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Pretty in Outlet Malls

July 14, 2011

My Burberry scarf visited its homeland back in 2007

I think it should be fairly clear by now that I’m an anglophile. And if I had to choose my favorite British designer, it’s Burberry. The brand is like the British version of Ralph Lauren. Classic, timeless. And luckily I live about 30 minutes from a Burberry outlet.

Yes, friends. High-end designer outlets do exist. And I have the $50 purple, (my favorite color) 100% cashmere Burberry scarf to prove it. I also have two adorable Burberry headbands I got there under $15 too 🙂

Like most designers, Burberry makes clothing specifically for their outlet chains. Every once and awhile you’ll see something from the “full-price” store come in, but for the most part, you’re buying second tier clothing.

And for items like accessories, I think that’s more than acceptable. From a conversation I had with one of the associates at the store, Burberry takes any surplus or leftover fabric from their designer label lines and concocts cheaper versions of their products with the scraps. Hence, my $50 purple Burberry scarf I scored there four years ago.

Kate in her Burberry trench coat; Image Credit: NY Mag

Like most shopping — regardless of if it’s a thrift, outlet, department or even designer flagship store — you need to spend time with the accessories and garments making sure they are made well. No point in getting something on the cheap if it falls apart after the first wear or wash! Here are a few tips:

  • Check the hem to see if its stitching may come undone (a common problem with cheaply made clothing)
  • If it isn’t a solid print, make sure the patterns match up throughout the article of clothing
  • Look for any holes are other noticeable defects
  • Check the freakin’ zipper and make sure it goes up and down smoothly; while you’re at it, make sure buttons aren’t about to fall off

That said, I’ve learned that almost all of these problems are easily fixable with a sewing repair kit. (Except the zipper. Always walk away from a broken zipper unless you are a seamstress!) And these small defects can work to your advantage (and pocketbook). Almost all stores will give you 10-15% off of the garment if you do find a defect. Usually, it’s also a final sale, but if you can fix it, it’s totally worth it. This discount goes for almost any store — outlet or department store, and it’s almost always worth the ask.

If you live in Texas, my top two favorite outlet malls are the Round Rock Premium Outlets (featuring Banana Republic, BCBG, Burberry, Ralph Lauren and others) and the San Marcos Premium Outlets (featuring 7 Jeans, Fendi, Gucci, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Off Saks Fifth Avenue,  Prada, Tory Burch and others).  If you live out of the state (or out of the country), it’s a pretty good — and fun! — excuse to visit Austin. That and BBQ, though I don’t think Duchess Catherine would approve of the unnecessary calories. 🙂

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