Denver's Best Bargains

How to ditch your cable bill, buy name-brand clothes on the cheap, snag low-cost tickets for a game—and 83 other tips on living well for less.

February 2010

Working the Wardrobe

Confessions of a clothes-aholic.

This admission is twofold. First: I am a name-brand junky. Today I'm wearing Hudson jeans, a BCBGMAXAZRIA top, Guess heels, a Nine West jacket, and a Hobo purse. Approximate retail value: entire paycheck. Second: Every single one of these items came from T.J. Maxx, for a grand total of about $150. And that's not the least of it. I also shop at Ross. Often.

Yes, I'm a bargain-basement trawler, and I'm willing to get my hands dirty. Friends of mine visibly cringe upon entering a discount chain like T.J.'s—and, indeed, you have to sift through the chaos of jumbled racks and avert your eyes when you accidentally pull out a hideous poly-blend geometric blouse that would offend...well, just about anyone. But that's the sacrifice you make to get your label fix.

Still a little iffy? Here are a few tips to get you going. —Julie Dugdale

Walk in with the right frame of mind. These aren't in-and-out kinds of places. Leave yourself an hour to scope, sift, and sort. You'll need it.

Don't skip a rack because it screams "cheaply made." Between the synthetic teenybopper tanks is often the best place to find a trendy French Connection wraparound with gorgeous trim.

Expect the unexpected. My best purchases are the ones I'm not looking for: a smart-looking diagonal-zip Nike jacket; a darling Calvin Klein little black dress; a preppy-cute Ralph Lauren Polo—all at super-clearance prices.

Lastly, no one needs to know. Rock your new slingbacks like you mean it, and tell people they're Kenneth Coles when they ask where they're from. It's not a lie; you just happened to get them for $12.99—at Ross.