Outlet Shopping: Successful Trip Tips
Outlet shopping for me is usually something done on the fly, driving between fun places like Las Vegas or San Diego. Sometimes I’ve ended up with a good piece or two, but generally it’s a mishmash of items that don’t get worn.
A little planning can make a targeted outlet trip much more productive. Inspired by my friend Jenn’s advice about the quality of Theory’s outlet store selections and pricing, I decided to make a for potential work clothes and try the below tips.
How to maximize an outlet trip:
- Call ahead – ask when their last big shipment came in or when it is expected. This is best done about a week in advance of when you would like to target your trip.
- Make a list of items you’d like to keep an eye out for. Given that it’s an outlet, they may not have as full selection as a department store. But knowing what your wardrobe needs will make this a more productive and targeted experience.
- Be willing to leave empty handed. Going with the right attitude is important. I’d love to find new items, but I don’t just want to spend money.
- To that end, only buy pieces that you would at least consider paying full price for. Cheap isn’t cheap if you never wear it!
- Be aware of ‘factory brands’ – these are not the same items as you’d see in the store, but cheaper versions made especially for the outlet. I know J Crew does this.
The clerk explained that in the Theory outlet store, they are the same clothes that are currently in the department stores. When the department store clothes go on sale, then those are items from the previous season. At Theory, it’s a good idea to swing by the outlet for any in-season items you might want to invest in. Or, if you can wait, you might be better off going to the big department store sales in August, January, and March for deals on the past season’s merchandise. This stuff is wildly expensive full-price.
Overall, I had a good experience. I found some great items that are investment pieces at a more manageable price (outlet simply takes it from ridiculously expensive to expensive!). It’s a fun thing to do perhaps once or twice a year. What are your favorite outlet spots/brands? What are your favorite tips? I’d love to hear!