There is no greater fashion high than that moment when you triumph over the system by snagging a piece at a fraction of retail cost. I love to hunt and gather which, in my profession, means to examine trends closely and uncover that look for less.

This weekend, I was at Nordstrom buying my daughter some dresses in the junior department. Of course this led to trolling the rest of the store and coming face to face with Rag + Bone, one of my favorite brands for sporty, casual gear. To me, Rag + Bone jeans are pure perfection. The fit and finish are modern, cool and comfortable. But the price tag always makes me gag. The pair in question were distressed black skinny jeans with a medium rise that could be effortlessly dressed up and down. Perfect, right? Almost. They were priced at $220. I. Just. Couldn’t Do. It. I informed my daughter that we had to embark on a minor fashion mission in order to score mom a pair of designer denim for less than half the price we were about to hurl over.

nordstrom rag + bone jeans

Happily, Chicago boasts one of the best Nordstrom Rack’s in the country. The designer section is usually stocked with steals and deals from Alexander Wang, Donna Karan and other A-Listers. We hightailed it over there (popping in at Vosges to ramp up our energy on toffee) and found an entire display of Rag + Bone clothing. After 15 minutes of deft examination,  I found three pairs of jeans each priced at $89. The buzz over such a score felt as if I consumed two glasses of Veuve on an empty stomach. Though I ended up spending the same amount of dough, I was exceedingly delighted with my sartorial success. The lesson? When you lust over something pricey, do your homework. Hit designer resale stores and discounters like TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack. For seasonless items like jeans, always check out end-of-season sales at department stores when designer duds are often offered at 75% below original price tag.