Frugal fashion: how to find the best bargains

frugal fashion

Top from Primark, H&M skirt second-hand on Depop

I’m no fashionista; I am happiest in my jeans and wellies. However, I do have three frugal style guru daughters, who know all the tricks to finding stylish bargains. They are the mistresses of frugal fashion! I also need smart, nice quality clothes for work.

We all refuse to spend a lot of money on clothes. Once you start finding frugal fashion bargains you resent paying full price for anything.

Here are our collective thoughts on frugal fashion.

Best bargain sites

frugal fashion

Puma trainers, boot sale, £5

I just bought three tops from and I am really pleased with them. As you would imagine, they were £5 each. This company sells de-tagged goods from various high street stores. They are amazing value and I have bought several bits of clothing here since I discovered this site.

My daughters also like Look of the Day. Not as cheap as Everything5pounds but still some great bargains. They also have some cracking sales. The deal at the moment is two dresses for £20, but there are a lot of sale items at £5.

Another site they rate is I Saw it First. They also have brilliant sales on with many items for £5 and 25% off everything else currently when you use the code YAY25.

All of these sites feature quite young, figure hugging fashion. So if that’s not your cup or tea, how about the following.


frugal fashion

Top & skirt, both Primark, jacket, Sainsbury’s sale

The majority of my clothes are purchased second-hand. I find endless quality bargains at boot sales and rarely spend more than £1 or £2 per item. Some are actually new with tags – impulse purchases never worn by the previous owner. I have come across lovely items that were originally very expensive from brands such as Monsoon, Phase Eight and Karen Millen, as well as good high street names such as Next, Marks and Spencer and Laura Ashley.

However, as boot sales only run over the summer, charity shops are good too. You need to be prepared to spend more, obviously. I find some of them over-priced these days, though. My daughter pointed out to the staff in one of them that they were charging more for a second hand Primark top than you would currently pay brand new!

Online pre-owned frugal fashion

Most people are aware of eBay as the place to ‘bag a bargain’, but Depop is less well known. This is aimed generally at a younger market. My daughter often looks for a particular item that she has seen at full price in the shops. She says they frequently pop up within just a few months of being bought and she can get them at a fraction of the original price.

Youngest daughter loves Top Shop, but can’t afford their prices on her student income. She makes a mental note of clothes that she loves and makes a beeline for them in the sales. She often finds them at their sale prices. Patience really is a virtue!

Factory shops

Most towns have a factory shop somewhere that sell all kinds of things at great prices, including clothes and shoes. They are worth a peruse. Our local one would definitely attract an older clientele though. You can search for your nearest here.


frugal fashion

Primark boots

I have to mention it! My daughters love Primark, or Primarni as we call it.  The clothing isn’t made to last, but it is a very good place to source frugal fashion bargains. I find it great for basics such as vests and T-shirts and the cheapest place for tights. One of my daughters bought these beautiful boots there for £15. She has had so many compliments. I think they are gorgeous!

If you love a dress or pair of shoes and just cannot wait for a sale, at least use a cash back site such as TopCashback to see if the retailer is on there. One daughter asked me to get her a jacket from Nasty Gal for her birthday, and I got 8% cash back.

What is your go to place for frugal fashion? Do you buy cheaply, or would you rather spend more on quality classics that will last?

Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links. Photos pinched from my daughter’s Instagram account: @makeupbyisobel.

8 thoughts on “Frugal fashion: how to find the best bargains

  1. I definitely go for quality over quantity and tend towards designs that are pretty much timeless. Some of my clothes are ten or fifteen years old. I’m not at all averse to buying from eBay and have had some fab bargains including 2 Betty Jackson items -a jacket for £10 which was still selling in Debenhams for £80, and a Mac for £6 which was on sale just a few months before for £99. I had been coveting it and couldn’t believe my luck! Some years ago I got a pristine Jaeger suit for £20.

  2. Went into a Charity shop which supports my place of work and saw a candle for sale for £1. However, they hadn’t removed the shop price tag which said 99p. So I took it to the checkout and pointed this out to the lady at the till. What did she do? Removed the shop tag! The candle was still sitting there on the shelf a week later.

  3. I always buy good quality but only ever buy in the sales. My waterproof coat was £30 in Joules clearance – but still £139 in John Lewis. These low priced bargains apply to 99% of the clothes and footwear I have. I might be the odd one out but I’ve only ever been in Primark once and the crowds were huge.

  4. It’s fun for your daughers to shop in Primarni, but it doesn’t hurt to explain at an early age that it’s best to save for the best quality you can afford, as quality will last. Sadly a lot of young people simply want fashionable items that will be past their use by date often before a season is ended and the magazines and papers feed this nonsense. I think it helps to teach young people that fashion and style are often two different things. You can be stylish but not wearing what is currently fashionable, or you can be fashionable and look, quite frankly, ridiculous.
    My parents taught me, even though they weren’t well off and clothes, as with everything else, needed ot be saved for and the money spent wisely, that you should always buy the best quality for the items you were going to wear a lot, i.e. shoes and coats, particularly shoes. Of course, in the 1950s when I was a child, there weren’t cheap shoe outlets, there were shops like K Shoes, and Dolcis and Russell & Bromley (where my shoes were bought), so it was a case of buying good shoes. I have my parents to thank for always buying quality shoes and having them fitted so that my feet, even in my 70s, don’t have bunions and crooked toes.
    By all means hunt out bargains and search for good clothes in charity shops and in sales, but I make a plea to educate your daughters in always searching for quality rather than quantity; buy cheap, buy twice. Quality and style will outlive fashion, believe me.
    Margaret P

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