You may have seen on our IG/Facebook last week (are you following us there, because you should be! @trueimagegroup) We had a wonderful day outlet shopping. We really try for weekdays and mid-day for shopping these stores because shopping with no crowds? All there for it!!

So we put together a quick little list of do’s and dont’s for you so the next time you’re searching for a steal you actually get one!

DO’s for outlet shopping:

-try everything on. Same styles in the same size will fit differently. A lot of what goes to outlets is overstock, but they will throw in the items that have small design flaws like a size that fits too small or a slightly wonky cut or seam. Its not uncommon to try on four of the same pair of pants in the same size and have only 2 fit.

-hit the sales. outlets often have to get rid of what they have before they get new stuff in so they will have big sales to clear out old inventory. You obviously have the holiday sales, but that is always when it’s the most packed. Make friends with the associates and ask if/when they usually try to “clean house”.

-learn your discount store levels. There is a hierarchy, for example, around me pricing is highest for in-season items in the named store. Then there are the named store outlets. Then there are stores like TJ Maxx and Ross. THEN there are even further discounted stores like DD’s discounts (which is the TJMaxx of TJMaxx). I’ll even find big names in the super discount stores, for example I’ll find the same exact shoes I saw at H&M ($30) for $7 at DD’s Discounts.

DONT’s for outlet shopping:

– assume its always cheaper. Look online and check coupons. Sometimes you’re only paying slightly less than full price for something that just didn’t sell in its season and your return policy is now limited.

-wait for until the last minute. I feel like I preach this point over and over and over. My life motto is don’t procrastinate but with plus-size clothing or event-specific outfits, it’s imperative. The options are growing but the good stuff goes fast. This is double fast for outlets. If stores get shipments on Tuesdays, chances are by Saturday everything is already picked over. If you need something for a specific date- go early!

-hesitate to ask questions about discounts. ¬†Example: I was in Aldo last week and found a shoe on clearance that I loved- Aldo only keeps one shoe out of each pair so they have to find the other for you. Turns out my shoe was part of the last pair and they were mismatched. They were a half size apart- luckily both fit and the half-size wasn’t going to pose a problem so I asked her what kind of deal she could give me on the mismatched set- it was another 50% off the already 30% clearance price. Note: don’t walk in demanding discounts- never be that guy! Pose the question respectfully and genuinely and you’re much more likely to get a positive response.¬†

If you liked this, you may also like: How to shop vintage, second-hand, or online thrifting.

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