When I saw the topic, best bargain, I immediately thought of this, my best 'bought new' bargain.
This is the dress I wore to my Sixth Form leavers' ball, and to my first university summer ball. Original price - £160. I paid - £48. Thank you, Monsoon 70% off sales.
I've only worn it twice though, which means it has a cost per wear of £24. Not so bargainous. I have bought two ballgowns since for less than £15 in charity shops so if you still have balls to look forward to, I would strongly recommend you go round the formalwear racks in charity shops and save yourself some moolah!
If I ever wear it again I'm going to have to get it dry cleaned first as there are blatant cola stains down the front. Goldsmiths' summer balls are dress ruiners - to get drinks once inside the Students Union, you have to queue for ages in front of the bar squashed like a sardine. Imagine a mosh pit where everyone's in formal wear and the people at the front are buying drinks for twelve of their friends and passing them back over the crowd. Then you go onto the dancefloor and that's really crowded too, plus you're drunk and so is everyone else and you keep having to bend to hug people or go sit on the sticky stairs by the fire exit for photos. I tried to be careful but my drink of choice for dancing is rum and coke. Should I have switched to something that won't stain dresses, e.g. vodka and water? Probably.
Yes, it's been hanging in a wardrobe for six years with brown stains down it. What can I say? Dry cleaning is expensive! I buy dry clean only clothes from charity shops all the time and then proceed to hand wash them and it's fine but it's not as big a risk when it's a top you bought for £4.99. I'm not going to try it with a ballgown I actually bought new.
Out of my secondhand items, for cheapness, I'd pick the dress on the right, originally from Almost Famous London, that I wore on New Year's Eve. About £10 and so pretty (also, so hard to photograph, being black and sequinned). I really want to wear it again but need to find the right occasion. But it was probably over £100 new judging by the prices on the brand's website, so it's still a bargain even though so far I have only worn it once!
For low cost per wear + original cheapness an easy pick is the dress on the left, which was originally from H&M but again I got it from a charity shop for less than a tenner. I have worn it dozens of times since I got it. It's so good for the winter - I've got three long sleeved black tops I can wear underneath it because the cowl neck of the dress hides their necklines, and with fleece-lined tights and a cardigan it's really warm. Unfortunately the sun went behind a cloud when I took that photo but I did tweak the brightness and contrast a bit so you can see the cowl.
What makes you consider something a bargain? Original price, cost per wear, or a combination of the two?