How to Shop a Designer Discount Store

NEW YORK (MainStreet) —Designer discount stores offer the thrill of finding some of today’s hottest labels for a fraction of the original retail price. The downside: The sheer multitude of merchandise can be overwhelming, and not every marked-down piece is worth your money. “It’s a place where you can have your best shopping successes – I got a $1,000 pair of black Prada heels for $150 a couple months ago – and your worst failures,” says Illysia Neumann-Loreck, a stylist who publishes the fashion blog Madlychic.com.

To avoid passing up a great deal or suffering from a case of buyer’s remorse, we asked a variety of fashion and consumer savings pros to share secrets for getting the most bang for your buck—especially as the warm weather approaches. Here’s what they had to say.

Hit the Clearance Racks First

Upon entering a designer discount store, resist the urge to check out the first items that catch your eye and instead head straight for the clearance racks. “When you’re in the clearance section you’re seeing really heavily reduced prices, typically under $30,” says Lilliana Vazquez, founder and editor of The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style, a website offering tips for how to shop on a budget. “You’re probably getting more for your money at the clearance racks than you are at the regular racks, even at an off-price store.”

After you scour the clearance section, feel free to browse other racks, but at least you know from the start what you can get for around $30 or less. “Seeing something that’s $100 could make you go, 'Oh that might not be that great of a deal,'” Vazquez adds.

Stick With Brands You Know

Designer discount stores offer a plethora of brands to choose from, but it's safest to select the ones you’re already familiar with and enjoy. This way, you know those brands fit you well and you have an idea of how much they typically cost.