I’ve always had expensive taste. So much so, that a month after my husband and I were married, he took away my credit card. While I curbed my spending afterward, I really had to budget after our daughter was born. I wasn’t making as much as I used to and while I was cutting back my own hours, the taste for luxury never faded. I wanted fun, luxurious-looking prices, but didn’t care much anymore for the brand. And I never cared for logos.
Now every season, I make a list of the designer pieces I want for the season and hunt for their bargain counter parts.
Here are the 10 “designer” items (at not so designer prices) that I thought were worth the hunt!
Designer Style, Real Prices 1 of 21
Click through to see all my picks!
Designer Bib Necklace 2 of 21
I love this necklace, but with a price tag similar to a month's rent for a studio apartment in Chicago, the love quickly faded.
Available at Dannijo, $995
Real Bib Necklace 3 of 21
I still want a bib necklace, something I can wear for work or with a simple t-shirt. At this price, I can get two!
Available at Go Jane, $27.30
Designer Leopard Loafer 4 of 21
I love loafers, I love leopard, and I love J Crew. Problem is, I can no longer afford J Crew.
Available at J Crew, $298
Real Leopard Loafer 5 of 21
Ann Taylor Loft has become my replacement for modest, fashion forward pieces. Thankfully, they carry similar pieces like this leopard loafer for a fraction of the price.
Available at Loft, $49.50
Designer Leather Sleeved Jacket 6 of 21
I've been eyeing this jacket since July and since I live in Chicago, where spending a bit more on outerwear in not unheard of, it would get a lot of use. But I decided to continue looking, as I still have time.
Available at DKNY, $179.50
Real Leather Sleeved Jacket 7 of 21
My search paid off because I found a similar version of the jacket I wanted for $120 less!
Available at H&M, $59.95
Designer Printed Sneaker 8 of 21
I know that living in a big city means your shoes do not last that long, so spending over $700 on sneakers was too much for my stomach to handle, even though the print is so fun.
Available at Jimmy Choo, $765
Real Printed Sneaker 9 of 21
Thank goodness fun doesn't have to come at such a steep price. This under $20 find is the perfect thing for running around!
Available at Forever 21, $19.80
Designer Tote 10 of 21
I, for one, am a designer handbag lover. I have a few, all gifts of course, and all thanks to SATC. Carrie and I share a love for Fendi! But as I said before, marriage and motherhood changes things and unless this tote is at the outlet, on clearance, and I have a coupon, it is just not happening.
Available at Michael Kors, $378
Real Tote 11 of 21
This tote is a much better option for my wallet and my sanity. With the same fun color combination and a similar cut, it's the perfect addition to my fall wardrobe.
Available at Zara, $79.90
Designer Wayfarer Sunglasses 12 of 21
These sunglasses have been a hit since Risky Business and recently became every "it" girl's go-to pair, but as someone with a reputation for sitting on her sunglasses, $150 for a pair is suddenly out of the question.
Available at Ray-Ban, $150
Real Wayfarer Sunglasses 13 of 21
For under $10, I'll buy two... in case I sit on one, I still have another.
Available at Forever 21, $5.80
Designer Moto Jacket 14 of 21
I love how any outfit is suddenly made cool by adding a motorcycle jacket. I also love how my bills would not paid this month and my family would not eat in order to look cool.
Available at All Saints, $700
Real Moto Jacket 15 of 21
Never one for giving up, I searched and tried on a lot of motorcycle jackets but nothing came close. Except for this one, and my favorite part is that it is vegan leather. Much better.
Available at Zappos, $124
Designer Polka Dot Pant 16 of 21
I think these are great and would get a lot of use, but as a woman who during any given month can fluctuate between 2-3 sizes, spending so much on one item would really cut into my budget.
Available at J Crew, $135
Real Polka Dot Pant 17 of 21
A very similar option, for $100 less, is a no brainer and from one of my favorite places to shop? Done deal!
Available at Old Navy, $35
Designer Denim Jacket 18 of 21
I always say splurge on the classics, the ones that will never go out of style, and you will wear for years. A tailored suit, a classic pump, sure. But denim? Not a chance.
Available at J Brand, $229
Real Denim Jacket 19 of 21
Old Navy always has great denim jacket options, every year and sometimes on sale. Yes, you'll wear this for years to come, but why pay a hefty price when you know you don't have to?
Available at Old Navy, $29
Designer Red Heels 20 of 21
There is no love affair greater than that of a woman and her shoes. But there's heartbreak here, lying in wait in the form of a price tag.
Available at J Crew, $278
Real Red Heels 21 of 21
A simpler, but possibly more fashion forward, style can be found a Zara for over $200 less.
Available at Zara, $59.90