Where Should I Shop?

October 23, 2014

When I was growing up, my parents would take me back to school shopping at the local department stores (does anyone else remember Bradlees?).  As I got older, I started hanging out with friends and shopping at the local mall.  Sometime after that, I began shopping at the outlet stores.

In the beginning the outlet stores were, well, for lack of a better way to put it, warehouse outlets.  Last season, out of season, damaged goods, filled these stores.  You really had to hunt to find something that was in fair condition, but if you were persistent, you knew the item you purchased was a genuine “good deal.”  Well I’m not alone in my love for good deals and outlet stores.  Today one can find many outlet malls and I’ve become a big fan of shopping at these stores first, thinking I am still getting a “good deal.”

And for some of these stores, it is still last season, out of season, or even damaged goods filling the stores.  But a new type of store has crept into vogue, retailers sometimes manufacture items specifically for their outlet stores (Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor Loft, JCrew, Cole Haan, etc).  And for many of these brands, I’m noticing that I am not getting my money’s worth.

The t-shirts from this post, outlet store purchase.

And the top from this post, outlet store purchase.

And many more items that have made their way into the donation bags overtime once again from outlet stores.

Now I’m not saying that every item from an outlet store is not a good deal.  Heavens no!

There are plenty of good deals and high quality items to be found in outlet stores.   And I’ve had great success with quite a few of them (especially Brooks Brothers, Theory, Rockport, and Under Armour).  And on the flip side, I’ve had more than one item that was purchased from the mall fall apart too (Ann Taylor Loft, The Limited, and New York & Company I’m looking at you.)

My shopping had become at least 75% or more from outlet stores and 25% or less from mall stores.  In the future, I’m going to try to shop a more even mix of outlet and mall stores, and hopefully I’ll have assembled more higher quality items from doing so.

Do you favor outlet stores or mall stores?

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