August 3, 2010

Shhh! Don’t Tell: Designer Fashions at a Discount

I have a little secret. I adore designer clothing, but I also love to find it on sale. Just thinking about it makes my heart beat a little faster.

When it comes to finding the perfect item at a discount… well let’s just say it’s a talent of mine. (This is not to say that I don’t pay retail. Some items are quite simply worth full price and some pieces are so special they will sell out long before they are ever discounted. Savvy shoppers know when to spend and when to wait.)

Today I’m going to share some of my smart shopping strategies with you.

A photo of me that appears on Maryland Pink and Green today for Bethany's feature on reader outfits.  I am wearing a Lilly Pulitzer Lennox Wrap Skirt in the Jubilee Toile (which has recently been on sale at Saks Off Fifth) and Lilly Pulitzer Better Than Gold Wedges in Platinum that I scored on 

Department Store Outlets: Saks Off Fifth, Neiman Marcus Last Call and Nordstrom Rack
If you adore designer clothes and accessories as much as I do, these stores are pure heaven. My local Saks Off Fifth has recently been filled with last year’s Lilly Pulitzer, as well as finds from Tory Burch, Milly, Tibi, Diane von Furstenburg, Michael Kors, St. John and Marc Jacobs, just to name a few. Be sure to peruse the shoe, handbag, and accessory departments, too. Check back often, because they continually mark down merchandise and eventually you’ll find bargain basement prices. (Last week I scored a skirt that retailed at $178 for a cool $37.) At Nordstrom Rack I’ve spotted clothing and swimsuits from Trina Turk and shoes from Tory Burch, Coach and Burberry, among others. I do not make it to Neiman Marcus Last Call as often because it’s further away, but I assure you they have to-die-for merchandise, too. All of these outlets are fabulous places to find designer sunglasses at a nice discount.

The Brick and Mortar Discount Chain Stores: TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Filene’s Basement and Stein Mart
If you have any of these stores nearby and you aren’t visiting them regularly, what are you waiting for? I have found the likes of Lilly Pulitzer, Tahari, Theory, Vineyard Vines, Coach, Kate Spade, Le Mystere and La Perla at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Filene’s Basement is always a treasure trove of designer items (and one that I miss now that we are in Texas). Depending on the quality of the Filene’s near you, this may require a little digging. Years ago, I nabbed a gorgeous Dana Buchman leather wallet from a bin at a Filene’s Basement in D.C. It’s price? A mere $10. (This was in the days before Dana Buchman was designing accessories for Kohl’s. That luxurious wallet was the steal of the century.) Stein Mart can also be fun and I’ve seen everything from Vineyard Vines chinos to Vera Bradley bags and Felina lingerie discounted there.

Department Stores
All of the big department stores have amazing sales. Befriend a sales associate if you want advance notice of upcoming sales and invitations to pre-sale events.

Sample Sale Web Sites
I discovered these gems through tips from other bloggers, and I can’t believe what I was missing. Each of these sites opens new sale boutiques daily. If there is something you are interested in, you want to get to the site at the moment the sale starts because merchandise can sell out quickly. Expect discounts on everything from designer clothing to lingerie, handbags, jewelry and vintage accessories. And the discounts can be steep. Be sure to check on the return policy for each site, because they vary. If you need invitations to any of the following, click on the link provided.

Rue La La (My personal favorite. Psst... Lilly Pulitzer will be on sale tomorrow! Be forewarned; Lilly sells out immediately, so you must be quick!)

Billion Dollar Babes

Haute Look

Beyond the Rack

One Kings Lane (O.K., this is for home furnishings and accessories, not clothing, but it is wonderful enough that I am including it here. )

The Preppy Outlet:
Just as the name implies, The Preppy Outlet carries Lilly Pulitzer (even a few items from the current season), Vineyard Vines, CK Bradley, Rebecca Taylor, Brighton Bags, Island Company and Salmon Cove for Men. The best news is that The Preppy Outlet has a decent return policy, so you can try something at home and return it if it doesn’t work for you. The stock changes frequently, so check back often.

The Sale Shack:
This is the outlet arm of famed Palm Beach retailer C. Orrico. Expect to find bargains on Lilly Pulitzer, Milly, Jules Reid, Shoshanna and Trina Turk. I believe these items are final sale, so shop carefully.

If you are as much a fan of Lilly Pulitzer clothing as I am, participating in the Re-Lilly group on Facebook is a must. It is a group of Lilly aficionadas who buy, sell and trade their Lilly Pulitzer items and there are great deals to be had. In addition, you get insider tips on which of the Lilly Pulitzer Via Stores are having sales.

Other Websites Worth Visiting (You can often find past-season Lilly Pulitzer here.) (Another resource for Lilly Pulitzer.) (This site sells more than shoes, you know. And it has great sales.) (Bargains from a lot of other sites are listed here. The leg work is done for you.)

Upscale Resale
O.K., I can’t really give you names here because these stores vary from city to city. In my opinion, it is worth your time to investigate what your locale offers. Since we’ve moved to Texas I have discovered a small handful of wonderful upscale resale shops at which I’ve spotted new or barely-worn fashions from Lilly Pulitzer, Trina Turk, Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Furstenburg, Milly, Nanette Lepore, Peter Som, St. John… the list goes on. I frequently find items with the original store tags still attached. Recently, I even spyed a gorgeous Chloe handbag in perfect condition. If you get to know the staff and let them know what you’re particularly interested in, they can be a valuable resource.

Now what are you waiting for? Go find some deals!


  1. Ooooh, I didn't know about the Preppy Outlet! Thanks! :D

  2. Oh, I love Ruelala! I usually miss the Lilly sales (always seem to have court those days), though I did score a cute little navy sailor skirt at the last one.

  3. Oh I loved this post! I hadn't heard of the Preppy Outlet before.

  4. Thanks for the tips! I'm excited about the Preppy Outlet :)



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