Wednesday 8th February 2023
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What is the best bargain you ever scored?

Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 4.16.49 PM

Since we’re on the topic of steals this week: mine was a Missoni space-dye dress—not unlike this one, but not entirely like it, either—marked down 75% at a Nordstrom (I think) in Baltimore, 2005. And you?

Posted on March 27th, 2018 88 Comments

88 Responses

  1. c.w. says:

    Neiman Marcus Last Call

    Saint Laurent black penny loafers with silver spikes on the upper portion––there’s a photo of them on my Instagram page.

    Originally priced at $1,095. I paid $200. (last spring)


  2. Caryn says:

    A black Theory blazer (brand-new, tags still on) for $30 at Beacon’s Closet in Brooklyn during a visit to NYC back in the mid-2000’s. It’s still one of my favorite items of clothing, even though the elbows are getting a little shiny…

    • happyday says:

      The theory blowout sample sales at Clothingline always have theory jacketd that are $50 or less, subscribe to their newsletter or follow them on Instagram and I think you will have a new $30 jacket this year 😃. There are services that will shop the sample dales for you & mail to you

  3. Robyn says:

    About 15 years ago at the now-dead Filene’s Basement in Washington, DC: A ruby red Italian satin sheath from Barney’s NY marked down from $600 to something like 40 bucks? It’s beautifully made, well-cut, and so flattering. I still have it.

  4. LeighTX says:

    Banana Republic, lined wide-legged pants, had been $98 and I bought them for $10 while I was hugely pregnant (and so couldn’t try them on). Once I was no longer pregnant they fit beautifully and I wore them to work for YEARS until I managed to stain the front of one leg irreparably.

  5. Katherine says:

    Missoni space dye dress but short and with cap sleeves in 2000 at the Goodwill for $6!! I wore it for a few years but it never really looked that good on me so I gave it to a skinnier friend who admired it.

  6. Aileen says:

    I once found a Max Azria dress marked down from 400 to 19 dollars. It is a red silk slip dress but with a wool thread plaid running on top of it. I love it a lot, and though I bought it in 2001, I still think it manages to be pretty fashionable.

  7. kiki says:

    A black wool Saint Laurent peacoat with leather trim. Marked down from like $2,800 to $70 at Nordstrom Rack

  8. y says:

    A turquoise knee-length Moncler parka for $20 in pristine condition. I got so many compliments on it, and it’s lasted for a good ten years. I would totally save up for a full-priced new Moncler based on the warmth and longevity of that one.

  9. Mieke says:

    Pierre Cardin black wool & metal “necklace” mini dress from 1968. I got it 30 years ago at the Salvation Army in Lawrence KS. I hesitated over the $10 price as it was the week’s grocery money for me as a student. Last year, I almost shrieked to see it in the “ParisRefashioned” show at the museum at FIT. I’m not sure what it’s worth now-$2,000, $,3000?

  10. Tara says:

    A Burberry trench for $10 at a thrift store in La Grange, Texas. I almost walked right by, assuming it was a knockoff.

  11. Lorraine Mahoney says:

    An authentic 60’s Pucci bucket bag at a goodwill in upstate NY. Sold it for $2000 sight unseen to a shop in California. This was before the internet, wonder what I could get for it now!

  12. Heather says:

    These stories are AMAZING. I’ve never found anything this good. (I do have a Pucci shirt I got at a thrift store for $5 but I’m not in absolute love with it, so not sure it counts.)

  13. Gables girl says:

    Pucci scarf for $5 in a clothing bin at a consignment store in Birmingham, Al. With Neiman Marcus tags–$200+. And a YSL t-strap shoes from the 70’s for $40. I still wear them 15 years later.

  14. Christine says:

    The original Filene’s Basement in downtown Boston was amazing, especially when it (sadly) closed its doors forever. I got an Akris jacket, originally marked at around $4000 for less than a hundred. I eventually sold it at the Real Real. A few weeks ago I found a Jill Sander dress, tags on, $3100, at a charity shop in Houston marked down to about $100. But that’s Houston for you!

    • tara says:

      Note to self – when in Houston go to charity shops!

      • Anita says:

        Butting in here – I haven’t lived in Houston for 20 years but I know the Dunlavy Guild Shop is still going strong. A great place to treasure hunt!

  15. Alexandra says:

    I took my dad shopping for shoes at a Marshall’s 10 minutes before closing one night and an employee was unpacking a box and putting out some items. I looked over and SCORE current season Vince black suede leggings ($990 on Neiman Marcus) for $79.99 and Vince current season leather moto jacket ($1300 on Neiman Marcus) for $149.99…. LOVE THEM

  16. Teresa says:

    Max Mara wool/cashmere peacoat for $14.99 at a thrift store.

  17. Lisa says:

    Two-tone green Prada heels, $200 at a Neiman’s outlet in the early 2000s. I always wore them for public speaking, because they were my “don’t fuck with me” shoes.

  18. Andrea says:

    2 huge Cire Trudon candles with the $450 Bergdorf Goodman tags on them (that’s $450 for a large candle), for $15 each, at the Jeremy’s closing sale. Jeremy’s was a Bay Area treasure trove and I was heartbroken when it closed.

  19. y.k. says:

    a plain brown sweater coat by Tehen, bought when they closed their Prince st. location in the early 90s -$75 , down from $350. I remember wishing it had a wider collar at the time but I’ve grown to really like the simple design.
    I’m looking forward to asking my mom this question. She has the patience for an afternoon at Century 21 so she’s made some nice finds.

  20. Ita Darling says:

    Oh. So many to choose from! I used to source and sell vintage on EBay heavily and always digging through thrift stores.. I found some gems for myself and sold so much!

    My favorites:
    I got a red Bottega Venetta woven leather hobo bag from a consignment shop in Amsterdam about 7 years ago for €150. Still a classic!

    Also a Marc Jacobs mainline silk skirt originally $850 for $50 at a Neiman outlet in Houston.

    I guess biggest all time score some 50s Levi’s for .25¢ that I sold for $3200

  21. Tammy says:

    I got a never-worn eggplant purple patent leather Tod’s loafers at a consignment shop for $50. Retail price was $595.

  22. Christiana says:

    Lined black-leather belted trenchcoat from Spain for $17 at a thrift store. I wore that thing into the ground.

  23. happyday says:

    Um- for sure my $0.01 finds at Nordstrom Rack when their app still worked two years ago. I walked out with a Marchesa Notte dress for a $0.01 which my niece just wore to prom. I have a ton of designer sunglasses (Dior, Celine) for a $0.01. My two most worn finds are a pait of rag & bone boots and a pair of aquatalias which got me through this winter- both bought fir a $0.01. *sigh* the good old app days

    • Heather says:

      Seriously, $0.01? Did you have to buy something else at full price?

      • happyday says:

        No- google Nordstrom Rack penny finds- there are whole haul videos of this. Its harder now but not impossible – just keep an eye out.

        • Kristen says:

          I found Jimmy Choo high heel sandals that were marked $249, but rang up as .01 and the SA at NR had the gall to ask the manager if she could sell them to me for that price. I said in my head “honey don’t you know how this works?!” Never found the .01 online though. Lucky you!

          • mlinky says:

            I picked up an Elizabeth & James silk blouse at Nordie’s Rack for .01. It was the first time that I had something ring up that way. Totally thrilling.

  24. vishy says:

    As a penny strapped student back on 1990, and being very new to a colder climate, I was hard pressed to find a coat in a hurry. I came across some little no-name thrift store in Broken Arrow OK, where there was a beautiful royal blue bat wing long wool coat marked for $8. I don’t even remember the brand. I hesitated because that was a TON of money for me. But the store was having a drawing for discounts that day and I drew 50% off my purchase. That’s the best and coziest $4 I ever spent in my life! When I left school 2 years later, It was too big and heavy to pack, so I left that coat hanging in the closet for the next poor cash-poor student to find. I often wonder where it went on it’s journey. 🙂

  25. Heather says:

    A navy blue cashmere ankle Dior wrap coat from Goodwill for $40. It’s so wonderfully warm and cozy, if a bit “rich ‘80s lady executive’ in it’s styling. I only wear it during The few non- rainy cold snap we get in Portland, OR, but it makes me feel fabulous!

    • JP says:

      Portlander here, too! I almost wish there were more non-rainy cold days just so I could wear winter coats more often. Yours sounds fantastic!

      • Elizabeth says:

        I practically live for the 5 days each winter when I can bring out the shearling that I bought when I lived in NYC

  26. kj says:

    A Tumi tote bag (very similar to the M-tote from the Voyageur collection) at TJ Maxx for $18.

    A new pair of nude Stuart Weitzman pumps at a thrift store for $8.

  27. tara says:

    I had been obsessing over silver python and cork Alaia sandals for years and finally found a pair(never worn outside) on Ebay. Because I had a gift card I only paid the $14 for shipping (they were originally 1200 I think).

  28. Mimi says:

    I bought a pair of wool pants from the Tibi online sample sale yesterday – 70% off. I have them in another color (from the Outnet) so the final sale didn’t scare me. I’ll define best bargain as the score I loved most and/or wore the longest. A $2000 Ralph Lauren acid green shearling jaccket, found NWT on eBay for 70% off. A Dries Van Noten Spring 2016 runway dress from Yoox that was originally $1500. I paid $224, and there was only one.
    A Mary Katrantzou silk jersey dress from Vente Privee, a defunct Amazon designer discount site. Got it for 65% off. I love the Italian/Haitian designer Stella Jean and found two of her dresses on Yoox a few years ago at 75% off. It’s such a thrill to find something rare and wonderful that I’d never pay full price for.

  29. joannawnyc says:

    Best thrift store finds: Burberry raincoat, Prada loafers

    Online, I’ve done well on occasion with NM Last Call with dresses and rarely, Anthro for random things.

  30. Jaimie E says:

    Manolo Blahnik peau de soie slingbacks for $15 at a junk shop in Duluth GA. Leopard print LV scarf for $60 at a consignment shop in Memphis. Also a black Armani suit and another Armani jacket at the same shop. That place is the bomb.

  31. Nicole says:

    Oh, these are all so fantastic! I love a poll!!

    Me: Delman ballet flats, Filene’s Basement, Boston, 1998. $16. I wore them until they met their demise in a rainstorm (2005).

  32. Mary Alice says:

    $1400 Burberry trench scored for $150 at a thrift store, pristine condition.

  33. Jamie says:

    I love reading all of these!

    One of the best finds I’ve had is a Karl Lagerfeld grey dress from the 80s that I wear as a jacket, for $20 at a consignment shop. I love that thing! I wear it a few times a year, in fall, over black skinny pants and my Rome boots (also a great deal, $30 for leather boots in Rome, wear them constantly and have had to have them resoled a bunch of times)

    More recently, I’ve spent some time and money at Lord & Taylor at Old Orchard in Skokie IL (north of Chicago), which is closing—80% off! I’ve bought a bunch of $200-$300 dresses for $17-$30. And I scored a great pair of suede booties for $15 (originally $250) last week!

  34. kb says:

    Fun reading about everyone’s finds!

    Had to respond to Kim’s query, because I was so tickled with this purchase — even though the dress is long gone, I’ve kept the sales tag for over a decade: a Max Mara Studio LBD for $118, marked down to $69, then $48, then $27, then $18, which is what I paid 🙂

  35. Jill says:

    My mom, who just passed away last month, was known as the “Loehman’s bloodhound” for her skill at finding amazing deals.

    The best thing she ever found — rolled up in a ball in the back room was an Oscar de la Renta runway sample evening gown with a very complicated top which she was able to figure out. It was $49 and fit me like a glove — I must have worn it 10 times. Might be the most beautiful dress i will ever own.

  36. Emma says:

    Recently, I bought an embroidered Erdem sweater that was seemingly never worn at a Salvation Army for $1.89. A few months ago I bought a vintage Barney’s house dress from the late ’50s for $20 at another thrift store. I’ll be wearing it to Easter mass this year.

    Another sort of bargain I scored: I bought an old LL Bean toggle red wool coat at a consignment store for pennies years ago and wore it into the ground. My mother saw me wearing the coat and insisted that I get a new one and said she’d pay for it. We went to an LL Bean nearby and were buying the new coat, and my mom said to the cashier that she was so happy now I’d finally stop wearing my hideous old LL Bean coat. The employee said that she hadn’t realized we were buying a replacement coat, and because of their lifetime warranty, I could just trade in my old ratty coat for the new one free of charge. I didn’t share that I’d bought the coat on consignment for a few dollars. EEK!

  37. Cory says:

    Good old Loehmann’s! My favorite bargain comes from there – a knee-length black wool Moschino coat with three dimensional red velvet poppies that snapped onto piping of dark green stems. Circa 1998 and I think it was $75 marked down from $600… I get compliments every time I wear it, still one of my most prized possessions.

  38. Jane Girod says:

    A Norma Kamali soft grey cashmere cocoon sweater for $20. It had been run over by a rolling rack or something and had a big grease smear on it that I got out with Dawn dish soap!

  39. tamara says:

    a helmut lang leather motorcyle “boyfriend” vest originally $1550 i paid $325 :)))

  40. Emily M. says:

    I bought a Tumi rolling bag at a Good Will for $6. The retail price was over $800.

    I am a public defender, so looking court-appropriate on a tight budget is a critical part of my job. That Tumi bag really does it for me.

  41. Mae says:

    A black tropical weight wool Calvin Klein sheath, originally $900, for $300 on sale at Nordstrom, which I wore once a week to work for at least 10 years. It fit me perfectly, hit the exact right spot mid-knee and made me feel fabulous.

  42. suz says:

    Outlet shopping, it’s two finds. First, a Betsey Johnson original punk label rayon black asymmetrical top that I wore in the 1980s in highschool – found at a real deal NY warehouse outlet for $8.I wore that to death, it went with everything and never looked old. Second, an Anna Sui Dress, the blue pattern 40s style Christian Bernard print dress(Spring 1995). I coveted it as a poor 20something – I got it at Daffys midtown(ish) NYC for $25. I still have it.

    My two finds that made me smile the most were thrifted – A 60’s era Leonard of Paris sheer silk jersey geo patterned top which fits perfectly and is the happiest garment ever, and a pucci scarf that was very rare (which I wound up selling to Pucci’s granddaughter) Both were beautiful and cost me under $5.

  43. Kristen says:

    The Balenciaga Cristobal Trench which looks like it has wings for under $600. It retailed at $2500. The Isabel Marant Pintuck long sleeve $1200 dress I found for $30 at Nordstrom Rack. It was $60, but they were having half off dresses. The last item was Jimmy Choo gold high heels that were marked $249, but rang up as a unicorn .01. That I won’t forget ever.

  44. Alison says:

    A beautiful DvF dress in a perfect curve-hugging silhouette and hot red color. I had seen it in Elle or Harper’s or somewhere and LOVED it. Even though it was only around $350 it was way out of my nonprofit budget. Fast forward to LuckyShops (I want to say 2005?). A newspaper article on the upcoming event featured my beloved DvF dress and promised it would be available at LS, but no specifics were given. I scoured every booth until I found one that had a hodgepodge of designer goods and after some digging, I found THE DRESS. Just one. In my size! It didn’t have a price tag. I asked one of the shop attendants and she shrugged and said “how about $50?” Sold!

    Still have it, still love it!

  45. Aline says:

    10-15 years ago, I bought a Marc Cross box purse at a consignment store for $10. I loved the shape and put it on a shelf until last year when I trotted it out along side those wearing the new $2000 ones.

  46. Nicole says:

    A python clutch bag snagged from a charity shop for 2£ about 15 years ago. Close second — a beautiful wool blanket made in Nova Scotia that I found at the Big Chicken in Maine. True finds, both!

  47. Caroline says:

    I worked the communal dressing room for a few summers during college.
    It was a hoot. also happily scooped up the good stuff.
    Or at least my 19 year old idea of it.
    Best find was a vintage shotts leather flight jacket for $15 from Domseys In Williamsburg. Gave it to my very cute no good boyfriend at the time.
    Also the Gucci wrap skirt I scored at century 21 in the late nineties. Still wear it.
    But my most beloved clothes score was a pair of custom leather pants that I bartered for ! I never could have afforded those back in the day!

  48. Rosie says:

    (1) A vintage DVF wrap dress at a ‘frock swap’ event (so cost me nothing really).
    (2) A black Burberry raincoat for 15 euro in the local charity shop (had to get new buttons and buckle, so cost me about 50 euro in all).
    (3) A Dries van Noten waistcoat for 7 euro – also a charity shop find.

  49. Jenny says:

    At a sale last summer, I bought a new Missoni sweater skirt I love last summer for $15 bucks and a Jason Wu silk skirt I gave to my sister for $20. My favorite might be the day we wandered into the Zappos outlet (when that was a thing) and the Zappos employee asked us if we were there for Stuart Weitzman day. We weren’t, but all SW shoes in the outlet were $40. I got a black pair and a red pair and they’ve been go to dress up shoes since.

  50. Mimi says:

    Kim, this thread inspired a different question for the group: What was the thing that got away, the one you wish you had bought but didn’t? And in retrospect, would it have been a great purchase or a mistake?

    • Jamie says:

      I love this question and have a few!

      One that haunts me the most was at a consignment shop on the Upper East Side—a floor length fitted cashmere Helmut Lang sweater dress for $100. I did not buy it. I should have. It fit me like a glove and was long enough for me (arms and length) (I’m 6 feet tall, so it’s rare to find things long enough). I debated it for a while. I had no place to wear it, so I didn’t buy it, and I regret that decision to this day.

      *there have been many occasions since then where the dress would have been PERFECT.

  51. Alyssa says:

    95 cent Prada dress, bought at a super-secret thrift store in Jersey. (I could take you there, but I would have to blindfold you.)

  52. sk says:

    Favorite thread ever. Having been an avid thrifter since the mid-1980s (and later an e-bay vintage seller), I have so many good finds I could go on about. Some highlights:
    -A 1960s Pucci silk mini dress in blue and purple/multi-color silk with the black beaded belt intact for $6.00 at a St Vincent de Paul store (similar dresses go for $1500-$2000+ online these days)
    -A vintage 60s gold East West jacket in like-new condition for $20 from a San Francisco vintage store (this one but in gold: (these go for ~$1500-$5000+)
    -A 1970s Yves St Laurent silk black & white polka dot corset dress for $5.00 at a Chicago Unique Thrift store (doesn’t fit me but I’m still holding on to it, will sell someday)
    -A vintage Halston one-shoulder gown similar to this one, for $10: (sadly I sold it though it fit me perfectly)
    And so many others. I will be a life-long thrifter and designer bargain hunter, love the thrill of the chase and the score!

  53. Tammy says:

    I used to find all kinds of treasures at the Salvation Army I lived near about 10 years ago… I can’t say these were the “best” finds because they weren’t my size, but you can bet I bought them anyway and gifted them to other people!

    Pristine white Celine loafers with electric blue soles
    Patent leather YSL slingback cork wedges, also looked never worn
    Vintage silk Dior scarf for pennies

    I can’t remember what either of them cost, but they were a pittance in comparison to retail. Maaaybe the YSL were $20, which was enough to make me hesitate back then (ha!). Ah, it was the kind of luck I’ll probably never come across again.

  54. Marilyn says:

    Found a gorgeous Chanel navy blue boucle’ jacket for $6.99 at a suburban thrift store. This was about 10 years ago, when thrifts were not as hip to designer labels as they are now. Too small for me, but I just take it out from time to time to admire its construction and beauty.

  55. Lee says:

    Years ago I was visiting New York and stumbled upon a long line that turned out to be a Jimmy Choo sample sale. I got an amazing pair of knee high black boots that were marked down from $1200 to $75 because they had been worn on a runway. Sometimes it’s an advantage to be 5’10” with size 10 feet, even though I don’t usually fit sample sizes in clothes. I also had great luck with shoes at the outlets when I was living in Hong Kong, including a pair of Christian Louboutain sandals for 90% off. There was much less competition for the large sizes.

  56. Shirliey says:

    Brand new Issey Miyake asymmetrical backpack for $1 at the bottom of a bin at a thrift store in Seattle 15 years ago. To this day, it still looks new! It’s perfect for travel. Fits a guidebook and water bottle yet is not bulky at all!

  57. J says:

    Two amazing steals that stick out… a beautiful black shearling Vince bomber jacket, regularly priced at $2000- that I found at their outlet store for $350-
    I also found a gorgeous black Burberry trench, with classic plaid piping for $60- at a consignment store. It was priced at $1450- on their website. It was real, not a knock-off 🙂
    After 10 years of retail, I can’t stand paying full price for anything but comfortable shoes and “fancy” handbags.

  58. Allison says:

    DVF leather bomber with zip off sleeves to short sleeve and vest. $50 a few years ago at a sample sale. And a leather Veronica Beard Dickey for $10 a few weeks ago. And Paige jeans for a penny at bloomies – I paid cash.

  59. mlinky says:

    Amazon shoes (formerly 6pm and Zappos) has a real outlet near me. When shoes are returned, they just put them in the outlet store. This has led to my purchase of beautiful Robert Clergerie platform pumps for $35, Stuart Weitzman 50/50 boots for $40, and an oddity, a Zojirushi bread machine for $25.

  60. tara says:

    And where is this magical shoe outlet near you? I’m guessing Vegas?

    • kj says:

      I don’t know where mlinky lives, but there is one just south of Louisville, KY where excellent deals abound. On my last trip there, I got Sam Edelman flat booties for $20 and Frye riding boots for under $100.

  61. Julianna says:

    It has to be in 2010 my beautiful black cashmere $900 Cinzia Rocca topper coat that I had been lusting over for months in a high end boutique. That summer I found that very same coat in perfect condition in my size in a thrift shop for $9.99! I nearly fainted!

  62. mlinky says:

    I forgot my Revo sunnies, on clearance at TJ Maxx for $9.99, and the perfect ABACO lambskin bag, also at TJ’s on clearance, for $39.99.

  63. Amy says:

    A pair of Ralph Lauren canvas boots (equestrian if you’re not a real equestrian) for $50 at TJ Maxx 18 years ago. I am still wearing them. I get compliments every single time I wear them. Every single time. They’re incredibly comfortable, not too wide in the calf and classic to the extreme.