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How To Shop Designer Collaborations Like a Pro

how to shop designer collaborations

[Some retailers that regularly participate in designer collabs]

The buzz surrounding the latest designer meets fast fashion collabs (Isabel Marant for H&M is the latest one) definitely hits a fever pitch and erupts into a frenzy the first 24 hours that the collection has become available. I do have to admit that it’s relatively easy to get swept up in it, resulting in more regretful purchases than one would like to acknowledge. There are plenty of pieces that are amongst my favorites from these collabs that I am still wearing and are actually holding up physically, so I believe it is possible to shop designer collabs, if you do it intelligently. Your wallet and your closet will certainly be grateful!

Make a Strategy of What You Want to Buy, and Limit the Amount of Items You Will Purchase

Nowadays the lookbooks/sneak peeks at an upcoming collection debut online well in advance of the collection’s launch date, so that you can decide on which items you REALLY want, and make a note of them so that you don’t get swept up in the competitive purchasing that happens once it’s available for purchase. It’s always interesting to find out what items will be most popular and sell out first, but that doesn’t mean you need to get one of those items. Limit your purchases to THREE items, maximum, from the collection, so that you zero in on what you want and actually will wear, evaluating your existing wardrobe needs and hopefully filling it with pieces that are right at home with your style and mix of apparel and accessories.

Stay Away from Bold Prints and Silhouettes, that are OBVIOUSLY from this High-Meets-Low Fashion Collaboration

There’s a fine line to walk between getting very affordable versions of the designs that your favorite brand/designer creates, and making it obvious that you bought into the “cheaper” version of the goods. For example: years after Missoni for Target collab I am still spotting the colors and patterns used for the Target collab, highly identifiable compared to Missoni’s regular lines. Don’t get me wrong, I love this line and went a little crazy buying everything from housewares to stationary and clothing, but want my possessions to truly feel like mine, and not something that everyone else has. You always want to be proud to wear your clothes that look great on you, of course fit you well, with the pieces always feeling “on trend” and never tired. If you still love the pieces that are easily part of a collab of yore, more power to you, but more often than not, you may be annoyed that three people you passed on your way to work today were wearing that dress that you have from the same collection.

designer collaborations
[Some easily identifiable pieces from past designer collabs]


By avoiding the more “flashy” pieces and going for the more subtle ones in collection, you’ll be sure to give a healthy dose of longevity into the pieces you acquire. I did get some of Missoni for Target pieces that were a bit on the “loud” side, and have since donated most of them to Goodwill. The once that have lasted is a wrinkle free blouse with a floral print that is quite pretty, but not signature Missoni chevron designs,  that I love to layer under a  cashmere crew or vneck sweater, and a solid black crochet sweater with a band of white at the neck, which I pretty much can wear with EVERYTHING in my wardrobe.

Think About Why You are Drawn to a Particular Collab BEFORE Shopping It!

Why are you excited about this new design collab? Is it purely surrounding the buzz? Is it one of your all-time favorite designers? Do you genuinely like the pieces? Are the pieces a good value/quality for the price?  I’ve used my purchases from the Catherine Malandrino for DesignNation at Kohl’s as an example below to show what I decided to buy, and why. I have been a fan of Malandrino for years, owning two dresses from her and appreciating her uniquely crocheted pieces and body-complimenting cuts. I selected three items, a black jumpsuit, sweaterdress in black, and cream sweater based on these things, taking into consideration what I like about Malandrino’s designs,  colors that will get the most mileage, and what gaps I have in my wardrobe. Luckily, I saw the pieces at a press preview a few months back, so I can personally vouch that the quality is on-par, and knowing how a retailer’s sizing runs also comes in to be helpful with narrowing done your purchases.

Wait on Shopping…What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

When we are caught in the moment is when we most often make impulse purchases that result in returns or worse yet, never worn clothing! Give it a few days, or the next time you happen to go into the store or shop online to browse the collab; waiting for the chaos of the launch date to pass may give you some perspective to evaluate if you really really want, or need, the item after all. And what’s the worst that could happen? It’s not available any more? I’m pretty sure you will survive, move on, and not even remember it three months from now!

From our friends at Fashion Pulse Daily

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