilted Patent Lady Dior. What you’re aiming for are bags with a big pool of potential buyers and a high resale value, so that when you get tired of it, you can sell it and move on to acquire another one with ease.

Guest blogger Amanda Mok of Fashionide has one foot in the swirly, glitzy universe that is fashion, the other firmly planted in reality. She has been nicknamed the barefoot fashionista because while she always has an eye out for that perfect pair of killer stilettos, she would much rather pad around barefoot.

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