How To Shop Smarter: 6 Tips Every Girl Should Know

Want to improve your wardrobe without maxing out your wallet? 

(( Then you're in luck ))!

We've tapped BCBG apparel designer, Sara Nielsen, and asked her to share some shopping tips & tricks, for this week's SOLO Storyteller feature! 


- By Sara Nielsen

Working in the apparel industry for the past three years has truly been an eye opening experience and has completely changed the way I feel about shopping!

...Here's what I've learned...

  1. Do not (or try to avoid) shopping at outlet stores. The majority of companies do not actually produce these clothes. They use a cheaper factory (typically overseas) that use cheaper fabrics (quality is worse) and then slap a label on them. Moral of the story: you're paying for a brand name- NOT the quality associated with it. 

  2. If you live in Los Angeles or New York, take advantage of sample sales! Buyer beware: sometimes there are damaged samples. However, the majority of the samples are garments that came in 3 shades lighter than what the creative director wanted- so the styles were re-ordered. Of course the average sample sale customer buying this dress will have no idea that it was intentionally supposed to be deep royal blue instead of light blue mist.

  3. Shop for staples. Neutral colors are always best because you can wear them more regularly. While brighter colors and loud abstract prints are unique, they can be harder to mix and match, and you may not feel that you can wear them as much. It's good to have both items but if you're looking to revamp your closet, neutral colored tops and bottoms are where to start

  4. Find your favorite fit of pants and stick to it. No need to constantly find a new brand of jeans/leggings. I discovered Rag & Bone 3 years ago- and I love the way they fit my body. I have slowly re-built my jeans/leggings collection and now I'm set with styles that I love.

  5. Pay attention to fabrics and get to know what you're paying for. If something was made in the US or they are using fabrics like tencel or modal (both organic fibers), you can expect to pay a little more and get a more quality product.

  6. Avoid places like H&M, Forever 21 and Zara. Zara is a little better but some of their stuff is overpriced for what it is. You get what you pay for with Forever 21 and HM. Instead of buying a bunch of really cheap stuff, splurge on a few good pieces that'll be in your closet for years.

...And finally...

What I think every girl should have in her closet: a pair of black skinny jeans, a 'go to' neutral jacket that can be dressed up or down (olive green, black, taupe, or white), a pair of neutral colored suede or leather booties, and a collection of basic tees (personal favs: Jcrew and Aritzia's brand-Wilfred)


Sara Nielsen, 26, lives in Santa Monica, CA, and is a technical designer for BCBG in downtown Los Angeles.

What she can't live without: her husband, family, friends, white pizza +  of course...Pinot Noir!

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