When Frugal Meets Fashionable

When Frugal Meets Fashionable
Finding the perfect fit doesn't have to mean a bank-breaking charge. One local woman offers advice on how you can get the designer deals she uses to fill her wardrobe.

We all want the designer look without the designer price. Smart shopper Nicole Hopper has cracked the code to unlocking deals and steals on fashions, and she's passing her secrets on to you.

Hopper isn't a professional personal shopper, but she has gained her expertise by being a volunteer personal shopper for her friends and family. She has saved them money, which is one reason why she doesn’t want to go pro. Charging money for her services would cancel out her cost-effective methods. But that doesn't stop her from lending a helping hint.


"Being a smart shopper enables me to have the things that I want in life without breaking the bank," Hopper says. "I feel like, because I take the time to clip the coupons and search the deal, it can afford me the luxuries that a lot of other people perhaps couldn't afford." So for a look that makes you feel good without the guilt of charging another expensive purchase to your account, follow Hopper's advice on being a fashionable frugalista.


Know What You Want


Hopper "specializes" in designer jeans. "I've gotten really good at knowing my brands and knowing how they fit differently for different people," she says. No matter how perfect the fit, however, the price of high-end jeans generally is far from perfection, so Hopper looks to the Internet to make that $300 price tag go down to $39.99, she says.


Before heading to a computer, though, Hopper shares the key to her shopping savvy: know exactly what you want. Go into a high-end jeans store and find exactly what you want. Narrow your selection down to one or two specific pairs of jeans.


Once you've selected your objects of affection, mark down all of the information you can find about those jeans — style code, color code, name, brand, everything, Hopper says. (Note: this process can be applied to clothes outside the denim realm.) The more specific you are in what you're looking for, generally the easier it will be to find.


Start Specific and Pull Back


After she has the product information in-hand, Hopper will head to eBay. While she uses other sites to find discounted items, Hopper generally uses eBay for more specific pieces.


She plugs in the information she has to see how the specific item description has been phrased. The more descriptive products generally have a higher price tag because everyone looks at them, Hopper says. So she pulls her search back out and puts in a more vague description. "That's how typically I will get the better deals is if they're described by somebody who, for lack of a better phrase, doesn't really know what they're doing, doesn't really know how to list items, doesn't really have a lot of experience online," Hopper says.


Other Helpful Hints


Besides eBay, Hopper looks for deals on, Land's End Overstocks and, though she doesn't look to Amazon for fashion finds. She also gets great deals with Gap. "I don't have many credit cards but Gap is one that is forever offering specials. They forever offer free shipping and 25 percent off, and they're pretty much giving their stuff away anymore," Hopper says.


For deals in general, Hopper finds coupon codes before she ever makes an online purchase. She will plug in the retailer's name and "coupon code" into Google, and more often than not, she receives some sort of discount, from 20 percent off to free shipping. "The chances of you getting a coupon code for a retailer online is very high. So everybody should do that. Everybody should know about that," she says.


Photographer: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Model: Beth Berry, New View Model
Makeup: Trina Paul, Nordstrom
Location: The McAlpin

Linda Palacios -

Linda Palacios is the editor of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

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