“Designer clothing” is a euphemism for “expensive clothing.” A new Tommy Hilfiger button-up shirt costs $80. An equivalent shirt from John Varvatos costs $180. The cheapest Armani is $450.
I’ve found all three for less than $10 at thrift stores, multiple times. Unless you shop how I shop, you’re not getting your money’s worth.
I make my living reselling thrifted clothes online. I’ve handled hundreds of thousands of garments. There’s a noticeable difference in quality between cheap clothing and mid-range clothing, but above that, it’s all pretty much the same. Not terribly shocking, as most clothing, including designer clothing, is made in sweatshops.
Style isn’t about branding. What really matters is that your garments fit you properly, are made of nice-enough material, are in a flattering color, and are sensibly coordinated.
Those logos you’re paying so much for aren’t even adding anything to your style. They’re actually diminishing it. Contrary to what advertising implies, no-logo clothing makes you look wealthier and more tasteful.
If you wear an expensive logo, most people will think you’re a cornball show-off, or will be jealous of you, or both.
If you still like wearing a certain brand, you can find it in the thrifts. Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, Armani Exchange, DKNY, Guess, and Calvin Klein pieces are so common that I barely stop to look at them. I’ve also found stuff from Yves Saint Laurent, Brioni, Burberry, Diesel, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, Supreme, and A Bathing Ape, among dozens of others.
Thrift stores are getting more educated about brands, so the luxury clothing may be marked up to around $20. They still make plenty of oversights, though. Check the “boutique” area if the store has one, but look through the main racks as well.