I love four letter words. My favorites are: sale, deal and (best of all) free. Ooooh! Those words just make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
You would think that someone who loves sales and deals so much would LOVE outlet shopping right? Not so much. The sticker shock that I experienced on a recent outlet shopping trip prompted me to ask “how much do you really save at outlet stores?” So, of course, I put on my fashion nerd hat and did some research and here’s what I found.
- Outlets and factory stores started as a way for department stores to get rid of their excess inventory
- Outlets often carry out-of-season, flawed or items that just didn’t sell at the retail store
- Items at an outlet may cost less, but they are often lower in quality, too
- Some designers create lower end lines exclusively for their outlet stores
- Some prices are essentially the same as the retail store
Don't worry! You can still get designer and name brand items for less. Here’s how:
- Get to know the real deal. Check out full price items in the department stores and get familiar with the look, feel and quality of construction. When the item goes on sale or shows up at an outlet, you’ll be able to tell if it’s worth the purchase.
- Shop the outlet for classics. Since outlets tend to have out of season items, you probably won’t find a good deal on the latest trends. Stick to more classic, timeless pieces (suits, blazers, etc.) that won’t go out of style.
- Don’t get outlet fever. Make sure that whatever you buy not only fits and flatters you but that it works with several items you already own. Don’t waste time and money just because it’s a “good deal”.
What say you? What are your thoughts on shopping the outlets?