The Valley is bursting with bargains — here’s where to find them. Plus: what’s hot this season.
Fantastic Fall Finds
This bargain shopper extraordinaire shares her secrets for tracking down
great deals. Plus: What’s hot this season
By D.L. Ellison
As the population of the Hudson Valley continues to grow, so does its workforce, many of whom are style-conscious women who need to look good at the office. But, for those Valley women who think a fortune must be spent to achieve professional fashion-forwardness — think again!
With a little patience and an eye for style, you can net upstate finds that would make even the savviest city shopper cry out in delight. Take the crown jewel of bargain shopping: the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, Orange County. Located at exit 16 on the Thruway, this huge collection of 220 shops offers well-dressed professional women a cornucopia of bargain shopping options. In my opinion, stores like Jones New York, Kasper and Dana Buchman offer the most consistent value for the money.
Allow me to share some of the great deals I’ve snagged at the outlets over the last year. I picked up a gorgeous bejeweled and crocheted sweater by Carolina Herrera for $139. The original price: a whopping $1,990. An Armani jacket that retailed for $695 was a steal at $97. A Jones New York pantsuit, originally $199, went home for $39. You get the point.
But one of the best things to happen to the blood sport of bargain shopping, both at the Commons and the other discount shops that dot the region, is the recent trend toward offering current merchandise. In the past, many discounters simply sold clothing from the previous year’s line, but that is slowly changing. In fact, mega off-price chains like Marshalls — with more than a dozen outlets Valley-wide — now boast that the majority of their stock consists of current designer and brand-name clothing. According to Marshalls’ Middletown Store Manager Rick Badjun, merchandise arrives at his store about three times a week, so there’s always something new. In addition to their already discounted prices, items are marked down weekly, and sales promotions on new items are featured every Thursday.
If you crave couture, I believe the best deals can be found at department store outlets, like Neiman’s Last Call Clearance Center and Sak’s Fifth Avenue’s Off-Fifth, both located at the Commons. While most big-name designers have their own outlet stores in Woodbury, it’s always best to check out the department store outlets first, where you’ll usually find the biggest discounts. At Neiman’s Last Call not long ago, I scooped up a fabulous chiffon cocktail dress that originally retailed for $1,440. Their regular discounted selling price was $355; by the time I arrived, it had been relegated to a clearance rack, where it had been marked down to $39! Fortunately, it was just my size and — needless to say — was quickly assigned a spot in my closet.
Another of my favorite stops is Burlington Coat Factory. Yes, you’ll have to forage deeply through the racks, but the trip is worthwhile, especially if you’re shopping for separates and shoes. On a recent jaunt, I snared a beautiful, belted summer knit top that had been marked down to $9.99 from a suggested retail price of $48.
It’s important to note that a great buy in clothing isn’t just about price — it’s about value.
You’ll get far more wear out of a classic-cut pantsuit, for instance, than you will from that apple-green jacket that was all the rage a few seasons ago. To that end, when shopping for sale clothing, try to adhere to classic styles and neutral colors. Bargains on certain items — especially women’s suits and dresses in shades of black, gray, navy blue, and tan — will offer you the most wear and versatility. The same can be said about rich-looking fabrics, especially in the newer, lighter weights.
But what exactly is it that Hudson Valley fashionistas should set their sights on this fall? Glamour magazine’s Executive Fashion Editor-at-Large Suze Yalof Schwartz shares what’s hot on the runway, and in the stores, this season.
Dresses: The big news is the newer lengths — coming in at just above the knee. We’ll be seeing lots of them in straighter silhouettes, or belted; bold in color and meant to be worn with opaque tights for an up-to-the-minute look. “What’s so important about the dress, is that you can slip it on and it looks as great for work as it does for evening,” says Schwartz.
Jackets: With warming climate changes, many designers have been playing with lighter-weight fabrics that transition well from season to season. This fall, we’ll be seeing jackets done in bouclés and tweeds, many adorned with fur trim. Traces of the ’80s make a comeback with the reincarnation of the cropped, close-fitting motorcycle jacket. Expect to see them everywhere, even atop traditional evening gowns.
Sweaters: Sweaters continue to take the spotlight, but in heavier yarns. For a great weekend look, “try one of the new, oversized, chunky knit sweaters over a pair of high-waisted jeans,” says Schwartz.
Pants: Good news: high-waisted pants are back. Look for them this season with a slightly wider leg, especially in denim.
Accessories: In a word: big. “It’s the end of minimalism,” predicts Schwartz.