The Hack: H&M's website can be a lot to take in, but let us introduce you to the "Trend" tab. This is where all of the brand's luxe-looking, fashion forward stuff hangs out. (Oh hi, $60 stepped hem jeans.) And, every time you drop off unwanted clothing and textiles at an H&M store, you receive 15% off of your purchase and the store recycles your old items into new fibers for future collections.
The Pick: Slim Regular Ankle Jeans, $60, hm.com.
The Hack: Shop on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That's when new arrivals hit the online store. And if you really love Zara, download the store's free app. Its design mimics Zara's homepage, and it saves your payment info, which makes checking out a breeze.
The Pick: Limited-Edition Jacquard Top, $50, zara.com.
The Hack: OK, this isn't a store you can go to IRL, but we had to include it because this hack is too good. When you check out on the site using "USA" as your location, but with the currency set to British pounds, your order ends up being about 20% cheaper. So this cute shift dress, which is $105, magically becomes $84.
The Pick: Reverse Block Jacquard Mini Dress, $105, asos.com.
The Hack: Out of all the fast fashion chains, Topshop's items seem to sell out the fastest. One way around this is to head to the "Trending Now" tab on topshop.com. It's a tight edit of the most popular items, and the ones that literally just dropped.
The Pick: Maggie Flare Heeled Boots, $140.
The Hack: Target follows a super-strict markdown schedule. Shop for accessories on Mondays, women's clothing on Tuesdays, men's clothing on Wednesdays, lingerie and luggage on Thursdays, and jewelry and cosmetics on Fridays to get the best deals. Also, if the price tag ends in $0.06 or $0.08, it'll be marked down again (if there's still inventory left). If it ends in $0.04, it's final sale.
The Pick: Who What Wear Zip Pouch, $20, target.com.
The Hack: If you stalk J.Crew's sale section, save yourself some time and create an account at threadstats.com. The site obsessively tracks everything in J.Crew's online store, flags items that are at their lowest advertised price over the past 30 days, and sends members email alerts when pieces they've been eyeing go on sale.
The Pick: Sam Sunglasses, $118, jcrew.com.