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Recessionista: How to Be a Feline Fashionista on a Budget

Cat fashion is maturing, but some of it is expensive; follow these tips to look great for less.

JaneA Kelley  |  Sep 23rd 2016


Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Catster print magazine. Click here to subscribe to Catster magazine.

You see a magazine or website article about some awesome cat-inspired fashions. You’re all ready to go shopping until you look at the price tags, and your eyes nearly fall out of your head.

Will you ever be able to afford to fly your cat-lover flag in a hip and tasteful way? Fear not: I’ve got some tips on shopping for fabulous feline fashions while being friendly to your budget.

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1. Shop around

I did an Internet search for a pair of cat tights I’m interested in buying. That search revealed prices ranting from $7.92 to $15 for the same pair of tights. The primary pricing factor seemed to be whether a particular site had a “designer” reputation or not. One caveat about shopping around: Factor in shipping prices. It’s not that great a deal if you end up paying more because of the cost to mail your cat gear to you.

2. Check auction sites after the fad is over

Several years ago, a designer released a line of cat-themed products sold exclusively at a major department store. Auction site sellers swooped in and bought every one of these designer items they could carry and sold them for prices much higher than customers would have paid at the department store. But once the hype is over, you can score that cool kitty item at a bargain price.

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Photo by Shutterstock

3. Read reviews

It doesn’t matter how cool a piece of kitty clothing looks if it falls apart after a couple of washings or if the fit of the garment makes it look hideous. Reviews can also tell you a lot about whether the sizing runs large or small, which will give you a better idea of what size you should order. While reading reviews, don’t focus exclusively on the excellent and horrible reviews, though: People are more likely to write reviews if they’re elated or disgusted. That said, if the average rating is closer to one end of the spectrum or the other, pay attention!

4. Check clearance racks


I’ve found amazing deals on clearance at department stores and in certain “rack” stores, including some cool cat-themed clothing and shoes. Clearance shopping takes patience because there’s going to be a lot to look through, and it’s probably not going to be organized very well, but if you have the time and energy, your rewards could be great.

5. Know the return policy

If you’re shopping online for your feline fashions, read the site or seller’s return and exchange policy carefully. Sizes are hard to judge when shopping online; even if you’ve bought something in the same size from the same manufacturer, different styles can have different sizing. You don’t want to waste your money by buying something that’s the wrong size and being unable to return it — or having to pay a lot of money to ship it back to the seller and get a replacement.

Follow these tips, and you’ll get yourself an awesome feline wardrobe while saving a whole bunch of money in the process.

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Extra: Five stops for the feline fashionista

Where do you go to get some of the awesome cat-styled clothes featured in this article? There are some great online and brick-and-mortar outlets that carry feline fashions, and here are just a few of them:

Modcloth: Modcloth has a reputation for carrying some of the most stylish feline fashions including cat tights, cat shoes, dresses with classy cat prints, and more.

AmazonDo a search for “clothing with cats” and you’ll find several pages of designs ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.

TargetTarget sometimes releases whole fashion lines featuring cats (such as the Jason Wu for Target collection from a few years ago). Now they mostly carry infants’ and children’s cat-themed clothes, but you can get some fun socks and pajamas there.

ThreadlessThis online retailer features community submitted designs by artists, which are voted on by the site’s fans. The result is a large collection of really cool cat designs for T-shirts, tank tops, totes, phone cases, and much more.

Yes StyleThis site features an extensive array of cat tops, dresses, skirts, leggings, sweatshirts, and more. Unlike some sites, this one also offers plus-size options.

About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal rescue volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline authors, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.