I grew up in Minnesota and my memories there consist mainly of climbing trees, hiding in cornfields, and later in life, high school football games, pep rallies, and the Mall of America. Even in my college years when I was merely minutes away from Cole Haan, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nieman Marcus, Ralph Lauren, and other high fashion stores, my college budget kept the confines of my shopping strictly to dreaming as I perused the pages of my Vogue magazines.
Recently, I went back to the land of ten thousand lakes to visit my friends and family. Although I had spent my life near Minneapolis, the Nicollet Mall shopping area was still fairly foreign to me.
It was Father’s Day, so my mother and I dropped my dad off at the bookstore and headed for a Saks Fifth Avenue outlet down the street. I don’t have much patience for outlet stores and their crowded, unorganized racks. Like any normal American girl, if I am going to buy something I would ideally like it placed in my line of vision. I want to find my size easily and be escorted into a plush dressing room with a place other than the floor to set my handbag. When I choose to buy something, I want to be greeted by adoring sales people at the register and I want my purchase wrapped in pretty paper and placed delicately in a sturdy, stylish shopping bag. Clearly, outlets rarely offer any of these luxuries, but the thing that I hate the most is searching, often in vain, for my size. This outlet was surprisingly well organized and I became excited as I started to see the significant markdowns on such beautiful clothing.
The first thing I found to purchase was a long sleeved pink Juicy tee that read Confessions of a Couture Girl. I have told people before that I can’t stand Juicy Couture. I don’t want the word Juicy tattooed across my butt or chest (for the obvious implicit meaning) and, quite frankly, I can’t imagine spending hundreds of dollars on a sweatsuit because it says Juicy.
This shirt had Juicy written only on the label on the inside of the shirt and was marked down from $90 to $24.98 (and I must remind you that there is no sales tax on clothing in Minnesota). The tee fit well and the sleeves were long enough, a rarity for a girl with arms as long and gangly as mine.
Sifting through the racks, my eyes landed on a gorgeous white cashmere Magaschoni sweater with sequined white snowflakes adorning the bottom and, don’t hate me, a rabbit trimmed hood with furry pom poms. I must clarify that I am not a believer in harming animals for any type of vanity. If I were not in a state of fashion euphoria at this gorgeous sweater, I would have checked the label. Instead, I gasped in delight, ripped the sweater off the rack, and then asked my mom, “do you think this is real fur?” She ran her fingers across the hood and replied, “No, I don’t think so.” So I slipped the sweater on and fell in love. The best part? The $500 sweater was marked down to $44.98. I could barely breathe as I made my way to the register.
At this point, I must note that my mother found a stunning gray Calvin Klein dress for $50, originally priced at $500.
I have recently began discovering the beautiful world of brown. I have always been a black and white buyer. In fact, in college I wore black dress pants nearly every day. I love the dramatic look that black and white can offer, but the recent purchase of the most comfortable chocolate brown skirt from Bebe has converted me to the delicious and versatile world found in the basic color. Before the fashion-altering skirt, my venture into the world of brown went as far as khaki pants. Yet, I have begun discovering the rich shades brown has to offer. My last two finds at the Saks outlet were creamy, long-lasting browns.
I first found a chocolate brown knit shrug by Gracie for $24.98, marked down from $80. The comfortable shrug is the perfect way to dress up jeans and a tee.
Last, I found a gorgeous sleeveless sweater in a smooth coffee brown with intricate beading combining yellow, orange, and brown wooden beads with real seashells. The beach-inspired style was perfect for my leading role as bride and program director for an upcoming week in Hawaii. Originally $96, I purchased this WR Studio top for $34.98.
I tried on the clothes in a tiny and dim dressing room, waited in a long line to check out, and walked out of the store with a heavy plastic bag (one of the handles even broke before I made it back to the bookstore to get my dad), but I must say this was one outlet shopping trip worth enduring.