An Adventure in Discount Shopping

Posted on April 7, 2011 by admin

After just a few beautiful spring days I was in the mood to bring on summer clothes. The beauty of flowering plum, cherry and pear trees and dogwoods, tulips and forsythia, camellias and azaleas have an irresistible draw to lighter, brighter colors.

Since I needed new casual clothes, I embarked on an expedition to explore discount stores and see what I could find.

Discover Mills was my first venture. If you are not familiar with it, Discover Mills is located in Lawrenceville just off the Sugarloaf Parkway exit. There are many stores there including Off Saks and Neiman’s Last Call. I only had time to explore Saks and Neiman’s and was pleased to find a couple of things. As with most of us, I have a great challenge finding pants that fit. I did find a fun pair of cotton Z Spoke pants (this is Zac Posen’s more affordable line). They fit me needing only some minor alterations that I could do myself. I also found a Tahari top that looked like it had been designed to go with the pants and an Ellen Tracy top in white with some fun beading at the neck. I had signed up for Saks special email promotions so with my discount coupon; the entire purchase was about 25% of the original price.

Some observations that you might find helpful: The advantage of shopping at these two outlet stores is that you are choosing from regular merchandise transferred from their stores. Of course, the disadvantage is that the merchandise has been picked over. Since many popular brands manufacture special merchandise for most outlet stores, you are not necessarily buying the same quality that you would find in their regular line. However, if you enjoy a treasure hunt, this is the way to do it. One other quick point; I think Zac Posen is a very talented young designer but having tried his clothes in the past, I find that his sizes are totally inconsistent. Trying on is a must.

My next discount adventure was at Filene’s Basement. The original Filene’s Basement in Boston is a phenomenal place to shop. The original store, which is two or three basement levels, has discounted designer clothing for men and women, which is marked down an additional 25% every week until it is sold or donated to charity. I have only shopped there one time when I found a fantastic Max Mara pantsuit that fit perfectly. My husband found a suit, three pair of slacks and sport jacket all for less than the suit would have cost at full price. Our Filene’s is patterned more after a discount store. They do have some designer items but many of the racks of clothing are well known names specially manufactured for a discount market. It doesn’t mean that it is bad; it just doesn’t have quite the high quality standards of their regular, more expensive lines. In any event, I did find a cute pair of casual walking shorts that fit. Finding another pair in a different color, I grabbed it from the rack. When I got home and tried the other pair, I discovered there was over an inch difference at the waist and over two inches at the hips, thus I had to return them. This confirms my point that items produced for a discount store don’t have quite the same quality control as the first quality items.

Finally, to round out my discount adventure, I visited TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack in Buckhead. Between the two, I was able to add one more knit top and a pair of cropped, skinny jeans.

I rarely spend this much time shopping for myself and discount shopping takes time but can be a lot of fun. In total, I tried on about 30 pair of pants, finding three that worked. I added four summer tops, including a new, spring coral. My total expenditure was less than the jeans would have been at full price.

Atlanta offers many great resources to explore. I would caution you to choose only those things that fit and are a good style and color for you. Don’t let the deep discount seduce you into making an unwise choice. And did I mention? Try everything on!

Aplomb means confidence and it is our goal to guide each client to be confident that they look their very best. If your workplace could benefit from employees having a more confident appearance, call me to see if a Lunch “n” Learn or Workshop might be appropriate. Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com or 404-467-0288.

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