Understanding how branding works and where to find the best deals can fill your closet with your favorite brands on the cheap. Here are several tips for bargain shoppers with discerning tastes.

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Shop Other Collections

You might not realize that a specific fashion house or brand actually has a number of brands beneath the same “umbrella” of companies. For clothing, you might have the high-end brand – for example, Marc Jacobs – with several other brands under the Marc Jacobs name, including capsule collections, bridge lines, and lower-end brands.

Check out the difference between these terms:

Capsule Collections. Capsule collections are made up of a few staple pieces that best showcase a designer’s work or a certain brand collaboration. Because there are only a few staple pieces, the brand can mass manufacture the same jackets, pants, dresses, and skirts over and over again, driving down prices so they’re more affordable. You’ll still get the name and similar quality, but you’ll spend less. Capsule collections are also typically a limited run – once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Bridge Lines. The term “bridge line” describes the collaboration between a high-end designer and a lower-priced retailer. The designer comes up with a collection of pieces, and they are manufactured more cheaply by the lower-priced retailer and sold at more affordable price points. For example, Marc Jacobs worked with Neiman Marcus and designed a few different pieces for Target. It’s a great way to get pieces designed by your favorite fashion houses – but keep in mind that the designers have little sway over the manufacturing process, so the quality may not be designer standard.


Lower-Cost Brands. When perusing the racks of your favorite department store, you’ll probably notice brand names that resemble your favorite designer, but aren’t quite the same, such as Marc by Marc Jacobs, or REDValentino. These are lower-cost versions of the main brand, which you can spend less on to get the same prestige. True, they’re often trendier items, accessories-only lines, or made without the strict quality standards of the main brand, but lower-cost brands mean you get to own something from your favorite designer without paying the high-end price.


You’ll find that most high-end designer brands have a number of different collections available, and some are surprisingly affordable. I personally love bridge lines as a way to get the aesthetic of a certain designer, without having to fork over full price.






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