Shopping Bargains

Fabu-Less Shopping Below the 49th Parallel

Shopping below the 49th parallel can be a part of your summer holiday plans. A classic Calvin Klein suit for $ 33.99 (Ross Dress for Less, regular price $ 320.00) or soft blue linen capris for $ 6.97 (Gap Outlet, Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, regular price $ 29.99) are just waiting for you and your bargain odyssey to begin.

Do’s

  • Outlets don’t always offer the best deals unless you’re hunting through clearance racks. Look for clearance signs, mostly at the back of the store, and avoid paltry 20-30 % off retail prices meant for discount dabblers and not real shoppers.

  • Some factory outlets offer clothing that is not goof-proof. Products may be made specifically for the outlet and so, materials may be inferior or shoddy. Check for flaws or shabbiness.

  • If you don’t yearn for the 40-yard dash or heat exhaustion, send for a brochure or print the store location map from the Internet to carefully plan your shopping route. Have you ever seen the size of Sawgrass Mills in Florida?

  • Bring an umbrella. In an outdoor mall like Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in New York state, rain can drench your treasure map, and you’ll be adrift in a sea of Burberry and Chanel when you’re only looking for Liz and Old Navy.

  • If traveling with kids, be sure to find the toy liquidator store found in every outlet mall. Maybe ask Dad to take the kids there or even better, fly solo for a true shopping experience.

Don’ts

  • Never tell how little you spent.

  • Don’t rely on size markers on the rack or on the hangars. Assume that everything is misplaced and check every item.

  • Never leave your shopping cart unattended. Kidnapping of carts is legal and so they can, and do, disappear as quickly as the dresses at Filene’s Basement World Famous Bridal Event in Boston.

  • Don’t lose your receipt. Some stores only refund by snail mail or with an in-store credit without a receipt.

  • Don’t focus on what you only need at the moment. Look ahead. Finding the right stuff at the right price is the pinnacle of shopping achievement. So what if your new purchases collect a few dust bunnies before you actually need them?

Fabu-less Fashion Scenes

  • Ross Dress For Less

Shh. This is the best kept secret in shopping heaven. Yes, it’s messy and items are never where they’re supposed to be, but you can’t beat the bargains here, especially in clearance. OK, so it’s also true that they have the slowest service, but where else can you get a Jones

New York suit for $ 7.49(Regular price-$280.00) or Steve Madden shoes for $ 12.99? (Regular price- $75.00) Ross offers the best deals on shoes and undergarments and believe it or not, you’ll find latest fashions and not just last year’s leftovers. They carry large sizes as well

as petite, maternity and junior. You can find Ross as far north as New Jersey and Pennsylvania. (In 2006, there were 821 Ross stores in the United States. Here’s hoping they’ll locate a little closer to home in the near future.)

2. TJMAXX/Marshall’s

I’m sure that shoppers are already familiar with these two stores, first cousins of Canadian Winners and HomeSense. It’s essential to check out the handbags at TJ, because not only will you find great deals on Nine West and Lauren but also on Prada and Dooney and Burke.

You’ll find the closest TJ store in Plattsburgh, NY and in Burlington and St. Albans, Vermont. Marshall’s can be found in Boston.

3. Burlington Coat Factory

Now, why would anyone call Burlington Coat factory a coat factory? It’s so much more, almost like calling a Coach purse a recycling bin. Burlington carries everything from furniture to Sigrid Olsen and Tahari. Don’t forget to check out the shoes, but remember that the

clearance racks don’t carry all the sale items. You need to go up and down each shoe aisle looking for the red sale stickers. If you’re lucky, you’ll arrive when Burlington is having their store-wide 40% off all clearance sale, and this is a bargain that is irresistible.( August Silk sweaters for $ 5.00.) The nearest Burlington store is in Albany, New York.

  • Woodbury Common Premium Outlets

This is the outdoor outlet mall that’s different than the others. It carries upper scale stores like Chanel, Armani and Roberto Cavalli as well as the regular staples of Levi’s, Gap, and Banana Republic. One of its claims to fame is that your fashionista teen can find an American Apparel outlet here, one of only two in North America (the other one’s in California). Woodbury Common is located one hour north of New York City, exit 16(Harriman) off I-87.

  • The Factory Outlets of Lake George

Like many other outlet malls, you’ll find the staples of Ralph Lauren, Coach, Tommy Hilfiger and Gap. This outlet consists of four separate centres, each with its own name but situated right near each other. Drive south on I-87 and take exit 20, Route 9.

  • The Kittery Outlets in Maine

Here you’ll find more stores than in Lake George, including Dana Buchman, Anne Klein and Calvin Klein.

  • North Conway Outlets

This is another typical, ho-hum outlet mall, but its mountain setting is beautiful.

  • Century 21 Department Stores, New York City

This is toted as “New York’s Best Kept Secret” and it’s an essential discount pilgrimage whenever you’re in the Big Apple. The address is 22 Cortlandt Street, right across the street from Ground Zero.

  • Filene’s Basement in Boston, Massachusetts

You’re not going to believe this, but Filene’s Basement has not only one, but two bargain-filled basements. Make sure to start with the very bottom one, and not the first one. Don’t be fooled by other regular department stores called Filene’s and not Filene’s Basement. You want the Basement.

Filene’s Basement has an “Automatic Markdown System” which means that the longer an item remains unsold, the lower its price is reduced. If clothing still doesn’t sell, it is eventually donated to charity. Urban shopping legends, like women stripping in the aisles when trying on merchandise, were born in these basements, but you’ll be glad to know that there are fitting rooms now. Its World Famous Bridal Event and its prom dress sale should not be missed!

  • Sawgrass Mills

A great way to spend a rainy day when you’re in Florida waiting for the sun to shine. Sawgrass Mills is huge


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