I’m ready to start shopping for fall but don’t want to break the bank. I live in a town that is about an hour and a half drive to the nearest outlet. Is it worth the drive for me to save money? Do they even have fall clothes at the outlets or will it still be all summer sales?
It’s me Glam Gal, JoJami here to take on your question! You are in luck because I just so happened to be traveling around the country (on the Tour de Glam) and today I am in Branson, Missouri, where I stopped by the Tanger Outlets to check out the goods.
Here is what I found out and what I ended up buying:
This particular Tanger Outlet consisted of actual outlet stores and had several “factory stores.” A factory store means that the factory actually makes items specifically for the outlet store in a “discount sort of way.” That means that these items are not usually up to the regular store standards but have a similar style but not necessarily the quality.
Here is what I mean.
I went into the Ann Taylor Factory Store and the first thing that caught my eye was a table of pretty cardigans.
So, the sweater on the left above has a price tag that was just like a normal tag with no discount marked on it. However, the tag on the purple sweater (on right) had the orignal price listed and a discounted price in RED. That top was made of nicer fabric and could be found at a regular Ann Taylor store. Since everything in the store was 40% off, this meant that the lowest price of anything in the store would be discounted so the prices were pretty darn good! (Just for the record I did not buy either of these items, just wanted to use them as an example.)
However, I did spot this classic blue and cream striped long sleeve top. It was made of some thin, stretchy fabric and fit well. I really liked that it had a “V” neck and not a rounded one, so I grabbed it for $17.00.
First I saw the BCBG store and was just curious to see what they had on hand. This store is definitely on the trendy side so I was not surprised when the sales associate showed me the latest sweater with pointed puffed sleeves and a bow…2 trends in one! This sweater was marked down from $88.00 to $39.00, so you might think it’s a deal however it is never worth buying anything unless you really love it. Pass on this one for sure!
Personally, work out clothes are one of my favorite things to buy. I love to exercise and after recently going to a Yoga retreat I noticed one of the teachers always wore all white. Since then I have bought a pair of white yoga pants that I just love and can mix and match with all my tops. They had gotten a little dingy looking so I decided to see if I could find a few new white pieces.
Once again, I found out that this was an outlet store that had both full price and discounted items. So here is what I bought:
- workout bra $29.00 (originally $49.00)
- shorts $27.99 (these were full price but the newest in “compression” fabric, it was worth the splurge!)
- top $9.97 (originally $24.99)
Textured hose are usually a great find if they are on sale, just make sure you test the fabric for good stretch and quality.
Make sure you always try on the item you are thinking of buying. I saw a beautiful cardigan I know I needed, but when trying to unbutton it, I realized the button holes were too small and it made it nearly impossible to undo.
PASS!!! Don’t buy things that are hard to put on or take off!
Finally, I did not find anything that was unique or wonderful to add to my fall wardrobe. I only found basics. If you are serious about wanting to add some great pieces to update your wardrobe your outlet will need to have some higher end stores and you must be a savvy shopper and be super super picky about what you come home with. Better to save your money and shop in a boutique or mall than to stock up on sale items that only fill up your closet with blah, ho-hum items.
So to recap my day and review these shopping tips:
- Yes an outlet can be a great place to save money on basics but you will need to go with a plan in mind of what you need and try not to get sidetracked.
- Only buy items that you will need for the upcoming season. Summer is almost over, only buy fall items now.
- Be careful that you buy quality. Cheap fabric will not last and you will feel lousy in it.
- Don’t be tempted to skip trying it on. You MUST try things on you plan to buy or you might be sorry when you get home!
- Make sure you are not stock piling on more black or grey items. Instead, go for an item in your best color. It will add some wonderful “zing” to your closet!
- If you feel iffy about an item when you are at the checkout counter…just ask that they don’t ring it up. There will always be something better out there that you might want to save your money for.
- If your outlet has high-end stores like a Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom, you might find that special piece to update your wardrobe…other brand stores just have mostly basics.