The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Hot Topic: What Was Your Best Bargain EVER?

Funny how this is a blog devoted to the pursuit of fashion bargains, and yet I have never asked you, my dear readers, about your most amazing deal ever. Where ARE my manners? So for today's hot topic, I'd love to hear about the absolute best deal you ever scored. Dish all in the comments!

Oh, and in case you want to hear mine, it was for two pairs of Chanel boots previously owned by Oprah Winfrey that I got for $20ish a pair (and I say $20ish because as all my close friends know, I have a really bad memory, even for super important facts such as this), but I know for certain that they were ridiculously cheap. How did I get them? During my time at Harpo, Oprah held a sale with items from her closet for employees to shop, with all proceeds going to benefit Oprah's Angel Network, a philanthropic organization. I keep the boots safely stowed in my closet, though, cuz I'm too scared to wear them and potentially ruin them! The coolest part is that me and Oprah apparently wear the same size Chanel shoe (40 1/2). Who knew.

So what's your best fashion bargain of all time?

hello. my name is hanna, and i'm a thrift store addict.

i'm cheap by nature and i'm terrible at looking at brands, but probably the best deals have been a pristine j crew strapless dress for $8, a perfectly-worn-in leather jacket for $15, a brand new salmon colored trench for $10... i could go on.
#1 hanna (Homepage) on 2009-04-17 07:05 (Reply)
I too am powerless against the thrift.

Same thrift, 2 different days:

Chanel short-sleeved cashmere sweater:$1.75

Hermes scarf (the large kind): $1.00

Sold them both on eBay because I felt they were too "nice" for me to wear.
#1.1 Lyn on 2009-04-17 08:18 (Reply)
This is the sort of thrift luck I wish I had. I hardly ever do well when I head to thrift stores....
#1.1.1 Sarah (Homepage) on 2009-04-17 08:40 (Reply)
My best bargain ever would probably have to be my Michael Kors dress pants (brand new) that were regulary $130 for $18.99.
#2 Brittney on 2009-04-17 08:14 (Reply)
My big fashion bargain moment was with a French Connection dress - one of the most high quality designer garments I've found to date. I'm typically unimpressed by designer quality; you'd think money could buy you a decent lining and impeccable stitching, but it's often not the case. Anyway, it was a simple, vintage-style spring dress in an amazing shade of bright pink, and I found it in a thrift store while on vacation in North Carolina... in my size... for $15!! The tags were still on it - the original price? $158. My head almost exploded ;-)

#3 Amanda Heironimus (Homepage) on 2009-04-17 08:19 (Reply)
It's hard for me to pick my best deal ever - and my luck with thrifting seems to be hit or miss. :-) But, some of the deals that stand out Juicy terry shorts for $5 at Marshalls, my black leather Tignanello bag that I posted about yesterday $40 at Marshalls. I can find some great deals on kids clothes and I'm always looking for new stuff as my daughter outgrows anything I buy within a few weeks it seems! Bought a lot of girls pants/jeans off ebay some were new with tags (Gymboreee, The Children's Place, Gap) and paid only $1.97 a pair including shipping. Just last week I found the perfect denim jacket for $7 bucks at the Salvation Army, worn enough to look like it's been in my closet for years and just the right proportions, also picked up a pair of white canvas Keds for $2 bucks, not a mark on them!
#4 Jessica on 2009-04-17 08:24 (Reply)
Hmmm, I found a Michael Kors cream cashmere sweater at Filene's Basement for $7.00, originally $150. It was missing a button! I ended up just replacing the ones on them with vintage buttons from a craft shop. I adore the sweater, and I always get compliments on them.

I found a silk BCBG dress (no flaws, no tears) for $10 at Marshall's. Got an Emilio Pucci scarf for $.50 and a Missoni scarf for $1.50, both with tags, at a local Salvation Army.

I guess my favorite bargains are my Frye campus boots, brand new, that I got a couple of weeks ago for $15 at Salvation Army.
#5 Joann on 2009-04-17 08:33 (Reply)
I don't think I've really hit the "bargain" jackpot yet :-( but recently I scored a vintage (late 80's)Versace cotton/spandex flower print dress for $35.00 and last summer I purchased two pairs of Marc Jacobs sunglasses for $100 (they were retailing at luxury department stores for $320 at the time.)
#6 Mee on 2009-04-17 08:37 (Reply)
True Religion jeans (by the bulk) at a rugged warehouse for $5.00 a pop. I spotted a pair from my car while they were having a sidewalk sale and I don't even think I put my car in park. I attacked the rack and bought almost every pair.

Although they all had minor defects, it was nothing a little sewing good old Mama couldn't oh so kindly fix for me :-) I sold a whole bunch on eBay for $100 plus a pair and kept a few for myself. Best shopping experience to date.
#7 Dina on 2009-04-17 08:46 (Reply)
I am addicted to deals and I have too many to list but here are couple of my favorites:

Oscar De La Renta vintage knit dress for $5 (thrift find).

Prada skirt for $10 with orginal price tag of $450 (TJ Maxx).

Peter Som cardigan sweater for $30 with the original Bergdorf tag on it for $989 (TJ Maxx; This one might be my best!!!)

And a Marc Jacobs (not Marc by Marc by Marc Jacobs) dress for $90 with the orginal price of $1,600.00 (TJ again!!)

Thanks for asking ... I love reading about this type of stuff!!!
#8 Erin (Homepage) on 2009-04-17 08:57 (Reply)
The best deal I ever got was one I didn't even know I was getting! :-) Dillards was having a sale and I bought this really great Coach Purse for around $175. (This was a really HUGE splurge for me!) I wore the bag about 5 or 6 times, but realized I wasn't really getting a lot of use out of it so my Dad put it on E-Bay and it sold for $275! I ended up $100 ahead!
#9 Mel on 2009-04-17 09:18 (Reply)
Best deal... Large Gucci Tote for $2 at the Salvation Army!
#10 Lindsey on 2009-04-17 09:24 (Reply)
Well, lets eee. I'm really good at this stuff. I get an amazing deal basically always....

Most recent buys:
1) Vera Wang Cashmere Black Coat -originally
$800 for $30
2) Betsey Johnson Bright Pink dress -was $450
for $40
3) Chetta B -Gorgeous silk dress -was $400
for $20
4)Coach Heart Necklace -was $200 for $25
5)Gucci Handbag- originally $2,600 for $600 (gucci outlet plus additional discounts)

There are many , many more!
#11 Joanna on 2009-04-17 09:27 (Reply)
I'm in awe. And I feel rather proud to have such savvy readers! Love reading these, keep them coming! :-)
#11.1 The Budget Babe on 2009-04-17 09:39 (Reply)
Can I ask where you found the betsey for that price?
#11.2 Peaches on 2009-04-20 22:00 (Reply)
My favorite deal was a skirt I bought years ago from Arden B (before it became sucha mainstream store). It's this lovely white skirt with ebroidery along the bottom edge. I have no idea how much it was originally, but the first mark down price was $110. I got it for $10 because the zipper had come unstitched a little bit. Definitely an easy fix. I also got a cute teal halter from Anthropologie (originally $78) for $9.95 for the same reason.
#12 Erin on 2009-04-17 09:59 (Reply)
I recently found a 1970s Diane von Furstenberg shirt dress for $4. I also found a Tse sweater for $2.
#13 Crystal (Homepage) on 2009-04-17 10:35 (Reply)
Ahhh, such a fun question! And my GOSH I'm astonished by the bargain-hunting prowess of your readership, BB.

My best bargain has to be a brand-new, never worn cropped leather bomber that I thrifted for $6 last fall. That thing was at least $200 new, if not more.
#14 Sal (Homepage) on 2009-04-17 10:48 (Reply)
I got a new Tignanello handbag for $6.00 at a silent auction we had at work to raise money for United Way. This motley crew of co-workers didn't recognise the brand or know it was a good deal.
#15 Patricia on 2009-04-17 10:50 (Reply)
Most clothes I own were deals of some kind (almost always sale or clearance), but the best ones are:

- a really pretty Jak & Rae denim skirt with navy blue piping, original price $200, bought for $20 at Ross

- JBrand 912 brown jeans which go with pretty much everything I own, on sale for $80 (down from $180) at Nordstrom Rack, which are really special because I met my husband while wearing them, and less than a month later we were married! Needless to say they're my Good Luck jeans!

- My ladylike dark brown suede I.N.C. jacket from Macy's, which is a bit cropped and has darling slightly puffed shoulders, originally something like $170 but I got it on clearance for $40. I wear it all the time in cold weather.
#16 Anusha (Homepage) on 2009-04-17 10:59 (Reply)
Haha we are on the same page - I totally was just going to do a post about this exact same thing today. But I'll wait now lol.

The reason I was going to post about it was because of the aqua leather jacket I just featured on my blog... $1080 down to $19!!! Best Deal EVOR!
#17 Wanderlusting (Homepage) on 2009-04-17 11:02 (Reply)
do you mind posting a picture of your boots budget babe?
#18 Catherine on 2009-04-17 11:11 (Reply)
Sure thing, I've uploaded photos of the boots to The Budget Babe's Facebook page, here's a link:

Thanks for asking!
#18.1 The Budget Babe on 2009-04-17 19:47 (Reply)
few days ago i found a serious steal at J.Crew. found these brown suede flats - orig like $150 - got them for $30!! thats my best bargain....for now... ;-)
#19 kari on 2009-04-17 11:48 (Reply)
The only thing I could think while reading this was, "Man, I need to find out where these girls shop!!!" Awesome finds!
#20 Amanda (Homepage) on 2009-04-17 11:55 (Reply)
Like Mee, I know I haven't hit the bargain jackpot yet, reason being that even though I've been a dedicated reader of your blog for some time, I haven't employed recessionomics until recently, mostly because I have no patience for sale bins and rummaging when my size is almost always sold out. My new rule, though, is that I'm not allowed to buy any fashion item unless it's on sale, or I can justify it through cost-per-wear!

That being said, thanks to your post on a Calvin Klein clearance sale some time ago, I found a fantastic lurex blend tank, normally over $100, for $7 (it's since become a staple in my nighttime wardrobe). :-)
#21 Katie on 2009-04-17 11:57 (Reply)
My most prized bargain purchase has to be from a local Boys and Girls club store. It was there I found a lightweight khaki vintage Burberry trench with silver-tone buttons and their signature plaid piping on all the seams (and reversible plaid belt.) I've never seen anything like it, and have no idea how much it cost when it was new!!! The price I paid? $25. :-)
#22 Veronica on 2009-04-17 12:18 (Reply)
Mine was a pair of Dries van Noten black satin sequined pumps for $150 at Nordstrom rack (regularly about $650)

My most recent has been a pair of Habitual high-waisted gray denim jeans that I almost bought at the full price of $200...but they sold out and later I found them on for $70
#23 Jenava (Homepage) on 2009-04-17 12:31 (Reply)
I love getting deals! I have a number of buys that I am proud of. My most recent buy was a near $600 Coach watch which I got on sale for $135. Another good way to get some great buys is with your credit card rewards. I got a $100 gift card to Macy's as a credit card reward. I was able to get a Coach wristlet and chain purse which were both 50% off for combined $70. So I still had $30 left on my gift card, so I got them for free! Love the designer sample sales as well. After recommending my friends and getting credit from their purchases, I was able to get Rich and Skinny jeans for about $40. I love hearing all of these stories. It inspires me to keep bargain hunting!
#24 Melissa on 2009-04-17 12:46 (Reply)
Um, wow, I'm super jealous of the Chanel boots you got...previously owned by Oprah!

I buy most of my designer jeans from ebay, so I've gotten pretty good deals there--most new under $50, including shipping. Other than that, I purchased a vintage Gucci small bowler bag from a vintage store in Houston for $25!
#25 LC on 2009-04-17 13:05 (Reply)
I got a fully lined new Burberry trench coat for $19.99 last summer at my local Goodwill.

I also found a pair of brand new Ralph Lauren pants for $5.00 at my local Salvation Army about a month ago.
#26 Athena (Homepage) on 2009-04-17 13:25 (Reply)
Ooh! And I totally forgot about a pair of Ferragamo black leather flats with a ribbon grosgrain bow and gold hardware at the tip that I got for $6 at a local Goodwill!!
#27 LC on 2009-04-17 13:29 (Reply)
I have been a bargin bin shopper since I was little, I love digging around TJMaxx for hours with my mom. Best deals, Cream Theory double-breasted pea coat for $30 at Marshall Fields (oh how I miss you), second just last week I scored a pair of Marc Jacobs orange cuffed shorts for $44, at Nordstorm's rack, orginally $350! Crazy! Great topic!
#28 Janna on 2009-04-17 14:33 (Reply)
I found a pair of Christian Louboutin cream wedges for $25 at Neiman Marcus Last Call. One shoe is an 8.5 and the other is a 9 so no one would buy them. However, after sticking a Dr. Scholl's into the bigger shoe they both fit perfectly! Normally, they retail for about $400. Best deal everrr!
#29 Cassie Weinman on 2009-04-17 18:18 (Reply)
I love this question:

--Christian Dior pumps $5 thrift
--MaxMara wool pencil skirt $2 thrift
--Moschino wool pencil skirt $2 thrift
--Dries Van Noten vest $2.5 thrift
--Chanel sunglasses down to $110
--brand new Givenchy wool shift for $60 down from $1000
--Dolce and Gabbana $5k suit for $350
--Diesel new wool winter coat $30
--YSL sweater thrift $2
--J Brand jeans $6 thrift; 2 different pairs

I could go on and on. Besides the highest end designers I regularly score the middle like Cacharel and the high street like J Crew thrifting. I won't buy just a random old thing or even Gap b/c I know the jackpot is out there!

And then my retail deals are massive; like $200 Kenneth Cole boots for $35; or $350 Kors Michael Kors pumps or $38.
#30 jess on 2009-04-17 19:03 (Reply)
Gucci pumps for $75 at Neiman Marcus Last call sale. Very Wang wedding dress for $125 at a discount store.Had no plans of getting married at the time I bought the dress, but too good of a deal to pass up!
#31 Zoelicious on 2009-04-17 19:41 (Reply)
A Valentino RTW wear dress for 300.00 (originally 8000.00) and a Valentino Camisole for 88.00 (originally 300.00). Shout out to you for inviting me to Gilt Groupe.

My best thrift find was an Ann Taylor spring dress for 2.00, don't know the original price but I've worn it the past 4 summers and it still doesn't look dated with proper accessories!
#32 kallima on 2009-04-17 21:56 (Reply)
My top three:

1. A Prada bag that retailed for almost $300 (this was some years ago) for only $70. It was on sale and I had a Neiman Marcus employee buy it for me with her discount.

2. A pair of Tory Burch flat slingbacks for $79 on clearance at Nordstrom. Those were originally $289.

3. A pair of suede Christian Louboutin pumps for $70 on eBay.

70 must be my lucky number.
#33 StrawberryGirl on 2009-04-17 22:35 (Reply)
1 ) dries van noten sandals for $17.00 priced at
2) chaiken gun metal silk dress for $14.00
3) karl lagerfield suit $ 8.00
4) trends les copains dress $ 15.00
5) philisophy by alberta ferretti $ 8.00

that's all.
#34 eva on 2009-04-17 22:41 (Reply)

I would have to say my classic monogram LV bag for $90 that retails around $500 at a second handbag shop.

also my classic Chanel bag in perfect condition with original box and dust bag for $200 retail is over $2000 at a different second handbag shop. They wanted to sell us the bag for about $150 more,but my Aunt is a regular, so we got a better deal:)
#35 Ally (Homepage) on 2009-04-18 03:15 (Reply)
OMG, You guys are GREAT at bargain shopping, kudos to you all! I definitely need to know what's the best place to go thrift store shopping so it would be great if you ladies could also mention the city and state where you might have purchased your best bargain. Thnx

Annnnnd :-P my best bargain till date has to be this BCBG kimono style dress I found at TJ Maxx for $15 (normally retailed at $250) found in Westerly, RI :-)
#36 karishma on 2009-04-18 10:59 (Reply)
I once scored 2 pairs of manolo blahnik boots for $20 bucks each. Best. Day. Ever
#37 Colleen on 2009-04-18 12:41 (Reply)
I found a beautiful Louis Vuitton graffiti bag in white with black lettering designed by Stephen Sprouse at a garage sale for $20. I assumed it was fake but the fact that the neighborhood I found it in was pretty affluent and the sheer quality of the purse convinced me to do some investigating. I found a code on the inside and decided to have it authenticated. Turns out it retails for over $1k. Ch-ching!
#38 m.s. on 2009-04-18 12:48 (Reply)
a michael kors dress for $25!
#39 huongface on 2009-04-18 13:30 (Reply)
I got brand new brown leather stilleto Charles David boots, retail price around $200+ for $12 at Marshalls! They were a little bit small but I bought leather spray which you spray on the inside, wear the boots and they gently stretch!

Also, brand new Seven For Humanity jeans, retail $200+ for $30 at TJ Maxx. They were sold out online but I got them for thirty bucks at TJs! Ha!

A $150 dollar designer top for $5 at TJ Maxx as well.

Sometimes you get lucky.... I'm going to try thrift stores! Which ones are best to go to? In better areas, in the cities, salvation armies, I'm new to this :-) But love the hunt!
#40 K-line on 2009-04-18 22:16 (Reply)
Sigerson Morrison red heels, only 30 bucks at a thrift shop! Beautiful, comfy, and worth every.single.penny.
#41 Jamie (Homepage) on 2009-04-19 13:01 (Reply)
I recently found a pair of 7 For All Mankind Dojo jeans on the clearance rack at Tj Maxx for $20. You can bet I headed straight to check-out with those!

Cole Haan flats for $39.99, again, TJ Maxx.

BCBG dress at Sam's Club for $29.99

Kors, Michael Kors flats on ebay for $45.

Coach belt on ebay for $5
#42 sarah on 2009-04-19 22:45 (Reply)
Item: Louis Vuittion Noe bag in black Epi leather

Original Price: $1,300.00

Thrift Price: $200.00

My best conquest ever! The bag is no longer in production in this style, and a real Vuitton is VERY hard to find second-hand. If you're buying Vuitton, be sure the hardware is heavy and strap is durable. Often knock-off styles are flimsy leather and cheaply made. Also, for monogram versions, check to make sure the "LV" lettering is dead-center in the front and back of the bag, and that no "LV" lettering is cropped (real ones are NEVER cropped)! Also note how, and where the embossing and serial # are and look for the "LV" logo on zipper pulls inside the bag. Last but not least, the corners are the first to wear down with authentic LV's, so check to make sure your bag isn't busting a seem versus a bit of wear in the edges.

When thrifting for Vuitton... the real deal is always behind the counter. Most chic thrift stores keep the high-end, authentic designer duds behind the counter. If you're poking around the store and stumble on a Murakami LV bag, don't kid yourself... its most likely a fake.

Also, wheel & deal with the store attendants to get a good price. My bag was going for $250.00, and I argued it was a bit dirty, grommets needed polishing, and interior needed professional cleaning, along with a few bumps and bruises. The attendant was very nice, and gave me tips on how to properly clean the bag, and knocked $50.00.

I ADORE this bag, its bargain price tag, and its very discretely branded logo (not screaming "LV"). Most folks don't know its a Vuitton, let alone a real one. Instead, I get lots of compliments on how "striking" and "distinct" it is.

Best of all, I haven't bought another bag since (more savings $$), and can't wait to pass this down to the next generation of girls in my family! A real treasure!
#43 mr on 2009-04-20 05:32 (Reply)
Thanks for the great thrifting tips, plus how to spot a real LV. I envy your find!
#43.1 The Budget Babe on 2009-04-20 13:07 (Reply)
I had a $25 off 25 promotional discount coupon for Lord & Taylor. In store they were having a huge clearance, and I got Michael Kors dress capris for $23 (and added a Godiva chocolate bar just to use up the card--yes I have no sham). Recently, I found a Edie Rose (Rachel Bilson for DKNY) black knit hooded poncho for $1 at Marshalls--I haven't worn it yet, but it seems really versatile.
#44 Erin A on 2009-04-20 15:16 (Reply)
I just got a Frye sandal (very vintagey looking, originally $215) for $26, and Michael Kors platform heel in tan color --which is so versatile --(originally $195) for $21. Both at Off 5th (Saks 5th outlet) clearance section!! Yeay!
#45 LAgurl1997 on 2009-05-05 17:49 (Reply)
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