Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Outlet Shopping - The Choices

This weekend my sister and I did a little outlet shopping at the Talbots Outlet in Virginia. I love this outlet because the items they sell are the same ones that have been online and in their stores.  I started thinking about the differences in outlet shopping. Did you know that outlet shopping has become such big business that some companies create lesser quality, lower priced items specifically for their outlet stores? It's a switch that they don't tell you about. One of the ways you can tell is by the tags. If the tags say outlet on them, the items were made specifically for the outlet and will not be sold in higher end stores.  In this case, you'll also notice that some things have been skimped on. Items may not be stitched the same way, lined, or have as much hardware.  The corners or seams may not be reinforced as well.  These are things that will make your items last longer. If that's not a concern for you, go for it.  The item is still a great deal if you love it and will wear it often.

I live close to an outlet center.  I am very picky about the stores that I frequent.  I find the real bargains can be found in the department store outlets like Nordstrom Rack, Saks Off 5th, and Neiman Marcus Last Call.  These stores have high end, designer merchandise at bargain prices.

I've sung the praises of Nordstrom Rack in previous posts you've also seen me wearing lots of items I purchased at the store. There is a bit of looking and hunting that has to be done at these stores. There are very few pretty displays and lots of sorting. If you're willing to do the work, bargains can be found.

My favorite story is about a designer trench coat that I fell in love with at Nordstrom. At full price it was over $400. Way out of my budget at the time. I walked away and decided to start saving. I told myself if I could save the money then I'd go back. I saved and went back but it was gone. I started searching, even asked a clerk to do a store search for me but no luck. One day I was wondering around Saks Off 5th and saw some jackets hanging on a rack. I wandered over to look and I almost fainted. The coveted trench was there, in my size and it was a little over $100!  On top of that, I had a coupon to get an additional 15% off. I couldn't believe it.  I saved over $300!

I've been able to buy some high quality clothing that I'll wear for years because of these department store outlets. I've heard that Nordstrom Rack is having a huge end of the season sale. If you live near a location and have time and money, it's a great place to score some deals.

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