Lilliana Vazquez on looking stylish while saving big

Looking chic on a budget is never an easy task.

That’s where Lilliana Vazquez comes in. Since 2008, the style expert has been at the helm of the blog CheapChicas.com, focusing on shopping stylishly while saving.

Now, the recent Philadelphia-NYC transplant has penned a book, "The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style," which includes advice, strategies and more.

"I thought it was time to much more in-depth conversation with women about three things that are never talked about in same sentence: shopping, styling and most importantly saving," she said.


What should a shopper’s upon entering a store?

Always start your shopping trip at the clearance rack. That sets your price barometer. If you walk into a store and see something that’s not on sale for $100, that could seem like a deal. But you haven’t seen what’s on the clearance rack yet. Adjust your sensitivity to what’s expensive and recalibrate what things actually cost.

How can you avoid getting caught up in the moment and buying something just because it’s a good deal?

A lot of that has to do with making a master shopping list. See if [the purchase] fits into your list. Also ask yourself, "If this were full-price would I be willing to buy it?" You’re still spending money.


What types of items are should shoppers save on?

I tend to think costume jewelry. Right now there’s such expensive costume jewelry. I buy 99% of my jewelry at Forever 21 or Aldo. And then I think print trends you can 100% save on because they are so trendy realy indicative of a [particular season]. Solids are a much better splurge.


What do you personally splurge on?

[Items that] I can work around in my closet five or six ways. … I’m all about well-tailored blazers: I wear them over everything. Theory makes amazing blazers. I actually end up buying [a lot of them] during friends and family sales at stores. Shoes and bags I splurge on because those are the luxe item that step up your Hanes men’s T-shirt and jeans.


Where are the best places to score deals: designer discount stores like TJ Maxx, websites, low-priced big-box stores, thrift shops?

A combination. I love runway dept at TJMaxx. You can find stella mccartney balzers there. I Love ebay. Most of my designer bags and shoes have come from eBay. I got these Chanel shose eBay for $240. A woman had bought them at a consignment store and they were too tight. They were $1,00 shoes.


What’s the biggest trend in NYC style?

There is a massive street style appeal that drives their shopping.


Share with us a NYC shopping insiders’ trick.

Most of the designer buys happening in Manhattan are at consignment stores. People are cleaning out their closets.

Any quick quality-check tips at a thrift or consignment shop?

Look at the construction. Yes, it’s designer but if the armholes are too low, for example, that’s something a tailor cannot repair. I actually have a checklist in the book for thrift and consignment stores.