I like to stay knowledgeable about current fashions, but there are some trends (Peekaboo bras? Flesh-colored tights?) that I'm just not willing to try.
Luckily, to help quench my thirst for fashion-forward clothing in wearable styles, I head to Gap. Brightly-colored skinny jeans? Denim boyfriend shirts? Yes, please! And over the years, I've learned a few tips for getting those fashionista finds at a fraction of their regular retail price. Here's how:
1. Shop the back of the store
As is typical with many retailers, this is where most Gap stores keep their discounted merchandise. Women's and men's styles are normally kept separately, so be sure to do a full sweep of the back of the store to see all discounted options.
2. Never pay for shipping and always shop with codes
Gap online always allows free shipping for a purchase over $50 (along with free returns on all orders) and routinely offers other free shipping and percentage-off codes, so I never—never!—pay full price or the $7 advertised shipping cost for anything ordered online. These promotions are announced daily via a banner at the top of their site, or you can scroll through current offerings on the company's coupon page. Alternately, check a code site like RetailMeNot. Recent codes included 30 percent off any purchase, but my favorite was the Labor Day discount—an additional 40 percent off clearance styles online!
3. Shop the factory stores and outlet
I love how many low-cost, high-quality apparel finds I can discover at Gap Factory Stores and their outlet online. And I also love that Gap gives an automatic 15 percent discount on top of already low outlet prices to anyone signing up for their emails.
4. Don’t stick to your size
Some Gap clothes, I've found, are discounted in-store or sent to the outlets because the size on the label is misleading. I typically wear a medium-sized top, but I've scored both a wrap sweater (discounted to only $5!) and a $7 drapey, layering top in their Gap Pure line that were labeled "extra small." They both fit like a dream, but I never would have given either one a chance if I shopped only by the size on the label.
5. Visit GapBody
Until a friend introduced me to this Gap offshoot, I thought it was only a pricey, upscale lingerie boutique. Was I ever wrong! Not only have I found some super-comfortable t-shirt bras that were reduced from around $40 to $9.99, but I've bought a number of solid-colored tanks and tees for layering (all under $10) as well as weird and wonderful finds (a 49-cent comb, a $3 soy candle). Now, whenever I shop the mall, I make sure this store is on my route.
6. Try the sister companies
Gap is a sister company of Old Navy, so if I see a style of apparel I like but it's too expensive, I check for similar styles at this lower-priced retailer. If I want something sporty that Gap doesn't carry, I check their companies Athleta and Piperlime. And if I need something a bit more office appropriate, I check its sister company Banana Republic, making sure I use these savings strategies.
7. Stalk the Facebook page
Stalking in real life? Bad. Virtual-page stalking to get the best Gap deals? Good! Their page will help me make sure I never miss the latest sleepwear, logo tee, or must-have-jeans deal.
8. Get cash back when you shop online
9. Turn your Discover points into more money
Since I have a Discover card that affords incredible benefits anyway, I let $20 in cashback bonuses accumulate (which usually takes me about two months), then I redeem it for a $25 merchandise gift card that I can get as an eCertificate or a plastic gift card (shipped to me for free). I love that I can use the gift card (which is essentially like 20 percent free money) on top of codes and other in-store and online promotions to stretch my savings.
10. Consider a Gap Visa card
If you’re responsible with credit and shop at Gap regularly, this card could save you quite a bit. Customers save 15 percent on their initial purchase after being approved for a card, followed by points for dollars spent (five points for every dollar spent at company stores and one point for every dollar spent at any other location Visa Card is accepted!) that can be redeemed for merchandise credits. There are bonus points for email sign-up, and if you spend $800 at their company stores in a calendar year, you can get Silver status, which has benefits such as free clothing alterations, free shipping on all online purchases, triple-point days and more. $800 may seem like a lot, but when I consider what I spend at Old Navy for the kiddos, Athleta for my teen and Banana Republic for my hubby, this is well worth it for my family.
Though my walk-in closet isn't yet a Gap showroom, I'm pleased with the pieces I've bought at deep discounts to help keep me looking fashion forward while on a budget.