The Ultimate Guide to Prep for Less

So many of you request a prep for less post, and honestly it's a lot of sitting and waiting and watching for deals and for stores to go online. Despite all the waiting and watching for sales, there are a few tips to know when it comes to shopping prep for less, despite if a store is on sale and today I want to share those with you. This post is pretty lengthy, so I'm just jumping on into it, but if you have a prep for less tip, leave it for other readers in the comments below!

Simple doesn't mean boring -- The first think you need to know is the classic style isn't boring, it's simple and tailored. It's a streamlined look that will literally never go out of style. Decades and decades later we still all need the perfect little black dress in our closets and a staple wool trench coat. When shopping it's okay to feel like you're buying "simple" items -- and no, they're not boring either. I know a white button down shirt doesn't seem like the most thrilling purchase but it's the top that keeps on giving.

If you can get it at J. Crew, you can get it at Target -- If J. Crew has it, odds are, Target or Old Navy will get something similar soon. You can buy great jeans, chino shorts, button ups, striped tees, and classic sandals at Target and Old Navy. If you see something you absolutely have to have at J. Crew, step one -- check J. Crew Factory. If they don't have it, then step two -- check Target or Old Navy for similar items. You'll almost always end up saving money.

Watch it like a hawk -- If you want something that's a more expensive item, don't give up on it right away just because of the price. Watch that item like a hawk, 90% of the time it will go on sale. I'll tell you now, you won't get it right away but at least you'll get it. I have a rule that I don't buy things full price if they're from a store that cost more than Target. I'm serious, I don't buy full price items and that's because I watch thinks like a hawk.

Emails are you best friends -- Email are the key to prepping for less. I know email are a total pain because when you wake up in the morning you have 50 new promo deals in your inbox that you have to sift through. Don't delete them automatically, seriously read through them. Most of the time they're promotions being announced. So many of the stores I shop treat their email list like VIP's. You'll be the first to know about new items. gifts with purchase, and sales. Sometimes, stores even offer extra promo codes for online stores to their email list as a reward for keeping up with the brand.

Don't be too good for second hand stores -- Thrift stores and consignment shops are gold mines but are easily overlooked because people think they won't have great clothes. Two words for y'all -- Vintage. Lilly. Yep, that's right you can get early 2000's Lilly Pulitzer and classic J. Crew at consignment shops for a small fraction of the regular price. Before I started working at Lilly Pulitzer, all of my Lilly came from thrift shops and so do many of my sweaters that y'all love so much.

Invest in timeless classes -- Prep for less isn't all about saving your money all of the time. It's about properly investing your money in your closet where you should. Save on those trendy statement sleeves that will go out of style in a few seasons and invest in a great pair of jeans or a pair of shoes. I'm not kidding you, those kinds of pieces make all the difference in you wardrobe.

Where to buy Lilly at discount -- If you want to find Lilly on discount, the best deal you will get on current Lilly Pulitzer is during the End of Summer sale and the After Party sale. Almost everything is on great discount and again, the items are all current. If you want to find inexpensive Lilly Pulitzer year round check out your local thrift and a consignment shops. If you live near a Marshalls or a TJ Maxx, check there too! I've found 2011 dresses there for $50 before!

Where to buy Vineyard Vines on discount -- Steinmart and Marshalls both sell Vineyard Vines on great discount. I've found several Step Shirts there the past few years for under $60 each. If you want to buy current VV, check the Whale of a Sale, but wait before buying. The store puts items on sale for the first few days for 30% off, but after a few days of the sale being live, they up the percent off to 50%!

Where to buy Hunters on discount -- Hunter rainboots are tricky to find on sale. I think it's best to purchase them through a third party vendor, rather than through the Hunter Rainboots website directly. Zappos, Nordstrom Rack, and 6pm all have Hunter Rainboots on sale. Granted, they aren't some incredible percentage off, but they're definitely not full price!

Where to buy Jack Rogers on discount -- Jack Rogers rarely go on sale from the Jack Rogers website, but again those third party sites put Jacks on sale all the time. Belk, 6PM, Nordstrom, and Dillards put Jack Rogers on sale regularly. I even checked 6PM last night and there were at least 7 pairs of shoes in my cart by the end of the night.

Where to buy J. Crew on discount -- Believe it or not, the best place to buy J. Crew on discount is J. Crew. Follow along J. Crew for promotional emails and also make sure to subscribe to J. Crew Factory emails. If J. Crew isn't having a sale check on Factory and vise versa. There never is a time where both store are full price. Remember, they take student ID too, so you college kids can add an additional 15% off when the entire store isn't on promo. So yes, when sale is take an extra 50% off, you can throw your student ID on the counter and turn that 50% into 65% really quick. You can find items that originally cost $125 and walk away with them six months later for $18 if you sit and watch it long enough. Just be patient with J. Crew, I promise you'll get what you're shopping for in due time!