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How to Shop at Discount Designer Stores Like a Pro

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Kate MurphyGuest Blogger
June 11, 2016 · 1.5k Views

Bargain shoppers with a penchant for designer fashion are well aware of discount stores like Nordstrom Rack, Saks OFF 5th, Neiman Marcus Last Call, and Barneys Warehouse. There, you’ll find clothing, bags, and shoes by Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Diane von Furstenberg, and more for a fraction of the original price. It’s not that the merchandise is from last season that has us complaining. For some, shopping discount designer stores can be a bit overwhelming. Racks overflowing with clothes, signs everywhere heralding markdowns, and the bargain hungry crowds can make shopping a dreaded experience. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Follow this guide to shopping discount designer stores and you’ll be right on track to scoring the best deals pain free.


1. Shop Early

Source: Biz Journals

Be at the doors when the store open, usually at 9 or 10 am. The racks will be tidy and organized, making them much easier to navigate. You will also beat the lunch hour rush, which leaves the store looking like a tornado just went through.

2. Find Out When New Shipments Of Merchandise Arrive

New shipments on merchandise are scheduled to arrive on a certain day of the week. To find out when new shipment day, just politely ask a sales associate. They are usually happy to disclose this information to customers. Be sure to arrive just as the store opens on these days, because chances are you’re not the only one in on the secret.

3. Scour The Racks

Source: Time Out

The MAJOR downside to shopping at discount designer stores is the overabundance of merchandise. Often times, pieces are misplaced on size racks (a size 6 dress is on the size 12 rack). Or a blouse is hanging out in the pants section. It’s known that shoppers hide items in the hopes that a dress will still be there on the next shopping trip. You’ll want to sift through the racks thoroughly so nothing is missed.

4. Shop Online

Discount designer stores know that many of their customers prefer shopping online. Take advantage of the sales and special offers available on the store’s website. Snag bargains through Saks OFF 5th online Memorial Day Savings Event, which is currently offering pieces like this Milly printed halter dress for $299 (69% off the regular price) with a coupon code for an additional 15% off!

5. Don’t Shop When Tired, Hungry, Or Sick

Source: IBM

Shopping at a discount designer store is a bit like an endurance sport. You need to come mentally and physically prepared with the understanding that it is going to take time and effort on your part. We suggest taking a break to load up on caffeine, snack, or alcohol if needed.

6. Create An Account And Sign Up For Emails

It’s a good idea to create an online account with the store. This way you will have all your information saved for easy shopping and check out. When the prompt for do you want to sign up to be on the email list appears, be sure to click “yes.” Announcements about the latest store news, new arrivals, sales, coupons, and bargains will arrive regularly to your inbox saving you the time and effort it would take to seek them out on your own.

7. Shop The Clearance Section Online

Source: Racked

It’s also much easier to shop the clearance section online where you can score mega deals. For example, Barneys Warehouse is offering a Proenza Schouler shift dress (originally priced at $1,350) on clearance for $609 PLUS an extra 60% off! Note that all clearance sales are final in most cases.

8. Take Advantage Of Free Shipping

Nieman Marcus Last Call, Barneys Warehouse, Saks OFF 5th, and Nordstrom Rack all offer free shipping on orders of $100 and over. It shouldn’t be too difficult to fill your virtual shopping bag with $100 or more worth of goods. And you can always ask a friend to carpool shop on an order if needed.

9. Learn the Sales Schedule For the Year And Plan Around It

Source: Star Tribune

Ask any bargain fashion shopper and they will tell you that pinning down when sales happen is critical. Get a grasp on this and snagging the best deals on your favorite items will be easy breezy.  Expect stores to hold major sales at the end of the season and during the holidays. Stay in the know about additional sales by signing up for email.

10. Like The Store’s Facebook Page

Saks OFF 5th, Barneys Warehouse, Nordstrom Rack, and Neiman Marcus Last Call all have Facebook pages. Connecting to the stores on Facebook is another way to keep updated on sales, promotions, specials store events, and new arrivals as the happen.

It’s the official start of summer. How great would it be to freshen up your summer wardrobe with a few designer pieces? All while staying on budget? Follow this guide to shopping discount designer stores and treat yourself to a Rag and Bone silk dress and Halston sandals, the perfect outfit for that next barbecue.


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Kate Murphy is a native of Pennsylvania. After receiving a degree in art history, she moved to New York City to test the waters. She enjoys writing about art, culture, fashion, design, and travel. In addition to writing, Kate works with artists, leads, street art tours, and moonlights as an illustrator.

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