intrepid voyages to the "factory" outlet mall, with report

The outlet mall is a short drive away from us, at least when there's no traffic, and today there wasn't. Outlet trips are an exercise in calculus of risk - if you go on a Friday or Saturday, you risk traffic. On any other day, the traffic risk is diminished, but the merchandise is thinner and picked over. I charged up early Saturday morning, armed with college I.D. and printouts of coupons, grabbed stuff, came home, and made another trip early this a.m. to take care of the inevitable returns.

I report: the Ralph Lauren was stuffed with striped shirts (M + F), "faded" flannel shirts (M + F), cargo pants and shorts (M + F). Is it me or does the logo grow larger every month? I thought only teenage boys had growth spurts like that. I brought home a beautiful silk halter top in a classic multi-color paisley. Sadly the fit was off,  so it went back. So did two pairs of lightweight chinos, beautifully tailored, but I'm between sizes and probably won't need them until next summer anyway. I grabbed a tee for Himself, almost invisible embroidered logo, and a great improvement on their standard men's tee IMO. The sleeves are a little shorter, and the neck, instead of the chokehold crew, is a very slight V. Exceptionally good price, too.
Hidden in the men's department I found a reversible cashmere scarf for me. Heh heh.

bottle-opener key ring from JC
probably not useful
The J.Crew outlet - hmm. Everything was 40% off, plus you could use "one other promotion" with the basic 40 off. I bought a cotton French Hen dress for Teensiest, and a French Hen cotton blouse for her big sister. I bought me some deep grey cotton leggings for exercise, which I will need after upcoming trip, and some deep wine cotton tights and some cute socks. Still debating about the keyring that can open bottles.

the new Saturday bag.
On to Kate Spade. Woo-HOO! The entire store was 40% off, plus an additional 20% off  all bags. There were some cute silk blouses, including some pop-ups from the Garance collection, and I fell in love with a sorta mint, sorta aqua blouse with a black Peter Pan collar and little black bows printed all over. Didn't buy it, the color made me look like I'm coming down with something, but again, beautifully made, French seams and all. None of the bags spoke to me. I'm looking at a bag on the KS Saturday website, but the outlet didn't have any. The plan is that first, Saturday will open a few stores, and then, maybe, their own outlet.

A lot of the merch at the Barney's outlet comes from their actual stores. For this reason, I can do quite well there, mainly on accessories that I would never even dare to look at at full price. For this reason, I did not enter the store, although I thought longingly of silk velvet scarves.

velvet embroidered with silver thread,
plain velvet on the inside
( RL Collection, via outlet)

and the all-cotton crew with
stripes I don't mind at all
Sunday morning return run: The RL top and the cargoes went back. I picked up a few more tees for Himself, but he doesn't know that yet. However, I noticed a mid-weight cotton knit sweater that I didn't see the day before, and on my way to pay for it, GUESS WHAT was dangling from the clearance rack? Well, the coupons and promos were still good….


  1. I have not been to the outlets yet,but a new one opened,so i might check it out some day.
    Would love to go into the Kate Spade outlet,but i am trying not to buy too much bags,because i have a few nice ones:)

    Thanks for the reviews!

    1. thanks, Ina Mack! Even our small and remote outlet can get crowded and picked over, so I try to choose my timing carefully. Stumbling across the scarf felt, hmm, meant to be, since I'd been thinking that velvet time is approaching.

  2. I have a phobia of outlets, and malls in general. I avoid them whenever possible.
    It's fairly easy to avoid them here and in Europe, but I know I'd have to get over this phobia if I ever moved to the States again.
    Well done for going to one. Glad you survived to tell the tale, and with some good items.

    1. Hi, Ruth, this particular outlet mall is relatively small, as these things go, and it's generally easy to park and then to move the car from one location to another so you don't stagger around with bags. Our little village, or Place of No Mall, was on colonial maps as early as 1651, and the old Indian trail from PoNM to Great Center of Outlets is now a paved road that gets you up there in under 20 minutes if you time the trip right.

      On the other hand there are only about 3 days in the year when I truly believe it might be a good idea to drive north from Flintstone Towers to the Woodbury Common Outlets, and I bring food and water and a change of shoes. That one is some serious group of outlets, Chanel, Armani, Etro, Tod's, RL Collection, TSE Cashmere, Donna Karan Collection... but you really have to be motivated. I'd never drive all that way just for a look and a stroll, given distance, price points, crowds etc. I haven't been in at least a year, probably longer.

  3. We have an entire city, Pigeon Forge, that is outlet heaven. I am like Ruth...I try to avoid. You have to be a digger, which I am not, to find great things.

    1. Hi, BB, the mall nearest us is on the small side and parking is easy. I only go to a few of the stores, notably JC, RL, Barney's, Brooks, although I've noticed people arriving with large baskets of food, obviously planning to make a day of it. I like to think I have stamina, but really....

  4. Gorgeous scarf!!! I actually found something at Kate Spade. Everything usually looks cute, but I usually only really want one thing. I walked away, but ended up doing a charge send. lol

    1. Hi, Gigi! I couldn't get over the discounts- I asked the SA who was making announcements and handing out discount cards if it wouldn't be simpler if KS just sent me some money so I wouldn't come in and make the store more crowded. She agreed that my theory made sense, but said management probably wouldn't go for it.

  5. Our outlets are very bad compared to yours! It's for the best, I'd be there all the time and get annoyed with the crowds and spend too much money.

    Even at our sad outlets, you still have to time it right. I have walked into J. Crew Factory a time or two when it was completely wiped out, looked like someone robbed the place. I was like, where's all the stuff???! lol

    Congrats on your finds!

    1. Hi, cate, you're right, in this as on so many things timing is everything.


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